Getting Noticed with Outdoor Billboards

Getting noticed with outdoor billboards is possible with the right ad campaign and location of the billboard along with a little bit of luck. These are the three elements that make it possible for this mass media approach to reach their target audience.

The Message

There are certain elements and ad should possess to get noticed independent of what is being advertised. One of the key elements to a successful ad on a billboard is to keep the message simple. As a guide use ‘keep it simple’. If your message is much longer than that key phrase to 5 words, then it will be too long for anyone glancing at the billboard to read in its entirety.

The Image

Along with a simple message has to be an eye catching image. McDonalds uses a picture of the Big Mac to entice people with food. Chevrolet will use an image of the Camero or Corvette to showcase their new line of vehicles so people can envision themselves driving one.  This is all about branding the company’s image.

If the billboard has too many images along with highlights like stars with words in it, the message will look like a jumbled mess.


The use of contrasting colors can help the ad stand out from the surrounding items, building or landscape near the bill board. This approach has also been known to get the ad noticed and read. What should be avoided are the fluorescent colors that are so bright they tend to get people to close their eyes and look away.

Font Used

The simple message should be in large easy to read letters using a simple font. Many people using advertisements for the first time love to use fancy fonts. They are under the impression it will get their message noticed. What actually happens is the font is noticed, but the message is not because at a glance it cannot be read or understood.

By using large letter with enough space between them in a simple plain font is the best way to get someone to easily read the message and get remembered.


For maximum coverage the advertisement requires the placement of the ad in a high traffic area that is known to have the target audience passing by. With over 90% of the US population over the age of 16 and traveling by motor vehicle each month, their patterns are predicable.

This constant flow of traffic by the billboard it will provide coverage 24/7/365. No other means of advertising can claim this. With the easy to read message out there with travelers seeing it continuously, the message will sink in to those in need of the product and services.

Because the traffic pattern is repeated on almost a daily bases as people go to and from work, repeated exposure helps to cement the ad in the minds of those that are constantly seeing it.

Getting noticed is simple. Have a message that is short easy to read in location that is highly visible has the best chance of being remembered. A little bit of luck can also help, but good planning and execution of an advertising campaign is the foundation of getting the word out.

The Right Location for your Outdoor Billboards

Getting noticed is the purpose of advertising and with outdoor billboards, this is possible to the widest number of people on a daily basis. The key is to not only be noticed, but remembered which can be accomplished by having your billboard in the right location.

Not all locations are equal

Everyone has seen billboards on the highways, but most do not remember what they are unless they pass by it on a regular basis.

Traffic Jams

The ones that are really remembered are in locations where there are regular or daily traffic jams. This is because the drivers have slowed down or are stopped and bored so they look around while waiting before they can continue on their way. Billboards in these areas get noticed.

Stop Lights

Another place where outdoor billboards are more remembered are near intersections where traffic control lights are located. Because the vehicles are not moving, there is time for the drivers and passengers to gaze out the windows and observe their surroundings. Most traffic lights change every 30 seconds or so. That means instead of those passing by only having 3 to 6 seconds to see your sign, they have up to 30 seconds to see and remember your message.

Bends and Corners

When the road bends is a place where the driver is more aware of the road and the surrounding condition. They are no longer on autopilot as many would put it. There is a change in direction and each driver is at an elevated height of awareness. For many a billboard at or near a bend in the road is a landmark they will remember to be ready for that change.


Many intersections in America where two or more roads meet are a very popular location for outdoor billboards. There does not always have to be a stop light or sign for the advertising to be remembered. These billboards are very often used as landmarks in directions drivers give one another when helping someone get to their destination. This type of recognition occurs in both metropolitan and rural areas.

Wi-Fi locations

Billboards will be seen by both drivers of vehicles and pedestrians just walking around. With most of the population now glued to their smart phones, it only makes sense to target areas where there is a large concentration of mobile users. With an outdoor billboard located nearby a Wi-Fi hot spot, getting noticed is assured. Your billboard once again will be used as a landmark. By having your advertisement near several of them in a metro area, your brand will be recognized as a place to get connected.

The Message

The location of the outdoor billboard is very important, but so it the message you are trying to get the public to remember.  Simple short messages are best so those seeing it can absorb the entire message at a glance. This will get your message remembered by more that glance at it.

The Right Message on 3 Outdoor Billboards

In the movies and real life 3 billboards seem to be the correct number to get a simple message out that people will remember. With the right message or questions to get people talking is what is necessary for this type of campaign to be successful.

The use of outdoor billboards to help increase the public knowledge of your business is one of the most cost effective means available. Depending on the size of the city or metropolitan area, hundreds to thousands will see your billboard each and every day.

The Message

This path of getting your message out to the public is considered mass marketing. To be most effective a broad message to entice more of the population to notice your message is the best path to take.

  • The best message will only be 6 words or less in length.
  • The message must be easy to read.
  • A phrase that will catch the attention of those passing by is best.
  • Large letters should be used.
    • These are the easiest to read.
    • Small letters or words are generally ignored or not noticed.
  • The message should not be distracting.
    • Distracting messages could cause accidents and should be avoided since most of the observers of the billboards are drivers on the road.

Branding a Product with an Outdoor Billboard

  • 6 seconds or less is the time drivers have to view the message.
  • The message should be easy to remember.
  • In many instances a short slogan and an image is best to get remembered.


Many of the popular restaurants and fast food chains do this very successful with just a picture of a hamburger and the company’s branded symbol.  This is simple, short and easy to remember.

The Number of Billboards in a Campaign

The more people that see your billboard, the better the advertising campaign will be. By placing an ad on a billboard of all or many of the major roads in a metropolitan area, more people will be viewing your message every day.

Static vs Moving Components

A static message relies on the words and image alone.

  • Very popular.
  • Lowest cost.
  • Least noticed unless the image and message hit with the public.


Moving components is action that automatically catches the eyes of those passing by.

  • Can be as simple as an arm moving back and forth on a static image.
  • Costs are higher, but are noticed by more.
    • When done correctly are very well remembered.

The Logo

Never forget the company logo and make sure it stands out. It is the logo that is branded with the public.

  • This has to be large enough on the outdoor billboard to be noticed but small enough not to be overpowering.

As in the movies and entertainment industry has recently shown, getting your message out to the public can be accomplished very successfully with outdoor billboards. The secret is to make the message short, sweet and to the point.