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Why Billboards Are Playing a Big Part in Digital Marketing

It recently came to my attention that from Sunset Boulevard in L.A. to London here in the UK; the traditional billboard is experiencing a resurgence in popularity with advertisers, marketers, and consumers. The billboard might be the descendant of one the oldest forms of human advertising, but the format is embracing its new role in a digital age.

Outdoor advertising is proving to be the perfect partner for social, and a company called Dash Two have carved out a niche as experts in both the physical and digital realms of advertising. As social media platforms tweak their algorithms and users arm their pop up blockers, many brands are finding that nobody is seeing their ads.

When I asked Dash Two founder and CEO, Gino Sesto why we are seeing this advertising evolving in this way, he advised “Outdoor advertising is a big thing because it’s tangible. Digital is intangible. With a social media post, you might see it or you might not. It comes and goes."

The arrival of social media and its culture of artfully curated vanity has created a wealth of opportunities for billboards as brands search for new ways to bring outdoor advertising and digital together. Sure, many of us are permanently face down looking at the screens of our smartphones, to think about looking up at a soulless billboard that contains a stock photo image and slogan. But, this is why marketers need to get more creative.

A great example was the build-up to Lady Gaga's performance at the Coachella Festival. The team at Dash Two found a local liquor store that was close to the event. They approached the owner and asked if they could put a big mural on their store with the promise that they would put the store on the map and drive Lady Gaga fans directly to their store.

When Coachella, started Lady Gaga posted on her Instagram and Twitter directing her fans to visit the liquor store and take a picture in front of the mural to get a free t-shirt. Gaga didn't have to ask people to share it socially, her fans rushed to the area to capture the perfect Instagram moment and bragging rights that they were there.

Hundreds of people lined up to grab their picture and the images were shared thousands of times online. As for the store owner, he kept the mural up for a year after the festival as it continued to organically grow and put their store on the map.

Outdoor advertising is completely tangible, you can see it, touch it, take photos of it and share it online. An increasing number of artists and brands are turning their back on traditional ads and creating a destination and an experience. There is no one size fits all approach, but against the odds, physical ads coupled with digital media are proving to be the perfect partnership.

There are many other examples, where even online companies such as Netflix are combining the best of both worlds to deliver their message. In a digital mobile-first world, it seems that one of the oldest forms of media can teach the new kid on the block a thing or two about capturing the attention of consumers both offline and online.

Do you have any examples of how digital and physical marketing can compliment each other and create shareable Instagrammable experiences or moments?