Digital marketing and content marketing are staples in today’s marketing strategies, but they shouldn’t be treated as the only marketing strategies that will be successful for your business. Traditional marketing tactics, like print ads, direct mail, and billboards, can still be an incredibly powerful way to further your brand reach and awareness.

Today, we’re breaking down the facts about billboard advertising so you can make an informed decision for your own marketing strategy.

The 2021 billboard statistics you should know about

The global billboard market is still on the rise. Despite the economic fallout around the pandemic, billboard spending still saw a steady growth in 2020—up from $65.24 billion in 2019 to $65.7 billion in 2020. That growth had historically been larger but, of course, with the pandemic, billboard sales saw a decrease.

Despite that, billboard growth is expected to rise to $81.35 billion by 2023.

What’s interesting about that statistics is that, despite the expected growth in billboard sales, the number of billboards present in the United States is actually on a decline. This could be contributed to a number of factors, but is most likely due to the increase in digital billboards over more traditional, static billboards. Billboard owners and outdoor advertising companies realize that they’re able to get more bang for their buck with one digital billboard—which can rotate 10 advertisers at once—versus a static billboard that can only feature one advertiser at a time.

When it comes to the effectiveness of billboards, here are some surprising statistics to consider:

  • 70% of drivers look at billboards as they are driving or riding in a front seat
  • Over 50% of people report being “highly engaged” by a billboard they have seen recently
  • Americans spend roughly 300 hours in their car per year, equaling incredible visibility when you consider the first percentage in this list.

What Makes a Billboard Effective

So out of the 70% of drivers who consciously look at a billboard, and the 50% of that group that reports being “highly engaged” by a billboard, what is it that draws them in? What makes a billboard effective?

Just like with any other form of marketing, there is a certain formula, or strategy, that comes into play when creating an effective billboard.

The 8-Second Rule

As a rule of thumb, it takes 8 seconds for a driver to process and pass a billboard. That means you have to have a message that is consumable within 8 seconds.

This immediately narrows down the scope and complexity of your billboard design, and forces you to be clear and concise with the information you’re sharing with your audience.

Content should be short, easy-to-read (no challenging words), and quickly tell your audience what you’re about.


Unlike other forms of marketing, billboards can’t be targeted. Yes, billboard placement is its own form of targeting, but your audience will still be incredibly broad.

When determining whether or not a billboard is an effective form of advertising for your business, consider whether or not your product, brand, or service is relevant to the masses. Ideal industries for billboards include:

  • Restaurants/Hospitality
  • Professional Services
  • Plumbers
  • Mechanics
  • Contractors
  • Auto Sales and Dealerships
  • Schools and Daycares
  • Gyms and Fitness Businesses


Because billboards have such a captive audience—remember, each person is driving at least 300 hours a year—and most drivers repeat similar pathways or roadways each day, billboards are an incredibly effective form of brand repetition and awareness.

Your billboard doesn’t have to promote a specific sale or event. An effective billboard is one that clearly articulates a brand’s selling points and does so in a visually-engaging way.


Trustworthiness isn’t something that’s necessarily communicated on a billboard, but it is still a factor in its overall effectiveness.

Consider the lack of trust around digital marketing tactics for some. Consumers worry about false advertising or false information—even millennials.

Statistically, consumers are reported to have more trust in traditional marketing mediums versus social media or other digital marketing tools.

Incorporating a Billboard Into Your Marketing Plan

Billboard advertising shouldn’t be your sole form of advertising, but it can be a relevant addition to your marketing strategy. Particularly, if you fall under one of the industries mentioned above, billboards can be a great tool for you and your business.

Placement and creative design and messaging are key, so make sure you work with an agency who has experience in traditional marketing, as well as digital. At Rockit, we have both. Talk with us today to get started.