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Top 10 Rules for Billboard Advertising

by Leo Rondeau - August 08, 2018

According to an Arbitron National In-Car Study, 71% of Americans consciously look at billboard messages while driving, making billboard advertising an effective and reliable marketing choice. The problem is, not all billboards are created equal. Billboard advertising has a completely different set of rules when compared with other mediums. Billboard advertising has to tell a story about your company using thought-provoking images and very few words to accompany the pictures. To be effective, billboards need to create an instant impact with your customer base. Below are 10 basic rules to keep in mind when creating your billboard advertising creative.

1. Target Your Audience

As part of the design process, get into the head of your customer base. Think about what kinds of ads will reach them. Putting a face on your audience will help you make vital decisions about the design and placement of your ads.

2. Curb Boredom

Entertain your billboard audience. Let your billboard spark their imagination and encourage them to seek out more information about your business.

3. Think Bigger

Sometimes the hardest facet of creating a billboard ad is thinking about the scale of the images and text. You have to keep in mind that views of the billboard will often be at a distance of 500 feet or more. The text will have to be at least a foot tall and spacing between words and lines must be increased.

4. Write a Sentence, Not a Book

Motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians glance at billboards quickly and don’t have the time to read a long, drawn-out message about your business. A rule of thumb is to keep text at seven words or less. If you can’t get your company’s message across with a short phrase, billboard ads may not be right for you.

5. Remember Readability

Although you may love fancy fonts, they are not a good choice for outdoor advertising. Use simple, large fonts that are legible from great distances.

6. Design Responsibly

There’s a fine line between getting your billboard noticed and providing a huge distraction to drivers. Depending on your business you might want to keep your image choices G-rated and your text clean.

7. Keep Your Images Relevant

Kittens and puppies are undoubtedly adorable, but unless you’re a pet supply company, they have no business on your billboard. Choose one of your products to display on your billboards or an iconic image that viewers can associate with your brand.

8. Choose High-Resolution Images

Grainy and blurry photos will look unappealing displayed on a large canvas like billboards. As a guideline, billboard images should have a resolution minimum of 300 pixels per inch.

9. Don’t Forget Your Contact Info

Branding is a must on your billboard. Remember to incorporate your business phone number and website in the space.

10. Colors and Contrast

Billboard ads aren’t the time to go boring with your color choices. Choose bold colors since they’ll be more noticeable from large distances. Contrasting colors will improve readability. Ideal choices include black, white, red, yellow and blue.

These simple tips will help you elevate your billboard advertising campaigns. These techniques can also be applied to digital billboards since your end goal will be the same: get your business noticed.


Colling Media is a Phoenix, AZ-based advertising agency specializing in billboard advertising and placing outdoor advertising.


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