Did you see a billboard today? Odds are, if you left the house, then you did see at least one board. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, there are more than 368,000 boards in the U.S., with somewhere between 5,000 and 15,000 being built each year. And digital billboards are becoming more and more a part of the advertising landscape.



You’ve seen digital billboards – the messages on them changes every six seconds or so. If you’re driving 45 to 55 mph, you’ll see at least three of those messages as you approach the board.

Digital boards offer the opportunity for some very creative advertising campaigns. Thanks to the technology, which is advancing on an almost daily basis, our imagination is the only thing limiting us from impactful and memorable campaigns. Consider these examples:

  • Emergency room wait-times at a local hospital are automatically updated on a billboard close to the hospital.
  • A big-box retailer wants to target messages to consumers at pivotal points of the day with relevant creative. This allows for the marketing campaign to stay fresh and encourages consumers to think about what they might need at that moment. Whether it’s breakfast food, an unexpected houseguest or a change in their plans, consumers understand that the retailer has their needs covered.


Marketing Billboard


The examples above are the really easy, low-hanging fruit of how to use digital billboards. Let’s talk now about some amazing technological advancements.  Web-based software can tap into a wide variety of data to inform the messaging that is on the board.

  • One advertiser combined traffic and NOAA weather data to trigger creative that was relevant to the corresponding conditions. It used emojis to convey an advertising message that was relevant to the viewer’s situation.
  • Vehicle Recognition Technology was used to promote Paramount Pictures’ Transformers: The Last Knight. The VRT recognized vehicle makes and models and used that information to trigger personalized billboard ads to promote the film’s upcoming release. Drivers cruising along in their cars saw a message such as “Attention. Your Toyota Camry is an Autobot.” or “Warning. Your Nissan Altima is a Decepticon.” that highlighted the film’s heroes and villains. The billboards also considered the speed of traffic to calculate the precise moment and length of time to display the personalized message.

As with all marketing campaigns, one element influences others. Billboards are no exception. As an example:

  • A national car-repair chain used traffic conditions to trigger different ads, such as, “This heavy traffic is something we can’t fix, but your transmission is.” It saw a significant increase in click-through rates (CTRs) on its paid-search campaigns during the billboards’ run. CTR improved anywhere from 42 percent to 69 percent in major cities across the U.S.

Billboards are seen by millions of people each and every day. Nielsen’s Out-of-Home Study revealed that consumers spend the majority of their waking hours away from home and on-the-go.

  • The average consumer spends more than 17 hours per week on the road.
  • 34 percent of consumers spend more than three hours traveling each day of their work week.
  • 47 percent of the U.S. workforce travels more than 1,000 miles per week.

Increased time away from home means increased exposure to billboard advertising. The advantages of digital boards are many:

  • Say what you want, when you want.
  • Multiple messages. Unconstrained by production cost, you can display multiple messages on a single billboard.
  • Dynamic content. Deliver real-time information in your ads.
  • Get a message to the public faster than you can with any other media.
  • No production costs. With digital billboards, the cost for vinyl and installation go away.
  • Web-based software schedules and manages billboard content.

Although many might lump billboards with traditional (ahem, less effective) advertising, digital boards are riding the wave of technology and offer the opportunity for very creative and engaging ads. These ads have the ability to be memorable to consumers and to help drive up the ROI of a campaign that uses multiple platforms.

Want to learn more about digital billboards, or are you ready to start a campaign? The team at Vela is here to help. Contact us today to get started!