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  • Writer's pictureStephen Morgan

What makes a great billboard ad?

Updated: Jan 4




Creating a great billboard (or out-of-home) advertisement involves a combination of factors to effectively capture attention, convey a message, and leave a lasting impression. Here are some key elements we utilize that contribute to a successful billboard advertisement:


  • Simplicity: Keep the message simple and concise. Billboards are often viewed quickly, so a clear and straightforward message is essential. Avoid clutter and focus on a single, compelling idea.


  • Visibility and Readability: Use large, bold fonts with high contrast colours to ensure that the text is easily readable from a distance. Consider the viewing angles and make sure the text is legible for drivers and pedestrians.


  • Impactful Imagery: Choose eye-catching visuals that quickly communicate the essence of your message. High-quality, relevant images or graphics can help grab attention and create a memorable impression. If using a digital medium, consider simple animations. If using print, find out if you can extend your image beyond the confines of the standard billboard frame… think out of the box, so to speak


  • Branding: Ensure that your brand is prominently featured on the billboard. Consistent use of brand colours, logos, and taglines helps reinforce brand identity.


  • Call to Action (CTA): Include a clear, compelling and simple call to action that prompts the audience to take the desired next step if you want to sell rather than just brand. Whether it's visiting a website, making a purchase, or attending an event, make the action specific and achievable. Also, consider skipping the QR code as it’s too far away to scan and wastes valuable real estate.


  • Location Considerations: Design the billboard with its placement in mind. Consider the environment, traffic patterns, and the average time viewers will have to see the message. If possible, tailor your content to the specific demographics of the area.


  • Humour or Creativity: If appropriate for your brand and message, consider adding a touch of humour or creativity to make the billboard more memorable. However, ensure that it aligns with your brand identity and target audience.


  • Readable in Seconds: People typically have only a few seconds to absorb the information on a billboard. Ensure that your message is communicated quickly and effectively. Consider a 7-word headline maximum. Keep it short and very sweet.


  • Contrast and Colour Psychology: Use contrasting colours to make your text and images stand out. Consider the psychological impact of colours on emotions and perceptions to reinforce the intended message.


  • Legible Contact Information: If your goal is to drive people to contact you, ensure that any contact information provided (phone number, website, social media handles) is clear and easy to remember.


  • Seasonal and Timely Relevance: If applicable, incorporate elements that make your billboard relevant to the current season or a timely event. This can enhance engagement and make your message more relatable.


Regularly evaluate the performance of your billboard advertisements and be willing to make adjustments based on feedback and data analysis with each flight. A successful billboard campaign often involves a combination of these elements, tailored to the specific goals of your advertising campaign and the preferences of your target audience.


If you are considering a billboard campaign or other form of out-of-home (OTH) media for your brand or service, give us a call… we’d love to help.


NOTE: Credit where credit is due, the image we used is part of a fun OOH campaign created by the agency Partners + Napier for The Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. We love it!

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