8 April 2019
Think of the organisations making a success of digital roadside advertising and the chances are agencies such as JCDecaux, Clear Channel, Ocean Outdoor etc. might spring to mind. Less likely to be on that list is Auto-Tec, a family run motor business in Port Glasgow.
However, having recently installed their own digital billboard along the busy A8 carriageway, the local car repair business is experiencing some strong returns that prove you don’t have to be a multi-national agency to have success in the digital advertising market.
Auto-Tec made the move to install a 25m2 LED digital billboard after consulting with ADI. The display will provide high impact advertising to the 35,000 vehicles* that pass the screen each day, generating a significant income stream for the screen’s owners, who have been trading from the location for 30 years.
Having had the screen installed shortly before Christmas, it is already proving so popular with local advertisers that Auto-Tec expect to have completely paid for the screen within 18 months. With an expected lifespan of between 8 and 10 years, it promises to provide a healthy longterm investment for the business.
The screen is part of a growing trend of local businesses seeking to provide their own out-of-home advertising networks. Traditionally, billboard locations are owned by large multi-national agencies who predominantly sell multi-site campaigns to large consumer brands. With large, national campaigns with six figure budgets, the model leaves little opportunity for smaller businesses to use those digital platforms to target a local audience.
Auto-Tec’s model turns this completely on its head, providing a single prominent space on a busy road, selling advertising to businesses in the area at far more affordable rates.
Auto-Tec have created a simple model for the screen: ads are sold as ten second slots on rotation on a month-long basis. Advertisers have three levels of packages, which determine how frequently their adverts are shown in the playlist.
With content running from 6am to 11pm every day, it means their ad can be seen many hundreds of times each day.
We’re only a few months in and already our playlists are nearly full and we have advertisers booking 6 month campaigns
Having been established for over 30 years, Auto-Tec are well embedded in the town’s local business community; this, coupled with the location of the screen, means finding advertisers hasn’t been challenging. As the main road into Port Glasgow, the A8 provides an ideal location for Auto-Tec’s screen and enables businesses to target customers as they approach the town.
Auto-Tec’s Owner, Robert McKenzie., has been impressed with the uptake amongst local businesses: “We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how popular the big screen is proving to be. We’re only a few months in and already our playlists are nearly full and we have advertisers booking 6 month campaigns.”
Auto-Tec manage content using ADI’s bespoke Content Management System, which provides a simple interface to upload and schedule any content they wish. The CMS can be used on any internet-connected device, meaning they can even instantly change advertising content using a mobile phone.
An additional benefit of owning the screen themselves is that Auto-Tec have complete editorial control, allowing them to promote their own business. Because it is a digital platform, they can push out latest offers at short notice allowing them to vary advertising and promotions depending on how busy they are.
One of the factors that often concerns small businesses when considering installing a digital billboard is planning permission. For Auto-Tec, the planning process was relatively straightforward – the digital screen replaces an existing printed billboard that was already on the wall – but planning offices across the UK are becoming more open to these types of installations, particularly with the recognition of the value they can add on a local level.
By encouraging spend at local businesses, it ensures money remains within the community instead of into the pockets of international corporations – an important factor in the current climate.
Auto-Tec’s Robert McKenzie added: “For us, the screen wasn’t just about the ability to generate income and promote our business, it’s also an opportunity to invest in the community and we’d like to think is a small part of the wider regeneration of Port Glasgow.
“We looked at a number of different screen companies to partner with, but ADI were comfortably the best partners to work with. They’ve been doing this almost as long as we’ve been servicing cars so they were able to help at every stage including advising on the planning process.
“Their huge experience gave us confidence in their ability to deliver a screen that looks stunning and they’re able to offer us a support package to ensure it’s promoting the businesses of Port Glasgow for many years to come.”
*Source: Department for Transport Road Traffic Statistics