Case Study: Successful Billboards Advertising
The United States billboard & outdoor advertising industry is valued at $8 billion. Three of the top industry players are Lamar Advertising Company, Outfront Media Inc., and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc.
US Billboard & Outdoor Advertising Industry - Market Size
- According to the industry report by IBISWorld, the United States billboard & outdoor advertising industry is worth $8 billion.
- The industry employs about 37,384 people through its 13,330 businesses.
- The growth in the industry is attributed to increasing advertising expenditure, corporate profit, and increased consumer spending.
Major Industry Players
- The top three US companies in the billboard & outdoor advertising space are Lamar Advertising Company, Outfront Media Inc., and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc.
Lamar Advertising Company
- Lamar Advertising Company claims to be one of the world's largest outdoor advertising companies with 390,000+ displays across the United States and Canada.
- The company was founded in 1902. Its 2019 revenue was $1.75 billion.
- Lamar's high exposure to the highway gives it a unique advantage, as the average commute of Americans between rush hour times is 45+ minutes. Other competitive advantages of the company include 100+ years of experience in the field and a significant share of the industry.
- Lamar Advertising targets US and Canadian brands, individuals, and companies interested in leasing billboards, logo sign, and transit advertising spaces.
- As of December 31, 2019, Lamar Advertising owned and operated 157,800 billboard advertising displays in 45 US states and Canada.
- Lamar Advertising Company offers four types of billboards: bulletins, posters, Jr. posters, and Wallscapes.
- According to the company, "bulletins are generally large, illuminated advertising structures that are located on major highways and target vehicular traffic, while posters are generally smaller advertising structures that are located on major traffic arteries and city streets and target vehicular and pedestrian traffic."
- A typically Lamar bulletin is 14 feet high and 48 feet wide, providing 672 square feet of ad space with unparalleled visibility.
- Lamar also leases digital billboard advertising spaces located on major traffic arteries and city streets. The company operates 3,500+ digital billboard advertising displays in 43 US states and Canada.
- Some of its clients include Chevrolet, eBay, GAP, AT&T, Hennessy, and Walmart.
OUTFRONT Media, Inc
- OUTFRONT Media is a real estate investment trust that leases ad spaces on out-of-home (OOH) advertising structures and sites across the United States and Canada.
- It was founded in 2014. OUTFRONT Media's 2019 revenue was $1.78 billion.
- The company claims to be one of the largest providers of OOH advertising spaces in the US and Canada, with about 500,000 displays and 16.6 billion impressions.
- OUTFRONT is present in all of the "25 largest markets in the US and 150 markets in the US and Canada," giving the company an edge against competitors. It also boasts of presence in top market and high profile locations, including ad sites around Grand Central Station, Times Square in New York, along Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, and the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.
- The company targets the 'United States of audiences' ranging from "social urbanites to suburban settlers, from new moms to empty nesters, and from Gen Z to Gen Next."
- OUTFRONT's billboard business category includes bulletins, posters, and walls. As of December 31, 2019, it had about 20,600 billboard lease agreements with 17,200 landlords in the US.
- The company also deals in digital billboards with 1,693 in the US and 223 in Canada.
- Some of its clients include Chick fil A, Essentia Water, Kreuter Motors, Calidad Beer, and the Oakland County Health Division.
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc.
- Clear Channel Outdoor is one of the largest outdoor advertising companies globally, with more than 450,000 displays in 31 countries across Latin America, Asia, Europe, and North America.
- It was founded in 1897. OUTFRONT Media's 2019 revenue was $2.68 billion.
- Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings operates in "43 of the 50 largest U.S. markets, including all of the top 20 DMAs, and reaching more U.S. adults monthly in the top 10 DMAs than any other out-of-home company," giving the company a competitive edge over other industry players.
- Other competitive advantages of Clear Channel include over 120 years of experience in the OOH industry, an extended market share in Europe and Asia, owns the industry's first campaign planning and visualization tool, RADAR-View®, and a substantial share of the US OOH industry.
- Clear Channel targets Americans interacting with densely populated metropolitan areas where its portfolio of ad assets are positioned.
- Its billboard inventory primarily includes bulletins and posters and other smaller categories such as digital billboards, premiere squares, junior posters, premiere panels, and wallscapes.
