Nielsen study highlights efficacy of digital billboards

According to a new study conducted by Nielsen, digital billboards generate high recall for ads and positive consumer attitudes, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America said in an announcement. Three out of four (75 percent) respondents recalled seeing a digital billboard in the past month, and 60 percent noticed one in the past week, according to Nielsen's survey of those who traveled roadways with digital billboards.

More than half (55 percent) of travelers who noticed a digital billboard in the past month were highly engaged, recalling the message on the screen every time or most of the time they passed by a digital billboard. More than eight out of 10 (82 percent) recalled advertisements in the last month, 35 percent noticed AMBER Alerts or missing children alerts, 24 percent recalled community information, and 18 percent noticed weather alerts.

"This detailed study highlights the effectiveness of digital billboards for businesses to communicate with consumers and for communities to reach the public," OAAA President and CEO Nancy Fletcher said in the announcement. "Consumers are paying attention to the information presented to them and acting on it, whether they are drawn to a location featured on an ad, discussing the ad with friends and family, or attending an advertised event."

The study showed brand recall is high among travelers who notice digital billboards. Nielsen tested six different campaigns in five major U.S. markets and found that travelers recalled seeing at least one specific digital billboard ad from 74 to 89 percent of time. Top performing brand categories included entertainment, gaming, quick-service restaurants, recreation and televised sporting events.

The study also gauged consumer attitude toward digital billboards, finding the majority of respondents appreciated the advertising platform. Seventy-two percent think digital billboards "are a cool way to advertise," 65 percent think the medium is a "good way to learn about new businesses in the area," and 61 percent agree digital billboards are "a good way to learn about sales and events."

The majority of respondents feel ads stand out more or just as much on digital billboards compared to other ad media. Seventy-one percent said "ads on digital billboards stand out more than ads online," and 46 percent feel the same related to TV ads.

Travelers also are impressed with digital billboards' immediacy and ability to communicate timely, relevant information, the OAAA said, with 70 percent agreeing the medium provides current and important information.

"Digital out-of-home is part of advertising's future, and digital billboards offer brands a quick and flexible solution to target today's mobile consumer," OAAA CMO Stephen Freitas said. "Communities are impressed by the medium's ability to drive awareness and business." 

Commissioned by OAAA, the report analyzed 1,256 online surveys with U.S. residents age 18 or older who lived in and around five major cities – Atlanta, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Tampa.

Respondents were screened for having traveled on specified roads containing digital billboards within the past 30 days. Ad recall was tested for 30 OOH advertising campaigns running on select digital billboards in these markets (six brands per market). Nationwide, there are 6,100 digital billboards, according to OAAA.

For more information and to request a copy of the Digital Billboard Study 2015, please contact Nicole Hayes at or (202) 833-5566.

Topics: Advertising, Digital Billboards, DOOH Advertising, Trends / Statistics

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