Digital or traditional billboards; which is better for a mid-market company?
Over the last few years, digital billboards have been dominating the scenery. These boards are extremely eye catching and have given new life into outdoor. But was it ever on life support or is ignorance just arrogant and bliss? And, which are better, static or digital billboards?
Clearly there are pros and cons to both but for a mid-market company that is advertising in multiple markets there needs to be even more evaluation of the differences before executing an outdoor campaign.
In most markets there are still more static boards than digitals. First, because static boards have been in existence much longer and secondly digital board technology is newer and considerably more expensive to build. So, while many of the existing static boards are on major arteries and heavily trafficked secondary roads, digitals are usually on the most heavily traveled arteries due to the necessity for high traffic impression levels needed to justify the additional construction costs. Often city ordinances also come into play.
Mid-market companies must first realize that in each of their markets, the condition and competition of outdoor may be similar but may also be wildly different. In one metro market there may be six significant players and, in another market, only one. And metro markets are very different than suburban ones.
Next, mid-market companies must realize that local and state ordinances vary greatly so a setback line in one state may be 30 feet and in some states it’s as far as 660 feet from the road. Yes, 660 feet! In that state you may as well buy a billboard in the next state over because they’re both about as close to the road.
Static offers these pros and cons.
- You receive the full 24 hours per day exposure and 100% of the impressions.
- You may lose a portion of those impressions based on the season the boards post due to darkness. Most static boards do not leave the lights on 24 hours each day. So, when the board is dark it doesn’t help much.
- Daylight savings season will garner you are much as 25% more impressions if the lights go off early or if it has no lighting at all.
- There is a creative printing cost and usually cannot be switched more than every 28 days.
- Outdoor companies will try to charge you an installation fee but just refuse to pay it.
- If there is no new advertiser to replace your creative when your flight is done there is a very good chance your message will remain up at no additional cost. (Override)
Digital offers these pros and cons.
- Unless specified, these boards remain on 24 hours per day.
- Unfortunately depending on the number of creative turns per minute you are likely to only receive 1/6 to 1/8 of all the impressions.
- There are no printing costs, since it’s an all- digital file.
- You can change creative every single turn if you have multiple brands or messages you want to utilize.
- There is no override since it’s so easy for them to change the creative message. When your campaign is over, it’s over!
So, it’s imperative for a mid-market company to keep market by market conditions in mind and determine which board or combo of boards will work best to achieve their campaign goals.