- Clear Channel Outdoor has about 1,300 digital billboards. Bulletins and posters accounted for 71% of the company's revenue stream in 2019.
- It leases most of its billboard sites from private landowners, for about 1 to 10 years.
- Some of the company's clients include FirstBank, Edina Realty, and Worthington National Bank.
- In 2019, Kylie Jenner wanted to stretch her brand's awareness in conjunction with the launch of a new product line known as Kylie Skin.
- To create the desired awareness, the team first deployed a planning tool to capture individual billboards and shopping mall sites and further deliver ads on the acquired spaces.
- The "programmatic out of home Kylie Skin campaign simultaneously targeted 4,300+ U.S. roadside digital billboards and 1,500+ digital video screens in 200+ shopping malls."
- The initial wave of the campaign included information about the launch time of the products online. Once launched, the ads all swapped to read, 'Available Now.' A custom trigger was scheduled for the third creative to say, 'Sold out.' The products eventually sold out later that day.
- The campaign was regarded as the "largest single national programmatic digital billboard campaign." It reached audiences in more than 1,100 U.S. cities, including major areas such as Las Vegas Boulevard and Times Square.
- The record-breaking campaign attracted national press coverage, featuring in top ad media sources such as AdWeek, MediaVillage, Marketing Magazine, and other trade publications.
- The campaign also created social media buzz among Kylie Jenner fans, followers, and other social media influencers.
- Pictorial excerpts from the campaign are provided here (image 1, image 2, and image 3)
- In February 2019, Benedict’s Restaurant hoped to create awareness ahead of opening a third location. The brand had two locations being promoted on two permanent billboards.
- To create the required awareness, the brand adopted the idea of tempting locals to pay a visit to its new location using the image of tasty foods.
- Benedict’s Restaurant used a mouth-watering image calling on drivers to pay a visit to the new restaurant location and also entice existing customers to not only visit the new spot but also to return to the other locations.
- The static bulletins were targeted at local within the St. Petersburg/Clearwater neighborhood aged 18 years and above.
- The campaign was successful as it generated 44,445,641 impressions, a target audience frequency of 53.1, and an audience reach of 31.44%.
- According to the company’s chief executive officer, Ali Ismail, “the response has been overwhelming! The out of home campaign met the client’s objectives. The established restaurants saw a noticeable increase in business, and customers started talking about seeing the billboards.”
- Benedict’s Restaurants are now convinced of the immense outreach of out of home ad campaigns and have purchased three extra bulletins.
- Pictorial excerpts from the campaign are provided here (image 1 and image 2)
- The location of the billboard is regarded as one of the most critical factors when opting for billboard advertising, according to EMC Outdoor and MarketingWit.
- The sponsor is advised to inquire from the advertising company about the billboard's proposed location and then conduct a personal assessment of the site.
- Some factors to look out for include visibility, the size of the human traffic expected, the absence of obstructions, and ensuring that space is located in the right geographical bearing.
- Ideally, the inspection should be conducted before signing the advertisement contract.
- Hauler Ad provides a list of the best sites to position a billboard ad, including schools, office buildings, bus terminals and train stations, hotels and commercial buildings, and highway/freeway.
- According to an Arbitron National In-Car Study, "71% of Americans consciously view a billboard message while driving and, of that percentage, many visits the event or restaurant advertised."
- Also, 58% of the respondents suggested that they learned about an event or restaurant they want to visit from a billboard advert.
A Powerful Call to Action (CTA)
- According to Media Space Solutions and Envision Creative, a powerful call-to-action (CTA) is a best practice related to billboard marketing campaigns.
- Media Space Solutions believes that it is best to use a simple and not complicated call-to-action to ask readers to take a specific action directly.
- Envision Creative also emphasizes that CTAs should be actionable lead people into immediate engagement depending on the purpose of the ad.
- Media Space Solutions also suggests that billboard ads should facilitate a conversation between a brand and its target audience.
- A call to action is said to be the reason behind the increased engagement and output generated by billboard ads.
- Showcase Outdoor provides some examples of call to actions on billboard adverts such as asking people to call a telephone number, directing people to a website or social media channel, signposting people to a business location, and directing consumers to dedicated discount codes, hashtags, or QR codes.