Digital Versus Static Billboards Pros and Cons [Infographic]

Digital Versus Billboards Static Pros and Cons [Infographic]

Static Billboards

Static billboards are your tried-and-true method of OOH advertising. They have been around since the mid-nineteenth century. Some even argue that they have been around longer, dating back to caveman drawings. However, I doubt cavemen were advertising holiday sales 😊.

Static billboards have 24/7 exposure and are typically made displayed using vinyl. They have multiple displays in one structure. The primary benefits of static billboards are mass communication, 24/7 exposure, geo-located ads, and relatively low CPM for long-term advertising.

Static Billboard Pros

1. More Affordable Than Digital Billboards

The most notable pro of static billboards is long-term affordability. If an advertiser plans on advertising for an extended run length, then static billboards are usually much more affordable, including upfront costs.

2. 24/7 Exposure

Static billboards display the same ad copy, unlike digital billboards that rotate displays. therefore, at any point a consumer passes by a static billboard, they always will see the static copy displayed. The non-stop increases the impressions of one static billboard compared to a comparable digital billboard.

3. 3D Dimensions

Vinyl billboards allow for expansion beyond a two-dimension plane. A prop or physical display can be placed in front or extended beyond the typical dimensions as a feature of the ad copy. A great example of taking advantage 3D effects is the Chick-Fil-A cows in front of a billboard, creating an effect as if the cows are painting the billboard itself. While new LED screens can have 3D elements, they cannot leave their set physical dimensions.

Static Billboards Cons

1.       Upfront Costs

Billboard companies charge advertisers an upfront fee to put up printed vinyl. The fee covers the cost of printing and a team to install the ad copy manually. The cost to install ad copy deters frequent copy updates and short-term advertising. 

2.       Ad Fatigue

The long-term nature of static billboard advertising can cause ad copy to go stale if a customer sees the same billboard copy on the commute to work 200 times. It is natural for a consumer to become bored with the same design over an extended period.

3.       Billboard Vinyl Can Deteriorate

If vinyl or paper is left up too long, it can begin to fade and deteriorate. Replacing faded ad copy also requires an additional fee.

Digital Billboards

Digital billboards are the new kid on the block. They have only been around since 2005, only 17 years! They have many of the same benefits and features as static billboards. However, they have a few downsides. The primary downside is that they have alternating display times of 6-8 second cycles with other advertisers. This suppresses the number of impressions any given digital billboard can have. The most notable benefits of digital billboards are their improved attention-grabbing nature, ease of production, and creativity options.

Digital Billboard Pros

1. Can Easily Change Ad Copy

Digital billboards can be operated remotely. It does not require a crew to put up the printed vinyl manually. Digital ad copy can be put up, taken down, or changed at a moment’s notice. Many creative and seasonal opportunities open up because of this feature. 

2. Digital Billboards Draw More Attention

The LED lights and changing displays on digital billboards draw more attention than vinyl billboards. Interesting, there is even a conversation that digital billboards are too distracting (or are too effective) for drivers on freeways.

3. Usually, No Production Fee

Since digital billboards can be operated remotely and do not require a team to attach the vinyl, upfront production fees are usually nonexistent. Therefore, digital billboards have low upfront costs.

4. Better for Short-Term Advertising

No upfront costs, seasonal ad copy, and quick turnaround time makes digital advertising for shorter ad campaigns. The primary consideration for short-term advertising is not production costs but if inventory is available. In busier seasons, such as the holiday season, digital inventory will be limited.

Digital Billboard Cons

1. Long-Term Costs Are More Expensive Than Static

While upfront costs are cheaper than static, long-run ad rates are sometimes significantly higher. Digital billboards have a premium price because they grab consumers’ attention better than static billboards typically.

2. Displays Rotate In 6-8 Second Time Slots

Unlike static billboards that can have one advertiser for years, digital billboards rotate between several different advertisers. Typically, every 8 seconds, the billboard display will change to a new ad. The transition can grab consumers’ attention but also miss other consumers when an ad isn’t showing. Also, sharing a digital billboard display with several advertisers lowers the overall cost of advertising.