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Don’t Rule Out Outdoor Advertising

In a surprising turn of events, outdoor advertising seems to be on the upswing. Yep. You heard that right.

The category of outdoor advertising includes billboards, real estate on the outside of retail locations, transportation signage etc. Last Tuesday, Recode reported that outdoor advertising is up 3% in 2018 from 2017 – and that outdoor advertising is up a total of 35% since 2010.

Sure, digital was all the rage in the early-2000s. It still is. The opportunity to target your ads based on demographic data as specific as Facebook offers was unheard of before the last decade. Why buy a billboard that every single person on the highway will see when you can pay less per impression and make those impressions count? It makes sense. This is why digital still increased an approximated 11.5% from 2017 to 2018.

But digital is increasing at a slower and slower rate. Why is that? As Communication Professor Mike Johansson at RIT explained in Reporter, “Broadly speaking, people under 30 have gotten better at blocking out ads, or avoiding ads.” And this is especially true in the digital realm. Ad blockers and just plain “tuning out” of digital advertising consistently happen and this trend will probably continue.

On the other hand, billboards are improving. Recode also explains how digital billboards are allowing brands to respond in real time to local events as well as tailor their ads to the demographic of the area. In addition, outdoor advertising companies are getting better at data. They are learning how to cross reference increase retail foot traffic with estimated impressions of outdoor signage to determine whether or not the outdoor ads are working. So with outdoor improving, and digital slowly becoming less noticeable and thereby potentially less effective in the long term, it’s no wonder outdoor advertising is becoming more popular.

We’re not saying you need to completely revamp your marketing portfolio — digital advertising is still doing well and it’s still the number one form of advertising across the globe. But it may be time to diversify your advertising methods, or at least consider doing so. It’s unwise for any entity to completely rule out any form of advertising, including outdoor. You never know when you may be missing the secret weapon perfect tool to reach your target market.

If you need help with your marketing plan or need support in making advertising work for your brand, please reach out at or find us on Facebook and Twitter @KearleyAndCo.


Recode Billboards – yes, billboards – are having a heyday in a digital world

ReporterAdvertising in the Digital Age

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