Does Billboard Advertising Still Work?

Out of Home advertising (or OOH, for those you in the biz) is a popular marketing platform. However, it’s effectiveness has been intensely debated over the past decade. We all know billboards are great for visual impact, brand awareness, and finding the next McDonald’s on a long road trip. But do they actually give your business a tangible return on investment? Well, the answer is clear…as mud. We’ve listed our top pros and cons to billboard advertising to help you decide.


Location: Choosing the right location for your billboard can be very lucrative for your business. Billboards in high traffic areas are often purchased months in advance and are based on your target market, key demographics, and location to the business.

Message: Consumers usually have about 6 seconds to read a billboard which means your message should be highly visible, to the point, and invoke emotion or call to action that people will remember. Eye-catching and effective billboards can be a great conversation-starter for your business.

Conversion: A 2009 study conducted by Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron) found the average American spends over 18 hours per week driving. 71% of consumers report often looking at messages on billboards and over one-third of participants reporting they look at every outdoor ad they pass. Additionally, the study found that 58% of respondents learned about an event they were interested in attending, 58% learned about a restaurant they later visited, a third of respondents were reminded to tune into a TV program, and about one quarter noted a website.


Location: Location is king – until it’s not. Construction or seasonal changes to the natural landscape can quickly and unexpectedly decrease visibility. Billboards come with a premium price tag, so make sure a temporary marketing platform is a smart investment for your business.

Message: You only have a few seconds to convey your entire brand and voice. Plus, you’re trying to sell a product or service at the same time. The message either works or it doesn’t. Simple as that. Think about the number of billboards you drove past today. Now try to remember what the message was on three of those billboards. How about just one of those billboards? If your messaging is not knocking it out of the park, reconsider how you are promoting your business.

Conversion: If you missed the date on the stats above, the MOST RECENT in-depth study done on billboards was in 2009. In 2009, 172 million people had smartphones. In 2018, that number sky-rocketed to 1.56 billion – more than a 90% increase! The entire marketing landscape has shifted and traditional billboard advertising may not be as effective as it has been in the past.

While OOH advertising can be effective, it does not mean a billboard is right for every business. Businesses must use the right combination of inbound and outbound marketing strategies. Many times, this will provide the greatest return on your marketing budget, improve brand recognition, and increase sales.