I was driving to work the other day and noticed this electronic billboard near our office (see image).
Sorry for the pixelation, but electronic billboards don’t photograph well. The billboard says: "Out-of-Home" and "The Original Search Engine."
It's basically stating that outdoor billboards are the original search engine. Do they actually understand how search works?
It doesn’t seem like it. Instead, this shows me that outdoor advertising is officially dead. It acknowledges that people have focused their search for products and services on Google, Yahoo and Bing.
I’ve been wondering when the people who run advertising for businesses would finally realize they are in a dying industry. Nice to see that it was July 24, 2015. Despite the demise, I’m still willing to try helping Lamar Outdoor understand the difference between advertising and inbound marketing.
Advertising has nothing to do with people searching.
Out-of-home search engine? Are you kidding? You place an ad on a sign, and then you rely on people driving buy to look up and see it. That’s not searching. Search engines actually show people exactly what they want, exactly when they want it.
Advertising’s revenue model is broken.
You pay for outdoor based on the number of people who drive by the sign. But, how many of those people actually see the ad? Do you get a discount when less people see it? What if it rains or snows? What if there’s an accident and the road is closed? No discount is coming your way.
The "out-of-home search engine" is actually in your pocket.There’s a new threat to outdoor advertising, and it’s called the smartphone. Today, if you’re driving down the road and looking for a restaurant, gas station or specific retail store, you’re not waiting to see a sign. You’re searching for it on your smartphone, right? More reason to look down instead of looking up and outside at the sign.
The true out-of-home search engine is on your device, not on a sign that's 50 feet off the ground.
Ad agencies and companies like Lamar are pulling out all the stops. Electronic billboards are just one of those gimmicks. These agencies are going to tell you that people pay more attention to this kind of billboard, that you can rotate your ads with other people’s ads to make advertising more affordable and that you can change your message more frequently. But, the reality still remains.
Advertising has to interrupt in order to be successful. Outdoor advertising, specifically, has to grab a driver’s attention away from the road and toward the ad. Today, most people are focused on two more important activities while they’re driving: operating their car and texting on their phone. With people paying way more attention to their phones than to the road, how would they even see the roadside ad?
It’s time to consider options. This isn’t a search engine, folks. It's the same interruptive, ineffective, unmeasurable ad it's always been. Nothing's different. Nothing's changed. Consider inbound marketing as a much better option that’s 100% quantitative, 100% measurable and 100% more effective at driving people to your website, where they can get to know you and your business.
Start Today Tip – If you’re still using outdoor or other traditional advertising tactics, it’s time to consider other options. The combination of inbound marketing and Reality Marketing makes advertising pale in comparison to inbound tactics. Everything in inbound is 100% measurable and 100% prospect-focused. Instead of interrupting people, we focus on getting your business to earn a prospect’s attention. That creates a much stronger opportunity to turn that prospect into potential revenue. Find out how by downloading the e-book below.
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