Tag : digital-billboard

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168: 2 Adaptive Advertising Technologies Auctioneers Can Afford

In my lifetime, the change in advertising technology has been incredible.

• Desktop publishing allowed auction companies to design their own advertising, and it pushed newspaper deadlines back a day or two.

• Digital printing shortened direct mail production by literally a week.

• The Internet afforded auction marketers the ability to update advertising information on their website with far less lead time than was needed for signs, newsprint, and direct mail.

• Email added the ability to quickly alert subscribers of news or changes.

• LED billboards made outdoor advertising faster to implement and less expensive to use.

• Social media offered the most targeted advertising in the history of the planet.

And now, advertising can literally change itself to adapt to its viewer. Two of these adaptive technologies are very approachable, and my auctioneer clients are regularly using both.

Facebook Ads (Not Boosted Posts)

One of the options for Facebook sponsored content is an ad that shows a single image to the viewer. The advertiser can actually load up to six different images into that photo’s spot. Facebook displays all of the photo iterations of the ad pretty much evenly to viewers the first day and measures which ones got the most interactions. The next day, it adapts how the images show to the public and weights how it serves them accordingly. On day three, it adapts again after considering how the public interacted with the previous days’ mix of images. This process continues until the end of your campaign.

Adaptive Facebook samplesWith some extra elbow grease, Facebook will also do this with other content in an ad set—switching out types of ads (video, slide show, single image, etc.) for the type that’s best performing.

Best of all, this adaptive capability comes with no additional Facebook charge. It’s in Facebook’s best interest for ads to appeal to its users, and they want advertising to be as effective as possible—to keep getting advertising revenue from advertisers.

By the way, I’ve regularly been surprised by which image got the most traction. On campaigns where I’ve targeted different ads to different target audiences, it’s interesting to see how each audience gravitates to different images or content.

Variable Data Printing

I’ve blogged about this technology before, but few of my clients leverage this tool. Rather than using plates on a traditional printing press to imprint a static design for an entire print run, each piece is imprinted digitally and customized according to the address printed on the piece. There can be as few as two versions of the piece; or maybe there can be a multitude of variations, depending on the database setup.

The basic premise is that different people on your mailing list get different versions of the postcard or brochure—versions tied to their interests. So, if you have a multi-property auction, the property closest to them might be featured on the mail panel. If you’re selling real estate and personal property, people on your real estate list will get a different version than people on your personal property list. If you have an ag equipment list and a construction equipment list, the catalog mailed to both lists can have the same guts but a different cover and mailing panel.

Setup for this technology runs anywhere from $35 to $50 at the print shop and a little extra on the design end. Depending on the size of your mailing, the cost difference can be inconsequential. The value it adds, though—with people getting mail their more likely to read—is very much noticeable.

With each new technological capability, auctioneers have needed to fit more tools into their marketing tool boxes, but they’ve also gained more and better ways to find motivated buyers and sellers. Is your advertising updating itself after you cut it loose? Is it adapting to buyer interests? If not, how much of a head start are you willing to give your competition while their marketing is?

Stock image purchased from iStockPhoto.com

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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?” www.WatchFireDigitalOutdoor.com
†† “Advertising Trends: Digital Billboards,” www.The MarketingSpotBlog.com[/footer]