Monday, January 05, 2009

A Billboard on the Moon

The most expensive billboard advertising locations are on the most travelled routes.  It’s the perfect example of a linear equation; higher traffic = more impressions = higher cost.

But, even the busiest routes give your billboard exposure only to people who travel those routes.  If you want to reach everyone in your market, you need lots of billboards in lots of different places.  It’s a daunting task.

Unless you found a place where a single billboard would be visible to everyone.  There's no such place on earth - but there's one that is relatively close.

The moon is the perfect billboard location because it is regularly seen by everyone in the world.  One billboard, 6.5 billion potential impressions - billboard nirvana.

So, why are there no billboards on the moon?  There’s the logistics of location, distance, outer space, etc., but those are merely hurdles.  The real problem with a billboard on the moon is viewer effort.  To receive your message, people would need to make an effort to view it. 

For example, to see regular-sized billboard on the moon, viewers would need a personal Hubble.  Even if you managed a billboard large enough for the naked eye, people would still need to look skyward – a simple effort that 99.9% of your audience would not make.

The greatest billboard in the history of the world, in the only location visible to everyone, would remain largely unseen.

Coming back down to earth, or at least moving into cyberspace, the same principle is true for web sites.  It is possible for everyone with an internet connection to see your site.

Unless they have to make an effort.

The internet requires a lot of viewer effort.  Instead of passively receiving information from a billboard as they travel, internet consumers have to actively search for information.

Statistics show that, after making the effort to do an internet search, consumers are in no mood for additional effort.  Almost half will choose from the first page of web search results.  Fewer than 10% will go beyond the third page. 

In other words, the effort that your potential customers are willing to make to find your web site amounts to a mouse click, maybe two. 

Even if you have the greatest web site ever, if it does not show up at the top of internet search engine results, it will go largely unseen.

Like a billboard on the moon. 

By Stephen Da Cambra

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