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Why Billboard Ads Doesn't Work Today?

Billboard advertising is among the oldest forms of advertising. The very first proper billboard was invented by Jared Bell who wanted to advertise a circus in the 1830s. Billboard advertising grew significantly in popularity in the twentieth century, with large companies such as Coca-Cola producing them on a massive scale as part of their marketing and advertising strategy. However, in the modern era, billboards have become a thing of the past to many people. Although they still make up about 66% of outdoor advertising, billboards just don’t seem to work as well anymore, and here are five reasons why.

Reliance On Consumer Recall Ability

Have you ever walked into a room to do something, only to forget it the moment you set foot into the room? Fleeting information is easy to forget, and coupled with the fast-paced world that is the digital era, consumers are not likely to remember information on a billboard that they see on the highway for about 10 seconds max. This makes billboards a significantly less effective form of advertising.

Lack Of Repetition

Part of the reason why ads work so well is because they pop up constantly, drilling themselves into your mind. How many times have you watched a video on YouTube only for the same ad to pop up for the millionth time? Billboard ads do not have the same repetitive factor that other modern forms of advertising do, such as YouTube ads or Tiktok ads. This means that they become forgettable, and in turn consumers will not be pushed to interact with that advertisement.

Issues With Specific Markets

Personalised advertisements boost the likelihood of a consumer purchasing an advertised product by a lot, and this form of advertising usually only works online, where a person’s search activity and interactions are fed into an algorithm that then suggests similar products to them. On the other hand, billboards are advertised in full view of the general public, and if a product or service is meant to cater to a specific market, then there is no guarantee that the target demographic will interact or even see the advertisement.

Subject To Weather Conditions

Unlike online ads, television ads or even radio ads, billboard advertisements are subject to outdoor conditions. Harsh weather such as thunderstorms or heavy snow can impair the visibility of the billboard. These weather conditions can also cause the billboard to become damaged, in which companies would then have to spend more to fix it.

The lack of control offered to companies makes the billboard a risky advertising tool. On the flip side, modern forms of advertising such as social media advertisements are not subject to weather conditions, and companies can save on any potential reparation costs.

Outdated Advertisements

Time moves quickly, and trends rise and fall. This means that companies have to stay on top of trends and constantly come up with new advertisements that fit with what is currently the hot topic. In the digital era, companies can easily replace their ads online with fresh, new ones. However, billboards are not so easily replaceable as they are costly. This can result in some advertisements becoming old, outdated and sometimes even offensive as times change. In turn, this reflects badly on the company and can impact their sales negatively.

Despite all that, billboards have still stood the test of time, and are slowly evolving to become more digitalised. Although they may not be as effective as advertisements online, they still continue to be a popular advertising tool among massive brands like McDonalds, H&M and Coca-Cola; brands that have a very general audience.


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