Converting Non-Believers: 5 Points to Support Out of Home Advertising

by Joshua Lawton, 1/25/18

“Advertising on billboards is a waste of money.”

You’ve probably heard this before if you’ve worked with an advertising agency or after someone asked you “What do you mean that you work in the Out of Home market?” The misconception that billboards are a waste of money is a dogmatic ideology based on counterfactual anecdotal information. (If you don’t know why this information is counterfactual, head on over to this article that I previously wrote: “You Won’t Believe Which Advertisements Drive the Most Online Activity”.)

Beyond just understanding the data, what OOH owners and believers need is the ability to connect and explain their medium’s value to marketers, advertisers, and most importantly small business owners who are all dogmatic believers in the strength of online marketing. The OOH market needs to be able to break through the general malaise with which the OOH space is viewed because unlike the online space, the Out of Home market on the whole lacks the data that marketers, advertisers, and small business owners believe is essential to their campaigns.

Beyond the product that we at Abraxas Technology provide to fix this lack of OOH data, there are several key points that can refute the strongest misheld belief and convert non-believers into believers:

Business is global and marketing needs to reach that audience.

This is an often misheld opinion by many within the marketing space. Sure, some businesses have a global footprint and some businesses want to have a global footprint. However, the vast majority of U.S. businesses do not have a global footprint, much less a national one. To be frank, utilizing a medium that has a higher cost and produces less online activity makes little sense for campaigns that have a budget (By the way I’m referring specifically to Facebook ads, not billboards. Read this article if you don’t believe me “You Won’t Believe Which Advertising Medium is Cheaper Per Impression Than Facebook Ads.”). So, what should you point to in order to counter this argument? Focus on the reality of the US business sector:

  1. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99.7% of U.S. employer firms and 46% of private-sector output.
  2. While 51% of Americans prefer to shop online, 74% of small business websites do not have ecommerce.
  3. 6 out of 10 small business owners cannot track their social media marketing ROI.
  4. 72% of individuals who did a local search visited a store within 5 miles.
  5. 62% of small business owners say Facebook ads miss their targets.

Beyond these bullet points, it is important to remember that most business is transacted locally. 64% of consumers’ budgets are still spent in store versus 36% being spent online. The range that people are willing to drive to buy non-luxury cars, a big ticket item, on average is less than 30 miles, and the range becomes even worse for non-big ticket items.

The range limitations are further compounded by the total market share of ecommerce within the United States. While ecommerce has continued to take up more of the total retail dollars spent, it still accounts for only 9%. This means that even though we viscerally feel like most of our retail transaction occur online, they in fact do not, and therefore are constrained by the time that people are willing to travel.

None of this is to say that online retail transactions are unimportant. Rather it helps focus the attention on where and how consumers are spending their money. Yet, creating believers out of disbelievers is hard. If you are lacking the data that these media buyers and small business owners are craving, you will not be able to sell more ads or increase the value of your boards.


If you're interested in how Abraxas Technology can help you convert these non-believers, don't hesitate to send us an e-mail at

Joshua Lawton-Belous Follow us on Twitter @Abraxas_Tech.