How Can Advertisers “Hack” Ad Spaces and Billboards?

..and we’re not talking digital billboards yet. Just the usual tarp ads and billboards..

How can advertisers derive more value they get from ad spaces and billboards? Are there ways to improve these placements? How does it tie up with digital marketing?

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Going home to Mactan from a meeting in Cebu City, I passed by an ad from The Outlets at Pueblo Verde on the side of the Mactan-Mandaue bridge, locally known as the “Old Bridge” in Cebu. [Disclosure: The Outlets at Pueblo Verde is a current customer of Third Team Media] The ads were hanging there in all its glory, waving like flags welcoming you to Mactan Island. There were about six to a dozen of those lined up with different ad designs each (where at the lower 1/3 there was also another ad related to tourism). I was glad to see that it was looking grand as last month, it was all battered up from the wind and rain.

Passing by Mandaue the next day, I saw another ad was from a real estate company where their ad only consists of a photo of a woman and her child and the name of the development. Where are the headlines? The subheadings? The call-to-action?

Seeing these ads made me wonder and pose the questions I have listed above: How can advertisers derive more value they get from ad spaces and billboards? Are there ways to improve these placements? How does it tie up with digital marketing?

Renting an ad space is a norm in offline advertising and as part of a brand or business’ media campaign during launches.  These ad spaces are known to cost around 50-60k per month. I searched for sample postings and materials that ad agencies have and here’s a sample I found. It goes something like this:

cebu billboard ads

Being a consultant in the digital marketing industry, I am wondering as to how much value advertisers get out of the engagement they are doing on ad spaces and billboards. Unlike digital marketing where EVERYTHING can be tracked, offline advertising seems trivial for me.

Do we get an assured number of eyeballs looking at the ads? If we can track them, how many of those actually converted into leads? Does it only help with reach and brand awareness?

Quoting the same ad posting, it mentions how the internet and advertising work hand in hand:

Internet and Out of Home
Internet and out of home advertising reach similar audiences. Both market to a younger, educated, affluent, and mobile audience. Out of home extends the reach and frequency of an Internet campaign when users are offline. The manner outdoor ads deliver the message is ideal for driving traffic to a website.

Again: Ideal for driving traffic to a website. Which then leads me to thinking why some of the advertisers also forget to invest in digital marketing via website, social media channels, landing pages, ads. It seems a waste to see these ads and then not see a call to action, right?

Based on these things noticed, I think these are some ways to “hack” ad spaces and billboards:

1. Provide a clear call to action

If you want to tie up your digital marketing efforts and your offline ads, call to actions would be help. Tell them what to actually do. What’s the next step? What do they do next?

2. Direct them to a website or social media channel.

When doing this, give the audience an incentive if they follow your lead and actually visit your channels.

3. Include non-trivial graphics.

Photos and graphics used should  communicate the core message.  A photo of  a group of youngsters is cute. But if you want to sell rings, you better emphasize that you are selling those and not just assume the the audience actually knows what you are all about.

Do you agree with these? Are there other hacks you can add?

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