The Billboard Is Dead… Long Live Social Media Ads!

Headed over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house -(or elsewhere) – for the holidays? Count how many outdoor billboards you pass along the way…

Wait, what billboards? You mean those things off the side of the road you may see when you’re not looking down at your phone or tablet? Yup. Those things.

Is the billboard dead? Not quite, but one thing is for sure – The reach of a billboard, radio, or TV ad is hard to track. The reach of social media ads, though, is not. And that’s where your money should be.

Placing ads on your company’s Facebook page, Pinterest, Twitter or Google+ sites will get you the most bang for your buck. Why? Because the results are measurable.

Digital strategy specialists are able to track social media ad performance by ‘tracking the click trail’ through the “Cs”:

  • Conversions to sales – Can a billboard lead to a sale? Yes, eventually, but it may take at least 5 ‘drive-bys’ before the consumer decides to take action. With a Facebook or Instagram ad, a purchase can be made within seconds of the user viewing your product, service, or fundraising campaign.
  • Clicks – How many people clicked on your ad? How many visited your website? Or from there, clicked onto your services page? All this can be tracked. But the real icing on the social media click cake is also being able to calculate how much each click on the ad cost you. There are sites dedicated to teaching people how to track their Facebook ad conversions. You can’t track how many people saw your billboard.
  • Comparing day-to-day or week-to-week results –Which online campaigns generated the most likes or follows? Which generated the fewest? Which ad themes resonated most with your audience? A billboard campaign may have a call-to-action, but unlike an online campaign, which can be tracked and adjusted in real time, it’s nearly impossible to know for sure what your audience thinks about it unless you conduct a survey, which takes time and resources.

Billboards are big in size, but not big on the interpersonal touch

Social media is all about building a relationship between your organization and the consumer. Billboards ? Not so much. And if you add music or a video to your online communications, that’s an additional emotional attachment for the consumer. People are more likely to pass on your link or make a comment about it if they feel connected to what they see.

The Price Is Right – and so is the Location

Lastly, consider the price and location of a billboard to that of a social media ad:

  • A billboard ad can range from $700 to $2500 for one month. You can spend as much as you want on an online campaign, with the understanding that it is proportional to the results you are looking for. Plus, it can be tracked!
  • With billboards, you can’t always get your prime spot off the main intersection in town. With online ads, depending on your budget and target audience, you can post your ad exactly where your potential customers are searching.

Do billboards have a place in our social media-driven society? That’s debatable. But ironically, now there’s an app for billboards – that you view on your smartphone.

We rest our case.

Let GillespieHall create your online social media campaign. Contact us today.

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  • Bridget Paverd
    Posted at 20:08h, 03 June

    Measuring the effect of OUTCOMES is far more powerful and tangible than measuring OUTPUTS. The Barcelona Declaration of PR Measurement Principles is very clear on the need for metrics that are transparent and in real time. “How many eyeballs?” should be “how have behaviors changed?”

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