Should Independent Authors Invest in Billboards?

Guest Post by Cody Riebe

In today’s world of digital and social media ads, traditional billboards are often seen as old-fashioned. Yet, the billboard industry is actually growing, largely because of its convergence with tech. Billboards and other out-of-home formats (OOH formats) for authors and books are still being used today. They continue to be bought because they’re still very effective marketing tools. The old idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover” definitely applies here. Let’s take a look and see just how independent authors can benefit from billboard advertising.

Creating Awareness

For first-time authors, advertising is crucial in creating awareness. Whether it’s a novel, short story collection, biography, memoir, book of poems, or nonfiction book, potential readers need to know your latest work exists before they can consider picking it up. Seeing your new book cover blown up to 40 feet on a billboard on their way to and from work every day is a great way to make potential readers aware and interested. Billboards are also great for announcing your latest book signing or tour stop in a specific city. A well-designed billboard will generate buzz and be shared on social media at no additional cost to you.

Drive Website Traffic

Billboards aren’t just for driving traffic to physical bookstores, they can also be used to drive people to your website. 58% of people search the web as a direct result of seeing a billboard ad. This is a great opportunity to direct traffic to your website or blog to learn more about you and your work. If you’ve been smart, you’ve featured your new book prominently on your site and provided a quick and easy way for people to purchase or download.

Stay in Budget

When thinking about advertising formats, cost is one of the most important deciding factors for independent authors. Billboards can be made to fit almost any advertising budget. While costs vary depending on where they will be placed, billboards are surprisingly affordable. There are other outdoor ad options, such as bus, bench, taxi, and subway ads. Believe it or not, outdoor ads deliver the best value — in terms of cost-per-thousand impressions — of any type of advertising, even digital:

OOH Works

OOH works. It’s huge, it’s loud, and if the design is (book)smart, it’s extremely memorable. Just how impactful? According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, of those who have seen an outdoor ad:

41% are more likely to learn about the brand being advertised.
70% say outdoor ads are very, or somewhat likely, to influence a purchase.
55% use mobile and social media to share information while viewing an outdoor ad.
35% buy a product after seeing an ad.

When You Reach Me

Reach refers to the number of people who will see your ad at least one time during a campaign. When a billboard or other OOH format is placed in a high-traffic area, such as near a popular park or arena, it has tremendous reach.

If you are already utilizing other advertising formats, adding outdoor ads to your marketing mix is a great way to considerably extend your reach. For independent authors, billboards work well as an addition to your digital campaigns, allowing them to amplify their reach and create a sense of legitimacy that digital ads alone do not establish.

Billboards-In: the largest online marketplace for outdoor ads. With over a million assets nationwide, they make it possible for anyone and everyone to easily buy billboards online.

Cody J. Riebe is a Public Relations and Content Specialist for, the largest online marketplace for outdoor ads. With over a million assets nationwide, they make it possible for anyone and everyone to easily buy billboards online.

Billboard for a Book: Billboards have incredible reach.

About John Kremer

John Kremer is author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, the Relationships Matter Marketing program, and many other books and reports on book marketing, Internet marketing, social media, and book publicity. -- .

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