Are Billboards Still Relevant in the Digital Age? | Vortex Digital

Are Billboards Still Relevant in the Digital Age?

Are Billboards Still Relevant in the Digital Age?


Over 80% of consumers research products and services online before making a purchase. Since the early 2000s, the shift to a digital economy has led to a big leap in digital marketing. Businesses are focusing on marketing strategies that capitalize the online space, such as PPC vs SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, and email marketing to name a few. 

Marketers are continuing to evaluate what traditional marketing strategies are still relevant, and what should be left behind. 

One of the oldest forms of advertising is billboard advertising, or out-of-home (OOH) advertising, and it is still proving relevant and useful today!

In this article, we will examine the history of billboards, the benefits of using billboard advertising, and how to incorporate a billboard advertising strategy for your business. 

History of billboards

Billboards were first used in the 1830s, but became a prominent form of advertising about thirty years later. The first billboards featured local circus acts like Barnum and Bailey. 

In the 1860s, billboards became more popular as businesses started purchasing spaces to place their ads. This created a business for billboard advertisements and marketing opportunities. A few companies became the leaders in this industry and by the 1890’s, the first 24-sheet billboard was created, setting the precedent for billboards in the future. 

The 20th century brought the interstate highway system to American roads. This changed the landscape of billboard advertising, essentially creating endless opportunities for a business to be seen. At this time, billboards were the most popular form of advertising.

Billboards have continued to evolve into the 21st century. Today, we have digital billboards that are cheaper to change, require less maintenance, and allow for even more possibilities in design. Currently, the majority (66%) of OOH marketing is billboard ads, proving successful for businesses since their conception. 

Benefits of Billboards

Billboards allow you to target location-specific consumers. This helps increase your brand awareness in your community, which can be especially beneficial for smaller, local businesses, or larger businesses trying to introduce themselves in a new market. 

People notice billboard ads, even subconsciously. Billboards, when placed strategically, have high visibility and are almost guaranteed to be noticed. This is especially important when considering how easy digital ads can be swiped away, scrolled passed, or ignored. 

Billboards capture a wide range of diverse consumers. This can help you gain exposure to demographics you weren’t yet aware of, or introduce your product/service to consumers who don’t yet know you exist.

Billboard Advertising Strategy

Billboards are a useful and tested method of advertising and are still effective in today’s digital world. 

You may be considering whether billboard advertising is the right move for your business. If you are already pursuing a digital marketing strategy, supplementing OOH advertising can be useful to further promote your brand awareness and target a wider demographic of people. 

Both strategies work together to create a well-rounded marketing plan. When your ads are seen in a normal, everyday environment, people will subconsciously remember your brand/business. Therefore, when they see your digital ad, brand recall will help increase the chances for conversions. 

Cultivating a brand image is important if you want to scale your business. Billboards help establish your name and begin the course for consumers in your marketing funnel.

If you are interested in talking more about whether billboards are the right move for your business, give us a call today at 319.621.0191!