In 2014, the spend on out-of-home advertising – the type of advertising that reaches the consumers while they are outside of their homes – surpassed the £1 billion mark in the UK alone, and that spend has continued to increase in the years since. Global spend on programmatic digital advertising is expected to reach around $53 billion (£41 billion) by 2018. Digital out-of-home advertising, based around digital displays, is also enjoying an increase in popularity, as it becomes the go-to solution for businesses and brands wanting to reach their customers, captivate their attention and maintain relatable in an increasingly busy world.
Benefits to digital advertising are plentiful – and they come largely as an advantage over the traditional, print-based model. Amongst the benefits of digital advertising are:
- Prime locations: strategically placed screens in areas frequented by prospective customers are frequently made available to local advertisers. An increased number of people passing by the billboard means that there are more prospective customers looking at an ad. Screens placed in busy areas, like public transport or railway stations, airports, or shopping centers can provide the advertisers with more views of an ad than a much more expensive time slot on a TV station could provide. Compared to a static billboard, in turn, the ad is much more noticeable, particularly so if it incorporates rich media like movies or animations.
- Savings on production costs: digital advertising of the display kind mean that the advertising campaign does not have to factor in for the printed materials, which can be costly. Also, there is an easy way to slightly tweak or improve the campaign – the only thing needed is an updated image or a movie file. Changes in traditional, printed campaigns, with the use of billboards, are very costly and labour-extensive.
- Shorter lead times: the ads are sent electronically to the screen, which means the artwork gets launched almost immediately, whether on one screen, on a group of screens located in various parts of a store, or a wide network of devices in various parts of the country. There is no need to deal with a printing subcontractor, hire advertising space and include the costs of labour for having the ads physically placed in the marketing budget.
- The opportunity to display multiple messages: if you have multiple products or services to promote, or if your message requires several stages of unfolding, you can display those very easily. Digital screens offer multiple time-slots, so an advertiser can hire more display time and launch the advertising they require.
- Flexible start dates: outdoor advertising on printed billboards traditionally works in blocks of two weeks. Digital advertising, however, is fully flexible and adaptable – campaigns can be planned for any day of the month or week, it can last as long or as little as required, limited only by the advertising budget. Promotional activity can be instantly stopped mid-week if a product sells out; it can even be limited to certain hours of the day, so some products can be advertised only during peak times, when a target audience (e.g. commuting workers) is likely to come across the ad, and switched off during the working day when the group is in the office – with a short relaunch for the lunch time, when a lot of prospective customers are outside again.
No matter what industry you represent, the onset and arrival of digital technology in the advertising industry can only serve to help businesses promote themselves and their products or services, in a manner more effective and efficient than anything before. As the technology continues to develop, with the consumers and their habits catching up and adapting to the technological advancements, the businesses should have their eyes set out clearly on the digital billboards and all their advantages.