Basics of Billboards

June 26, 2017 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

It doesn’t get much bigger than billboards. Whether it’s the side of a building or the side of the road, billboards can be an effective tactic depending on how they are used.

Rarely, billboards are the only campaign tactic. They are best used as supporting pieces for a strategic, overarching campaign that may also include a mix of print, television or digital advertising, public relations and social media.  

When to Use Billboards

It’s all about the response you intend to provoke. People on the go may not find it convenient or relevant to “act now.” Take this into account when considering whether a billboard will fulfill your marketing objective.

  • Brand awareness – Billboards can be effective brand awareness tools when the purpose is to help consumers identify your logo, understand what you do, and keep your brand in the back of their minds for future relevance. In this instance, a single billboard isn’t likely to produce results.
  • Extended campaigns – Most billboards (except digital which can be changed) are posted for 30 days, so you only want to deploy billboards for campaigns that exceed that timeframe.
  • Location announcement – A new store can benefit from a billboard to announce the location to the neighborhood.   
  • Right here, right now – If your business solves an immediate need for a potential passerby, a billboard can help drive in-store traffic. A common example is billboards for restaurants along highways to draw in hungry road trippers.

Budget Considerations

Billboards are assigned points based on the visibility, location, traffic, market and more. The points determine the cost. A billboard in Times Square obviously costs more than a country road. As previously mentioned, only in specific instances is a single billboard worth the money. If you don’t have the budget for multiple boards, consider a different medium.

No Second to Spare

Passersby are preoccupied with their thoughts, music, or even engaged in conversation all while moving fast. That leaves little time to make an impression. Your message needs to be impactful enough to demand their attention.

Once you have their eyes, you have roughly six seconds for them to take in your message, comprehend it, and set it to memory.

Smart Design Wins

Despite the size of the billboard, you actually have less room and less time for your message, so make it a good one. Clear design paired with impactful messages can make a lasting impression.

  • Provide clarity on who you are and what you do.
  • Limit the copy to 10 words or less.
  • Replace words with images when possible.
  • Leverage contrasting colors to make words and images pop in light or dark.
  • Maintain your brand standards.
  • Ensure that the message is visible from a good distance.
  • Simplify your call to action to something memorable.

Media buyers are experts in identifying the best medium for your message whether it’s billboards, print, digital or something more. In addition to these tips, they can help you determine if a billboard is right for your brand or build the right mix to make your brand move.    

Kelsey Ney is a brand coordinator at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency. For more information on challenger brands check out some related blog posts:

Advertising or Remodeling Your Restaurant: Which Drives More Sales?

Loyalty Programs for Challenger Brands

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Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


We challenge underdog brands to think differently. We help them find their voice, and urge them to blaze new trails to make sure they stand out from the pack. Whether you need an agency of record or support on a project, we are here to help you win.