2007 Digital Outdoor Advertising Forecast Predicts Strides in Optimizing Billboard Revenues

Watchfire Digital Outdoor, manufacturer of the most durable and dependable digital billboards available, announced its digital billboard advertising forecast for 2007, predicting shifts in outdoor advertising that will increase revenue for outdoor advertising companies and their clients.

"Outdoor advertising has become a frontline contender for advertising investment dollars, due in large part to the emergence of digital technology," said Darrin Friskney, director of Watchfire Digital Outdoor.  "While many traditional mass market media have recently struggled, digital outdoor is helping the outdoor advertising industry thrive."

The top trends for 2007 are:

  1. New focus: one board for many advertisers. Aside from raising rates, an outdoor advertising (OA) company's best strategy for growing revenue had been to erect additional billboards.  The more billboards, the higher the revenue.  However, strict cap and replace ordinances often limit the number of billboards a company can own.  This will lead outdoor advertising companies to look to technology-in the form of digital billboards-to grow revenue through more efficient boards.  Digital billboards allow several advertisers to share the same billboard, multiplying revenue from an individual board by as much as six to eight times.
  2. Selling strategies become more sophisticated. OA companies will get more out of their digital billboards by finessing their selling strategy. Strategies such as exclusive category sponsorships, unlimited copy changes and automated database-driven updates are important selling points and potential premium offerings that will help advertisers maximize returns on their outdoor advertising investment.
  3. Digital billboard networks will rival other advertising media. Networks of digital boards will rival TV and radio advertising in everything from market coverage to ease of updating timely messages.  With traditional static billboards, advertisers with time-sensitive offers would not consider outdoor advertising as an option.  However, digital billboards will change that.
  4. Ad testing will improve creative.  With the ability to change the content and creative of digital billboards almost instantly, advertisers will test creative techniques and tweak their billboards for maximum ROI.
  5. Advertisers will demand digital. As the benefits of digital billboards become better known, outdoor advertisers will demand that their OA company offer a digital alternative to static boards. Demand for outdoor will continue to grow as it is one of the few remaining true mass-reach advertising vehicles with no way to block or pre-empt the message. OA companies need to be ready for the demands.
  6. Revenue models will solidify. OA companies will become comfortable with new revenue models, such as board sharing, day-parting, exclusive sponsorships, short-run premiums and others.
  7. State and local governments will see the light. As digital billboards prove that outdoor advertising can look good and offer a community service by running Amber Alerts and other public notices, state and local governments will continue to review and write ordinances to permit digital billboards.
  8. Digital outdoor advertising will expand beyond the "big boys." The largest outdoor advertising companies have dominated digital outdoor advertising.  In 2007, the rest of the OA companies will come on board in a big way.
  9. Programming will begin to move in-house. As advertisers become comfortable with digital billboard software, they will begin to schedule and program their own boards.  Ads can be formatted as static JPGs, sent to signs via a DSL connection and scheduled using user-friendly software.
  10. Mobile outdoor will adopt digital. Mobile billboard trucks, noticing the success of digital billboards, will trial and adopt digital boards.  All the same advantages that apply to traditional outdoor apply to mobile.

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