Whilst you may be preoccupied with online marketing in the digital age, it is ultimately an integrated strategy that will deliver the best results. This means that you should also market your business offline, as you look to optimise your reach and drive higher levels of customer engagement.
You would also join an estimated 20% of entrepreneurs who have said that they are planning to increase their offline marketing spend this year and ensure that their budget is used as effectively as possible.
The key, of course, is to select the most effective offline marketing channels, with billboards and newspapers the first that spring to mind. In this article, we will compare these two options and determine which one is best for you:
Pricing and Value
While newspapers and billboards may share some similarities, the pricing structures that they adhere to actively set them apart. In truth, advertising in national and even local newspapers has always been more expensive the leveraging other forms of traditional media, such as billboards, but the price for newspaper features has increased significantly during the digital age.
In terms of local newspapers alone, even the cost of single ad placements appears prohibitive. A full page, colour insert at 320mm x 259mm costs an average price of £3,022, for example, while a half-page advertisement at 160mm x 259mm will account for an estimated £1,574 of your budget. Even a quarter-page ad at 160mm x 114mm will set you back £886, so it is clear that a sustained newspaper campaign would quickly consume your marketing budget.
You may be able to reduce costs incrementally by negotiating a long-term deal with multiple inserts, of course, but you should not expect to reduce your expense by any more than 15% in the current climate (more on this later).
In contrast, both traditional and digital billboard advertisements are far more affordable. You can secure 48-sheet billboards in prominent locations for as little as £150.00 per week, while longer-term contracts can deliver promotional prices as low as £100 per week. Larger, 96-sheet adverts can cost just £300 per week over the course of a one month booking, while this offers you access to a vast advertising space of 3 metres by 12 metres.
Even prominently-placed digital billboards can be procured for around £1,250 over the course of a two-week booking, which compares favourable with the cost of single inserts in newspapers.
Reach and Impact
The comparative cost of these two channels is an important consideration for your business, as your decision will be influenced significantly by your bottom line budget. It is also important to assess the reach and impact of both channels, as this will determine the value that you get for your money and the ROI that you are able to achieve in relation to your spend.
In terms of newspapers, you need to consider readership figures and the average circulation of individual publications. This creates a challenge for marketers, as while national papers have larger reader bases they also charge high advertising premiums and make it difficult for brands to target defined audience segments. In contrast, local newspapers simplify the process of targeting and engaging readers, but most publications of this type tend to have a circulation of between 30,000 and 40,000.
Even newspapers that have an online presence offer a similar conundrum, with the Telegraph the latest to launch a premium subscription service of around £2 per week to allow universal access to articles. This creates significant restrictions for marketers and reduces the potential to reach as large a target market as possible.
The same cannot be said for billboard advertising, particularly traditional posters that offer exclusivity and the maximum exposure to brands. The increasingly competitive pricing of billboard advertising also enables businesses that market themselves in prominent city centre and roadside locations, while it is estimated that more than 71% of potential customer pay significant attention to out-of-home (OOH) advertising.
In fact, customers are actively thought to seek out OOH and billboard advertising material, particularly when commuting or embarking on their daily travels. Much of this has to do with the non-intrusive nature of billboards and the way in which they appear organically, which in turn drives a striking engagement rate of around 16%.
Driving Action and Sales Conversions
We have already touched on how it is difficult to negotiate competitive advertising deals with newspapers in the current climate, and this is due in part to the relative decline of the industry. The Times and The Sun were the latest publications to record losses and circulation declines during 2016, as owners look to invest in restructuring to maintain their relevance in the digital age.
This has also led to a marginal but sustained decline in newspaper advertising, which Google Trends showcasing a marked dip in interest over a 12-year period. Such a decline has perpetuated a cycle of decline within the industry, with publications seeming increasingly out of place among the digital consumption habits of consumers.
Some may argue that the same could be said of billboard advertising, but the statistics suggest otherwise. We have already touched on the prominence and engaging nature of billboards, but it is also interesting to note that those who have seen OOH adverts are approximately 17% more likely to engage with a brand through their smartphone. So in addition to creating an intent to purchase, billboards are also driving direct action and increasing the average rate of sales conversions.
A similar trend is evident through other interactions too, with a recent OOH campaign by Monster providing a relevant case in point. Staged in two parts, this campaign leveraged strategically-placed billboards to reposition the brand, with data suggesting that it was able to reach 77% of a predetermined target audience.
Additionally, the rate of Google searches for the related terms ‘jobs’ and ‘Monster’ increased from 20% and 25% during the campaign, highlighting the effectiveness of Billboards at influencing potential customers.
These figures hint at a clear divide between newspaper and billboard advertising, and this is certainly something that brands should bear in mind. While newspaper publication have bridged some of this gap by expanding online, the use of premium subscriptions and paywalls have restricted the ability of the channel to drive sales conversions.
The Last Word
Ultimately, your final choice will be determined by your budget and the precise goals of your marketing campaigns.
These considerations will at least enable you to make an informed decision, and one that enables you to optimise your marketing spend and achieve a desired ROI.
Given the reach, competitive pricing and engaging nature of billboards, it is hard to look past this as the superior offline marketing channel in the modern age.