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How Real Signage Plays into a Virtual World

Architects/Design/Build, Architectural Signage, Exterior Signage, Others, Sign Design

Earlier this year, a report by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America showed that outdoor advertising not only remains tops in terms of cost-effectiveness, it continues to be one of the strongest drivers of online searches. 

How Outdoor Advertising Fuels Online Searches

According to the report, outdoor advertising was as successful in spurring Facebook activity as were TV ads, and results were similar for driving traffic to Twitter and Instagram.

If it sounds surprising at first, when considering your routine behavior it’s easy to understand the findings.  While commuters are strongly encouraged to ignore their phones while on the road, thanks to mobile devices, we’re accustomed to tuning in to an increasing amount of visual stimuli all the time, even while driving around town. Today’s business signs are designed with attention-grabbing graphics and scale to pique prospects’ interest enough to get them to search for a business online at a later time, when they get to work (or a stoplight) and can safely surf the web.

Some tidbits from the report:

  • Restaurant reservations increase after the establishment gets a new sign, revamps, or relamps existing signage.
  • Occupancy rates increase in hotels, apartments, and assisted living facilities after a new sign is installed.
  • Overall, 46% of the survey’s participants said they conducted an online search as a result of seeing or hearing something advertised on a billboard, bus shelter or other outdoor advertising.

Have Small Screens Made Big Signs More Appealing?

Possibly related is the trend that sees  trade show budgets healthy and growing in 2018. While trade show exhibitors aim to offer “immersive” experiences that include some interaction with our ubiquitous cell phones and other devices, again, we might argue, that our habits of staring at small screens all day makes us crave more “big screen” presentations and real-life experiences.

As all forms of advertising are competing with new technologies and channels, signs too, like traditional networking venues such as trade shows, must continue to evolve.

In 2018, business signage first must command the audience’s attention, then be clear in getting its message across – whether that’s promoting flame-broiled burgers or directing downtown commuters to available parking decks. At the same time, signage must accurately build brand, image, and reputation. Beyond those requirements, signage also must meet many other criteria, from being planning and building code compliant to satisfying ADA requirements, and most importantly, users’ needs. And for our end customers, of course, there are always multiple budget considerations, including projected maintenance costs and return on investment.

Metro’s experienced designers work closely with our project managers and fabricators from the earliest design concepting phase of a project, to ensure our clients’ projects stay on track and to meet the end goal: to deliver the best-looking, most effective signs for every client, and every environment.


We’re dedicated to keeping up with changes in the signage industry! Metro Sign & Awning belongs to the International Sign Association, the United States Sign Council Foundation, the Northeast States Sign Association, and the Society for Experiential Graphic Design. In addition, we work closely with our partners, suppliers, and clients to continually improve our service and product offerings. If your goal is to have signage that enhances your project or development, that’s what we do – and we’d love to hear from you.

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