Whilst those within the advertising industry would know the difference between “billboard advertising” and “outdoor advertising”, some marketers may not – judging from the volume of enquiries I receive for eg billboards when what they are looking for are street pole posters, or maxi posters.
So, a quick explanation:
Billboards are generally the free-standing boards you see on the sides of freeways or on main roads in suburban areas. They come in all shapes and sizes, and in portrait or landscape-formats. Of all the outdoor media-types, these type of billboards are normally the most expensive (together with building wraps) and can range from around R20 000 per month to around R70 000 a month – depending on their geographical location, and how many people would see, or pass by, the billboard in question in any month. In addition, there would a reproduction cost for printing the artwork, which would be a once-off cost, ranging from about R15 000 and upwards.
Billboards could be in the form of static billboards and digital billboards; the difference between them being that on a static board, only one advertising message could be shown at a time, whereas on a digital billboard, a number of ads could be shown one after the other. Digital billboards are becoming more and more popular as they are generally cheaper to flight, the messages can be changed quickly and the creative can be “walked” around a pre-determined area, so as to reach more people in different locales.
Outdoor advertising is a more encompassing term than billboard advertising and includes all outdoor advertising types – ranging from billboards, maxi posters, mini posters and street pole posters to building wraps, signage at taxi ranks, dustbin advertising, trailer advertising and bus shelter advertising.
Of these, the most expensive are building wraps where a side of an entire building can be branded if need be. Not only can this be impactful, it can be incredibly costly and can generally only be afforded by large marketers with expansive ad budgets. (Typically, companies in the banking, insurance, telecommunications and liquor industries).
Maxi-posters are also popular and are to be found between the north-bound and south-bound lanes of major freeways. These are extremely effective, so long as the creative messaging is kept simple and eye-catching. The rule of thumb here is to communicate the USP (Unique Selling Proposition). There’s no point in having a poster with a long headline that a motorist travelling at speed would have no chance of absorbing.
But this is true of all outdoor. You have to keep things simple, and understandable. Eye-catching is also good.
Take street pole posters. Generally put up in series of three or four, if the message is complicated, you’ll lose most motorists and your advertising money will be money down the drain. Street pole posters are cost-effective and hence popular with advertisers with limited advertising budgets. Anyone with R15 000 to R20 000 available could probably afford a series of street pole posters (depending of course on what an ad agency or design studio might for charge for the creative concept and design) although that said, one would normally get a better result by having more than one row of street pole posters.
Then there are mini-posters. Like street pole posters, they can work well. But their success is largely dependent on the creative.
In general, outdoor advertising is incredibly popular with marketers and probably always will be.
Many marketers will look at billboards in conjunction with radio advertising and as a strategy, this makes a lot of sense in a country like South Africa.
As with all advertising, however, billboard or outdoor advertising needs to be approached strategically and professionally and the process typically commences with identifying your target markets and researching their media consumption habits. There are ad agencies and media agencies specialising in outdoor advertising who can crunch the numbers. More than this, they could give you current outdoor availability in a specific area, provide reproduction and rental costings and recommend and purchase space on your behalf. Simplifying the outdoor or billboard advertising process as a result.
Whichever the outdoor advertising type, there will always be three costs:
The cost that an advertising agency will charge you to conceptualise the advertising message and supply artwork
The cost that the media owner will charge you to print the artwork
The cost that the media owner will charge you to flight your advertising per month
If you ever need help in this area, I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.