Once the preserve of international brands with large budgets and marketing teams, digital billboards now offer enormous potential for SMBs.

In part, this is due to the sheer proliferation of outdoor advertising digital inventory. Far from being confined to hotspots like Times Square, there are now tens of thousands of individual digital screens available across the country, as reported through the figures from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA).

Table showing the number of digital billboards in US

(Source: oaaa.org)

This increased availability has had an effect on the costs of digital billboard advertising. DOOH ad space is now more affordable than ever, which is a huge advantage for smaller businesses with tight budgets.

The SMB Guide to DOOH: How to market your SMB using DOOH

It’s not just about cost and supply, however. SMBs are turning towards digital signage because they offer tangible strategic advantages over traditional billboards and online media. And when you combine the accessibility of digital billboards with new, programmatic ad buying methods, it’s clear that today, DOOH advertising offers SMBs a fast, flexible and affordable way to reach thousands of potential customers.

Here are five key reasons why digital billboards are a great option for SMBs.

1. Digital Billboards Offer Better Recall Value

Traditionally, SMB marketing efforts have focused on online ads because of cost – billboard cost is higher than online media. Increasingly, however, the online ad space is becoming oversaturated, whilst consumers make efforts to block out ads they see as invasive.

For example, figures cited in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review suggests that eBay search ad effectiveness is overestimated by up to 4,100%, while a similar analysis of Facebook ads threw up a number of 4,000%.

In contrast to the saturated world of online advertising, the unskippable and exclusive nature of DOOH offers significant advantages for advertisers as they can capitalize on large format, attention-grabbing media. When combined with the fact that OOH generates the best ad recall of all major media, out of home advertising is one of the most effective ways for SMBs to reach thousands of potential customers effectively, in a manner that is both memorable and eye-catching.

It’s also important to note that digital billboards are much, much more eye-catching than their traditional counterparts – and this increased visual impact is a cost-effective tool for raising brand awareness for SMBs. Digital billboards offer:

  • Bright, visually exciting LED displays
  • The ability to create eye-catching dynamic animated or video ads
The Digital Marketers’ Complete Guide to using DOOH

2. Digital Billboards Facilitate Location-Based Marketing

For many SMBs – brick-and-mortar stores in particular – a local customer base is central to success. Engaging that customer base with tactical campaigns whilst they’re physically near your business – rather than at home on the internet – offers a huge strategic advantage.

Place-based media such as digital signs in locations like malls, convenience stores, grocery stores, liquor stores, pharmacies and sports and entertainment venues, is a great way for small businesses to attract passing trade.

DOOH ads with directions to your nearby outlet help you turn interested passersby into paying customers – indeed, with the right approach, digital billboards can drive direct sales as well as increasing brand awareness within your locality.

Discover more: 4 Reasons Why Place-Based Media Is the Way of the Future

3. Digital Billboards Can Be Bought Programmatically

SMB marketing and advertising teams are often both time and human resource poor. As such, traditional out of home buying practices, involving lengthy negotiation processes via expensive intermediary agencies, have previously kept smaller businesses out of the space entirely.

However, digital signage and digital billboard advertising can now be bought programmatically – via automated bidding platforms that give advertisers direct access to the displays they need.

The result is that OOH media is now considerably more accessible to teams with smaller budgets and fewer team members. Lead times are reduced, so SMBs can start reaping the benefits of out of home media sooner, and react to demand, seasonality and current events more dynamically.

4. Programmatic DOOH Offers Accurate Audience Curation Options

Digital billboards now offer more flexibility, responsiveness, and relevance to advertisers thanks to programmatic buying methods.

Traditional OOH industry buying methods usually involve renting ad space for a fixed period of time. If your advert is time sensitive, only relevant at certain times of day, or selling a product for which external conditions create fluctuating demand, only programmatic DOOH (pDOOH) allows you to curate your audience and display your advert when it’s likely to be effective.

This is because of the automated bidding options pDOOH platforms offer. You define the conditions under which you would like your ad to be displayed and only pay for OOH inventory when those conditions can be met. Criteria could be based around, for example:

  • Temperature and other weather conditions
  • Time of day or day of week
  • Specific events, such as festivals or sports fixtures
  • Footfall
  • Local traffic conditions

British company Diageo’s campaign is a great example of how effective this can be. The alcoholic beverage producer partnered with local pubs and bars, so that when the weather reached 16oC, locally targeted billboards displayed an advert for a new product and a suggestion of where to go to drink it.

Digital Billboard example 1

(Source: movia.media)

5. Real-Time Reporting

If you can’t measure the performance of your ad campaign, you can’t improve it.

Traditional media agencies offer advertisers regular reports on their out of home advertising performance – but by the time these have been compiled, sent, and analyzed, they’re usually out of date.

Digital billboard space bought programmatically offers real-time analytics, including number of playouts, eCPM and planned/spent budget, so you can measure the success of your campaign and make adjustments immediately if needed. This allows SMBs to get a better return on digital billboard costs as campaigns can be optimized on an ongoing basis.

Find the Right pDOOH Platform for You

To unlock the benefits that digital billboards offer SMBs, it’s important to find the right buying platform.

The Neuron is a pDOOH platform that’s specially designed for smaller businesses. Easy to use with single click processes that connect you to a range of OOH inventory nationwide, with The Neuron you can get your OOH campaigns up and running in no time – and start seeing meaningful returns.

Try The Neuron today