Q: What is outdoor advertising?

A: Outdoor advertising is an important communications medium in an increasingly mobile society. Businesses communicate with customers. Candidates reach voters. Police track criminals. Charities advance the greater public good.

Since the early days of the traveling circus, outdoor advertising has promoted commerce and helped guide travelers to their destinations. Outdoor advertising is a growing industry with a bright future because:

  • Consumers spend increasingly more time away from home.
  • Technology continues to improve the outdoor advertising medium.
  • Other media (print and broadcast) have declining audiences due to media fragmentation.

Most outdoor advertisements promote local business, and most of those enterprises are considered “small business.” The biggest buyer of outdoor advertising services is the travel and tourism industry.

Q: Who uses outdoor advertising?

A: At least seven out of ten outdoor ads promote local businesses. The proportion of local advertising is even greater in non-urban areas. Roadside businesses like restaurants and lodging depend on billboards to direct travelers to their locations.

National advertisers like McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, and Warner Brothers use outdoor advertising, along with other media. Outdoor is also an important medium for non-commercial speech, such as political campaigns and charitable causes.

Q: How can I contact a billboard company in my area?

A: OAAO maintains an online database of their member companies, which can be searched by state. Go to tor/companies.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Find a Member to begin searching.

Q: What Do People Think About Billboards?

A: For decades, public opinion has been consistent with the policy goal of the federal Highway Beautification Act of 1965 which is regulation, not elimination of billboards.

A substantial majority of Americans believe the benefits of billboards outweigh any costs associated with them, according to a comprehensive analysis of 30 years of polling data by Villanova Marketing Professor Charles R. Taylor, Ph.D. His report in the Journal of Advertising Research reveals:

85% believe billboards are useful to travelers (provide directions, prices, and availability of services such as gas, food, and lodging)
83% call billboards informative
82% say billboards help create jobs and help businesses attract customers
79% oppose a ban on billboards
Support for billboard bans is lower today compared to the Seventies.