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Does Outdoor Advertising Work? Just Did!



For sometime now I have noticed billboards around the state of Texas, seems to be mostly on the IH35 corridor between San Antonio – Austin – Dallas, whose message is to sell ad space. I understand that thousands of cars pass these signs on a daily basis, so the idea of telling everyone that the space is available is completely understandable.

The issue I have is they are measuring the wrong thing. Just because I saw the billboard doesn't mean that outdoor advertising works, or even that the ad on that specific outdoor board works. All it means is that they got an impression from me driving by.

In this case the only way, “outdoor advertising works,” is if I call the 800# on the sign. So if they were smart they would (and hire a graphic designerchange the message to:

  • This board generates 400 calls a month
  • This board has a 326% ROI

So why talk about outdoor you ask? Well… are we not doing the same thing with digital?

We like to talk about impressions an ad got, or pageviews of a webpage. We need to start talking about completed goals. For example:

  • Not pageviews, but the number of completed online forms
  • Not impressions of an ad, but the click through rate to an opt-in
  • Not Facebook Fans, but Facebook Engagement

It is important to continue to looks for ways to show true numbers. Volume related numbers like pageviews, and fans are OK as a background metic but we have to continue to focus on something not just measurable but meaningful like building a house list or growing the seminar RSVP count.

Question: What is the best “WIN” you have had with social media or digital metrics?

Author Info

Reed Smith

3 Responses

  1. outdoor advertising says:

    Thanks for the post. Enjoyed reading ti. I want to know more

  2. Bill McNeill says:

    The meta quality here gets my attention, but the thought that immediately follows is, “If billboards actually worked I’d be seeing a revenue-generating ad instead of this placeholder.”

    • Reed Smith says:

      very true – I think what we can take away is that all mediums need to be supported via – all mediums… nothing works entirely on an island.