Digital Billboard

46: A Good Sign [for Auctioneers]

For 12 years, my driveway started on US-50 northwest of Ocean City, MD. From my bedroom, I could see three or four billboards trying to get beach traffic to spend some money locally. For good reason: a quarter of a million cars tripped the toll booth ticker each summer weekend—none of them from where the highway started in West Sacramento, CA.

According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), our country holds 450,000 billboards. If you were to relocate them all to US-50, that’d be one every 36 feet—for 3,073 miles. That’s a lot of advertising space!

Traditionally, billboards have been a poor fit for auctioneers, who don’t have time in their condensed marketing periods for the production schedule. Plus, most traditional billboard contracts require months or a full year of commitment and/or have periodic leases—where you have to wait until another’s lease expires.

But new LCD billboards, though currently less than 1% of available billboard space,† are changing the rules and rapidly growing in number.†† Digital billboards can now convert high traffic areas into prime auction advertising environments.

Digital billboards don’t require the printing cost or installation time of their paper or vinyl counterparts. Images are streamed via Internet or similar technology. Those images can rotate throughout the day or throughout the marketing period. (I helped an auctioneer with one digital billboard that had four different signs rotate for the same auction.)

Poll Results

Digital billboards can also be embedded with variable data, like weather indicators or forecast reports, sports scores or news headlines, date or countdown clocks—or even, as this picture from the OAAA shows from Tuesday night: election updates. So, you could have data that changes within a particular design like, “23 Days Until Auction” or “2 Open Houses Remaining.” Or you could have different auctions (or different items within the same auction) advertised on the same day. You can even have different messages in the morning than at night.

Digital billboards are more accessible to small business, because you share the sign with other advertisers, whose ads rotate with yours (typically, every 6-10 seconds††). While this means less face time per advertiser, it means more affordable packages. This system also allows the sign company to insert your ad(s) for short periods of time—perfect for event promotion like auctions.

Like auctions, digital billboards bring more action to a traditional transaction, in this case between advertiser and viewer. As more and more of these signs enter the marketplace, more auctioneers will have a chance to add value and diversity to their marketing budgets. Will you be one of them?

Watchfire, a national presence in outdoor LED signage, has this great report on 10 things to know before jumping into digital billboard advertising.

This OAA case study on a Midwest real estate company that switched from newsprint to variable billboards might interest you, too.

If your office has a prime location, you can install a smaller LED sign that exclusively advertises your content. I found this Watchfire report to contain insightful tips when considering that.

Special thanks to Ken Klein, Executive VP for the OAAA, for help with and content for this article.

Taking It Personally

Many people think they’ve got to get their junk straight before they can commit to Christ. Whether it’s kicking a tobacco habit or dropping out of the bar scene, getting back together with their estranged spouse or putting together a streak of church attendance—there are lots of self-made reasons I’ve heard people create as stepping stones to surrender to Jesus. It’s almost like it’s a time-release deal or a college course with prerequisites. “Yeah, when I settle down and clean up my act, then I’ll take another look at the church deal.”

Most people don’t know this, but Jesus doesn’t want us to clean up our acts. He wants to do that, so that he gets the glory for it. His love cannot be expressed as unconditional, if we can earn it. Like the Statue of Liberty, he asks us to “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Like an LCD billboard, his work shines brightest against the backdrop of our dark lostness.

We can instantly access the Holy Spirit, the breath and presence of a living God, through instant, authentic release of our will to his holy Gospel—his sovereign Way, his saving mercy, his renewing grace. We don’t have to wait to clean ourselves with filthy rags, scouring with penance until we reach our personal limitations. We can don glowing, glimmering robes of his righteousness the moment repentance is true in our hearts.

“What is Digital Outdoor?”
†† “Advertising Trends: Digital Billboards,” www.The[/footer]


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