In South Africa Out-of-home, or outdoor advertising plays a significant role within the marketing and communications industry. In a recent wave many media owners have decided to convert billboard structures to digital. The Outdoor advertising industry has not limited the digital transformation to billboards, Street Furniture, Street Pole Advertising, Washroom Decals, Interior Taxi Branding and many other platforms have followed suit.

According to the OAAA  billboard advertising has always taken majority of the spend in the out-of-home industry and this would justify the need to keep innovating the platform as time goes on.

There are a few concerns within South Africa regarding digital billboards (this may not be limited to South Africa) although many marketers feel that the pros do outweigh the cons.

Exposure

Traditional billboards will always offer significantly higher exposure than digital billboards and this is due to the fact that brands “share” digital sites. When buying a slot on a digital structure it is imperative that the client understand there will probably be between 10-20 other brands being aired at the same time.

When breaking down the exposure time of vehicle and pedestrian traffic it is hard to guarantee that all consumers will be exposed to your digital ad because of the loop system. When booking a traditional static billboard your brand does not have to compete with other brands and ensures that any traffic passing the site will be noticed accordingly.

Production

Majority of media owners do not charge a fee for production as it is a simples process to load the creative on their system. Traditional billboards require a significant charge to print and flight billboards.

Pricing

As a general statement – All smaller (3m X 6m etc.) sites are cheaper when they are converted to digital. Larger sites are justifiably more expensive because clients are expected to pay the premium of having their brand on a digital highway billboard that cannot be missed.

There is more room for a marketer to bargain a further discount on media rental because as opposed to a traditional billboard, media owners are now able to secure cheaper bookings to fill slots. When bargaining on traditional media it is a given that media owners will take a booking of a higher paying client as there can only be one advertiser.

Added Value

Media owners are more inclined to offer added value on your digital outdoor advertising campaign because they will not loose (depending on various factors) any media rental by keeping a creative up an extra week or two. With a static billboard it is not possible to offer added value when the billboard has been booked by a fully paying client.

Creativity

Static billboards have the stigma of limiting creativity. This is due to the fact that brands are unable to utilizes the digital movement flair that would generally bring an advertisement to life. There is no question that having a creative that can tell a story would captivate consumers at a higher rate than having a traditional image. This does require creative thinking when executing digital billboard artwork to ensure that platform is used correctly.