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Billboards vs. Digital Marketing: Which Is Better for Your Bottom Line?

Ever wonder how effective your billboard advertising is at bringing in new business? In this article, we'll discuss the ROI of billboard advertising and how it compares to digital marketing.

So, how do billboard advertising and digital marketing compare when it comes to cost?

Let's get right into it.

Prices are monthly:

Average Cost of Billboard Advertising in Gauteng, South Africa

  • Digital Billboards - R12,500-R180,000

  • Large Billboards - R11,500-R150,000

  • Medium Billboards - R1700-R13,000

  • Small Billboards - R1300-R1800

So, at the very least, you’re spending R1300/month on a small billboard, which is apparently used to target one local community. Those big billboards in town or on the side of the highway will set you back at least R11,500 (and as much as R150,000!) while digital billboards go as high as R180,000.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lot of money to me — especially considering what you could get for the same amount of money if you spent it on digital marketing.

Let’s break that down.

Here's what you could get with R1300 in digital marketing services:

  • A marketing strategist who personalizes your strategy to your business’s goals and constantly measures and optimizes your online presence

  • Online directory and presence management, meaning your listings on Google, Bing, etc. will be updated with accurate information so that you show up better when local customers are looking for your products or services

  • A transparent look at your marketing analytics from our Reveal dashboard (ignore this if you don’t get excited by graphs and charts like we do)A customized, mobile-friendly microsite

  • Help managing your leads from your microsite

For R11,500 or R150,000, you could add on review marketing, paid advertising and social media to build a full-scale digital marketing strategy that is not only personalized to you but targets a much larger population, rendering those billboards (at best) less effective than your digital marketing plan.

How to Track the ROI of Billboards

While some drivers claim to have called or visited a business they saw on a billboard, actually tracking this number could be tough.

Some billboard advertising companies will give you a breakdown of the number of people who drive by your billboard each day week or month, but there’s no way to know if those people are looking at your billboard or Snapchatting and driving.

But, if you have a billboard out there, the best way to track the number of people who choose your business based on your outdoor advertising efforts is to ask each customer or client how they found your business.

After a couple of months, add up the sales you've received from customers who found you through a billboard. On average, does this pay for your billboard advertising?

Be sure to ask those same customers if they did any follow-up research once they saw your billboard. Did they search for your business on Google? Look for you on Facebook?

How to Track the ROI of Digital Marketing

Depending on what you want to track, you’ll need to look at these insights:

  • Google Analytics

  • Google My Business Analytics

  • Facebook Insights

This really varies depending on where you’re focusing your digital marketing efforts and what you have time for. If you’re a RevLocal client and you want to talk about tracking your digital marketing success, your best bet is to get a hold of your marketing strategist or go into Reveal to see how you’re doing.

Final Thoughts

Even billboard advertising experts tend to say billboards are better for large businesses with big budgets that want to build brand awareness.

But, in the end, whether you advertise on a billboard will depend on your business's budget. And, you'll still need a digital marketing strategy so that when those customers who find you on a billboard want to research your business online, they find accurate, consistent information about you.


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