Can billboard advertisements drive sales for the automotive industry?


Advertising is all about grabbing a person’s attention and encouraging them to follow through on an action. Arguably, one of the most effective methods of making someone pay attention is with a large billboard placed strategically in a public place.

Outdoor advertising, including the use of billboards, was significant for the automotive industry in the early 1900s — with the Ford Model T becoming a main promotional product that captured the world. However, since then, this form of print marketing has become a staple of advertising and has even played a part on the silver screen as a crucial prop in recent blockbuster, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

For the automotive industry specifically, such marketing methods can increase ROI. If you’re not convinced, find out why billboard advertising might be the boost your brand needs…

Steering decisions

It’s no surprise that on a daily basis, Brits are in view of advertisements for 16 minutes. Why not target your consumer during this window of opportunity with a large, quality, well-located billboard in a place with high footfall or traffic?

Despite what most people think, billboards contents are simple to design and print. Need something effective up and running in a hurry? A billboard is a single page of design, which should save you time when putting together a template that will offer maximum ROI.

Automotive marketers will be well aware of the Marketing Rule of 7 — and follow it pretty well. This theory claims that a consumer must hear or see an advertising message at least seven times before taking action. By placing an outdoor banner in a public place where people will pass every day or a few times a day — like on the way to work or when dropping off and picking up their kids from school — you can help hit this number and potentially increase your brand’s chances of a conversion whether this is the upgrade of a new car model or additional vehicle features.

Evidently, billboard advertising could be a beneficial branch of your wider marketing campaign. So, how do you make sure your billboards are as effective as possible?

Designing a powerful billboard

It’s no secret that the automotive industry is competitive when it comes to advertising. However, if your billboard will be placed at the side of a high-speed road, where drivers are already present, this creates an even greater demand for noticeability. Think strategically about what you want on your billboard — someone driving past at 40mph+ is only going to be able to take in so much. What is your marketing objective? Do you want to sell a specific product? Are you spreading brand awareness? Determine exactly what you want to achieve from your advertisement and provide only the essential information.

As most brands use billboards to promote their new vehicle, the big image space is essential. However, according to research, people generally only recall 10% of information they hear three days later. Using a relevant image, such as the vehicle itself, alongside this information increases retention by 55%. When designing your billboard, try and think of a funny or quirky image that will grab and hold a passer-by’s attention. Due to the size of a billboard, your images can pack a more powerful punch, so focus on getting the image perfect and then build your design from there.

You need to strike a balance between clarity and the relevant information. Utilise bright and bold colours to catch the eye — contrasting colours are reportedly stay in people’s memories for longer, too — and opt for a simple background and large, readable text — Sans Serif is a good shout.

For car advertisements, have you considered roadside placements? A driver typically has five to ten seconds to view an ad, which means you need to consider copy length. The more relevant and informative your image is, the less you should need to convey with text — stick to a brief, punchy message of seven words and you should get your marketing message across, no problem.

To create a more personalised advert, consider the location. Why not include an image of a vehicle next to a local landmark to create a sense of familiarity or reference the local traffic in a funny way? Humour generally works in advertising. According to a review of 6,500 ads, the funniest were usually cited as being the most appealing and memorable. What’s more, adopting this personal and familiar approach creates a sense of friendliness, so you’ll also exude a more welcoming brand persona — which will be more encouraging to a potential customer.

Where The Trade Buys are print experts and retailers, based online and in the UK. As well as being a display panel provider, they specialise in promotional and office print services for small and large businesses.

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