Five ways to make the most of billboard advertising this Christmas

When thousands of customers take to the streets of Britain to complete their Christmas shopping, the effectiveness of your billboard advertising will be particularly important.

Christmas is now less than three months away, with Britons set to spend more than ever before in the build-up to the festive period. Last year, the average UK household spent £499 on presents, which was almost double the amount invested by our European counterparts.

The average Briton also buys 14 presents in the run-up to Christmas, and these impressive figures highlight an exciting marketing opportunity for brands nationwide.

How to optimise your billboard advertising efforts in time for the festive period

With consumer confidences also having improved markedly during August, it is clear that brands can enjoy a lucrative festive period this year. To achieve this, it is crucial that you are able to develop a viable business plan and marketing strategy, as you look to optimise the ROI on your advertising spend.

The effectiveness of your billboard advertising will be particularly important, as thousands of customers take to the streets of Britain to complete their Christmas shopping. With this in mind, here are five considerations when looking to get the most from your billboard advertising this year.

1. Understand and refine your advertising goals

This may sound like an obvious consideration, but it is amazing how many brands conduct festive marketing campaigns without a set of clearly defined goals. This confusion can lead to mixed messaging that fails to convey a value proposition to customers, compelling them to spend their money elsewhere as a result.

So before you attempt anything else, you must reach an agreement on your goal and determine precisely what you are hoping to achieve from your billboard campaign. Are you looking to increase the sales of a specific product, for example, or do you want to raise awareness concerning a specific range or the brand as a whole?

These variable goals will alter the nature of your campaign and its core content, so it is worth considering these and prioritising them at the outset.

One of the best ways to determine your goals is to indulge in mind mapping, which involves creating a visual representation of your thought processes.

This is an effective way to understand goals and convey them to others, so it is an important part of the modern brainstorming process.

2. Choose the right location


Arguably, this is the most important element of your billboard campaign. After all, what is the point in carefully defining your goals and messaging if your customers never get to see the advert in the first place?

So regardless of your primary marketing goals, it is crucial that your billboard is strategically located and exposed to significant levels of footfall. Before you rush out and book out the first available city centre location, it is important to give some consideration to your target customers and their unique behaviour.

This can help you to determine areas in which specific consumer segments are likely to congregate, which in turn will enable you to identify new and potential unconventional locations that will deliver an outstanding ROI.

In general terms, you will need to commit the majority of your billboard spend to securing busy locations in central areas and shopping malls. This way, you can target high-traffic areas and ensure that your message reaches as large an audience as possible.

3. Be creative and tap into the emotion of the season

Unless you like to hibernate during the festive period, you will be aware of the now iconic John Lewis Christmas advert.

A seminal event in modern advertising, these festive adverts are renowned for their emotional impact and messaging, while they have also created a template that other brands have tried to emulate.

While television may have a natural advantage when sharing emotive narratives, billboard advertising can still be used to tug at the consumers’ heart strings. This is particularly true during sentimental holiday’s such as Christmas, where there remains an innate emphasis on spending time with family and loved ones.

By utilising the billboard medium to its fullest and leveraging your creativity to tap into the emotion of the season, you can compel customers to buy into your message and products.
The use of a recognisable festive theme is crucial, while genuinely emotive images and text can be used to target customers directly.

Depending on your budget, you may even want to create a series of related billboard adverts, as this enables you to create an ongoing narrative that engages customers on a deeper and more meaningful level.

4. Do not underestimate the value of text

When looking to create impactful billboard advertisements, the majority of brands will focus the use of striking imagery and colours. While there is no doubt that this is integral if you are to successfully capture the attention of customers, your use of imagery must be reinforced with compatible and readable text that places the visual theme in a desired context.
After all, billboards cannot use animation or dialogue to embellish their message.

To compensate for this, they must ensure that their imagery and text work in harmony, with all written content designed to be concise and easy for the customer to understand. In technical terms, this requires the use of a standardised scale to determine the height of lettering on your billboard, with various sizes attributed to primary, secondary and tertiary messaging.

By emphasising the importance of text, you can also clarify your core message and embellish this successfully. Whether this is a playful tagline for a humorous billboard or an impactful statement to support an emotive visual, the crucial thing is that you tie your theme together using the sway of the written word.

5. Don’t forget the call to action

We are delving into marketing 101 here, but it is important that your brand remembers the fundamental aspects of communication when creating a billboard advertisement. After all, the development of a creative theme can be consuming, which in turn can cause you to overlook the basic requirements of messaging.

The key to the success of your billboard, and any marketing communication, lies in its ultimate call to action. While this does not mean littering your advert with promotional soundbites, it is important to guide customers towards a desired and relevant action.

To achieve this, it is imperative that you have contact details or simple directions included in the material, so that consumers can easily follow-up their interest as part of an enjoyable and seamless journey.

To understand this further, think of your billboard as the entry point into a relationship with your customers. This will help to reinforce the importance of a viable call to action, as you look to communicate with audience and convert them into active buyers.

The last word

Christmas is coming, and this means that customers will soon be hitting the high street to purchase gifts for the festive period. Now is therefore the ideal time to finalise your billboard advertising strategy, as you look to capture customers while they are on the move and engage them with your brand or a specific product range.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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