Mobile digital billboards could be next frontier of activism

3 min read

If 2020 was the year of social activism, then 2021 has followed suit. While social media platforms remain effective tools to connect with the masses, the power of in-person gathering remains. As marches, rallies, and protests take place across the nation, organizers and activists are increasingly turning to out-of-home (OOH) advertising — and, more specifically, mobile digital billboards — to capture people's attention on site and inspire action. Here are three reasons mobile digital billboards will be the next frontier of social activism.

1. High impact

For starters, when it comes to messaging, mobile digital billboards give activists more freedom to share controversial viewpoints than traditional forms of outdoor advertising (i.e., static billboards, bus wraps, and street furniture) that have stricter local regulations and restrictions from individual ad unit owners to follow.

In addition, when activists are looking to make an impact and have their message stand out in a crowd, mobile digital billboards provide a unique way to be seen in a big, bold way — and the timing couldn't be better. According to a poll by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and Harris Poll Data, people are increasingly receptive to outdoor advertising, with 55% of consumers in big cities reporting noticing more OOH messaging and signage. Mobile digital billboards only enhance that, with the ability to attract attention from hyper-targeted audiences in specific places.

Activists can plan out the precise routes of their mobile digital billboards, ensuring they reach specific neighborhoods, business and tourism districts, and high-traffic areas during events, marches, parades, conferences and more. Advertisers not only control the time and place ads are seen, but also the media's creative and calls to action, which can be updated throughout their event as needed. This maximizes an ad's effectiveness and exposure, ultimately making a lasting impression and spurring action.

2. Social sway

Using the internet and social media platforms to boost issues and mobilize groups of stakeholders is on the rise, especially on Twitter, TikTok and Instagram. But there's no need to decide between leveraging social media or outdoor advertising –– with mobile digital billboards, organizers can embrace the benefits of both. For one thing, outdoor advertising remains the world's most affordable form of advertising media with the largest return on investment. There's no risk of scrolling past or clicking away. And for another, mobile digital billboards have the power to drive event attendees toward social channels and hashtags where the buzz is already taking place, increasing that momentum and driving even more awareness.

How else can mobile digital billboards enhance social buzz or build viral moments? It comes down to giving advertisers the space to be creative, with the opportunity to serve up eye-catching messages and calls to action that have an inherent, social media-friendly quality. When these messages are uploaded and shared by attendees, they reach even larger audiences online.

3. Lower pricing

As organizers plan out protests, events, and celebrations, and activists search out ways to share impactful messages, mobile digital billboards will become the go-to means of communicating with hyper targeted audiences.

Even in the OOH landscape, where affordability across all inventory types remains lower than other advertising mediums, mobile digital billboards are among outdoor advertising's most affordable forms. Advertising budgets stretch further with mobile digital billboards simply because ads run in shorter, more targeted advertising windows. With this form of advertising, organizers aren't looking to run long-term campaigns that blanket entire areas to build up awareness and drive action. They are achieving these outcomes in targeted, impactful bursts with mobile digital billboards.

Activism, both online and in person, shows no signs of slowing. As we look ahead, 2022 is expected to bring more people together to have their voices heard. Mobile digital billboards will be at the frontlines of future protests, marches, celebrations, and more, inspiring participants and audiences in general to take meaningful action as a catalyst for change.


This article was written by Matthew O'Connor from Digital Signage Today. News Features and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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Matthew O'Connor