One of the ultimate advertising spaces anywhere in the world is Times Square. And while it may be beyond the budget or dreams of many businesses to imagine having their business or image in that famous New York city location, it does raise some great questions regarding the cost and effectiveness of digital billboards.
And what actually makes a successful billboard advertising campaign, Times Square or not in terms of location.
Remember that billboard advertising remains one of the key message-providing ad mediums available and digital displays have meant they can be more impressive and effective than ever.
Not everyone is going to be able to run an ad in a tourist destination like Times Square, but the billboard campaign can be a great way to go.
Let’s look at the facts about the Times Square situation in terms of how and why it is attractive and what we can bring to other digital billboard campaigns, even if they are not in such an iconic location as Times Square.
First, digital billboard facts.
For businesses and professionals like lawyers, dentists, cosmetic surgeons, car dealers, new movies and costmetics and just about anyone else, the power of billboard advertising is big.
For digital billboards, let alone a Times Square billboard, it is even bigger.
What are the billboard costs?
The costs of digital billboards varies greatly, depending upon a range of factors, location being one of them.
According to Upshow.TV the cost range for Times Square advertising is between $1200 and $15000 per month.
But that ain’t going to get you Times Square. If you’re looking for an expensive billboard in a location like Times Square you can be looking at – hold your breath now – up to $3 million a month.
Traditional billboards will not cost a great deal and many law firms, businesses and others can cost as little as $250 per month if they are in rural locations,, while in the high traffic areas they will be up to $10,000 per month.
According to Times Square NYC, the square is seen by over 360,000 people daily and that number can go up by 200,000 on really busy days.
They remain an effective law firm marketing tools for professionals and many other businesses seeking an effective marketing opportunity if used properly.
Such costs at the high end are beyond what most small business owners are prepared to pay and hence the bigger billboards like the Times Square NYC type of promotion will be principally for global brands who can handle the vast cost that comes with an equally vast audience.
The Nasdaq Tower billboard will provide massive visibility at a high cost, as you would expect in an outdoor advertising mecca like the hallowed Times Square, where it is the nation – and perhaps the world’s – capital
Similarly, the American Eagle Times Square billboard will explain how you can “Tap into the marvel of 100,000 visitors each day at the pinnacle of Times Square: 46th Street and Broadway.
This location is surrounded by Broadway’s landmark theaters and Times Square’s largest hotels and most popular retail destinations.” The size dimensions and length of exposure can provide handy exposure if you have the substantial advertising budget to pay.
Hidden Advertising Costs
Remember when doing any digital advertising or outdoor advertising that there are also hidden costs that need to be taken into account.
For instance, among the costs are the important costs relating to production, design and associated costs that could be substantial, depending upon whether you have an in-house design team or need to hire advertising agencies or others to prepare your imagery and copy.
Digital billboards provide for some original and highly engaging billboard designs, particularly for the giant billboard displays that we seek in Times Square and the like.
But even for smaller billboards in other areas, whether its an urban location, subway stations, a football field, the Super bowl, mobile billboards or anywhere else, the need to carefully figure out what you’re doing is key.
The Billboard Ad Secrets
If you’re looking at any billboard campaign, (Times Square or not) then consider the factors that will make or break your campaign.
Using billboards to connect with potential customers or clients is a great way to go and they can be cost efficient too given the number of new customers they can generate.
They need to connect effectively and quickly. That means some simplicity and clarity so the message can be read and understood easily.
Consider the following steps towards generating a successful billboard advertising campaign.
First, make sure you establish your goals with the campaign.
That means knowing your target audience and knowing how to assess the results of the campaign.
When you know who you’re after, you can choose ad inventory that goes straight to where they are, from digital bulletins on highways to hit commuters and travelers to street furniture in urban neighborhoods to reach those working and staying close to home.
Second, ensure you know who you are targeting.
Once you have established who you are targeting with your billboard ads you can assess what will be the most effective ways to reach the audience. Will you be using digital billboards, static billboards, placing them in rural locations, urban areas or highways with the commuters.
Will it go in bus shelters, local neighborhoods and so forth. Work out where your audience will be and align that consideration with your advertising budget.
Third, make sure you have the right design and copy.
When you’re planning your new billboard make sure you align the messaging with what you have in any other advertising. Then you need to ensure that your copy and imagery is clear and hits the spot in the right way. Make colors bold and copy short.
Don’t over-complicate your message or confuse your ‘out of home’ audience. Remember you are not one of the Time Square tourist attractions sort of advertising, nor are you home advertising.
The billboard must stand on its own as a short, effective ‘hit’ for your potential customers or clients.
Four, provide a call to action.
If possible you should provide what good online and newspaper-style advertising would do and provide an effective call to action.
Apart from your short, direct message you can tell your prospects to follow up by using a short hashtag, URL or some direction to your business that can be followed up easily. It doesn’t have to be the largest billboard to achieve this, just carefully assess your copy and image.
Five, track and measure the effectiveness of your billboard campaign.
You need to make sure you monitor the effectiveness of your campaign by asking new customers or clients whether they have seen your advertising ,which may also drive traffic to your business or firm website.
You may not be in NY Times Square where impressions are massive with one report indicating that there are around 200,000 daily impressions if the NYT square visitors see the ads at least once and with a two week duration seeing that increasing to 2.8 million impressions.
You may do this online also with the query about how the customer/client found you.
The NY Times Square Digital Billboard Message
If you want to garner the real Times Square benefit without the major brands cost that comes with it, focus on the points above and use your billboard to provide a memorable experience or message.
The ability to use digital technology and use programming that will produce a great out-of-home digital advertising campaign is easier now than ever. It can drive new business to you, generate top brand awareness and also provide some of the best value advertising that you can find anywhere.
New York’s Times Square may be the capital of digital billboards and provide incredible visibility opportunities for a successful ad campaign, but the ‘lessons’ from Times Square can be applied to your own billboard advertising campaign, regardless of your billboard’s location and whether they are digital or not.