Marketers may have overlooked the potential of outdoor advertising as a customer-retention tool, according to a new paper in the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR).

In Do Billboard Advertisements Drive Customer Retention? Expanding the ‘AIDA’ Model to ‘AIDAR’, authors John L. Fortenberry, Jr. (Louisiana State University/Shreveport and Willis–Knighton Health System) and Peter J. McGoldrick (University of Manchester) challenge received wisdom about out-of-home ads.

Their paper proposes that the traditional Attention–Interest–Desire–Action (AIDA) model for measuring the power of outdoor media needs to be extended with an extra “R” to reflect the additional asset of “Retention”.

“Traditional management assumptions that billboards are mainly awareness and interest builders may be more a limitation of their typical usage rather than potential capabilities," the paper proposes.

“Such models generally omit post-purchase and reinforcement roles of [outdoor] advertising, however, which reflects their origins in a selling-oriented era.”

The research further argues that “there is a need to address executives’ choices of methods to evaluate billboard effects and how these choices both affect and are influenced by perceptions of billboards’ capabilities.

“Billboards will continue to offer new research opportunities as digital panels increase in number, adding a higher-tech image, enabling differentiation by time and occasions, and minimizing lead times.

“Although passers-by cannot turn off billboards, billboards are less intrusive than Internet and mobile advertisements. They rely on their ability to capture the interest of passers-by, so they could become more distinctive and attractive, both to consumers and to managers.”

Billboards may also “stimulate web access, enabling voluntary and therefore non-intrusive web communications on the basis of interest initiated by the billboard.”

A movement from the traditional AIDA hierarchy to a revised AIDAR consideration, the authors write, “reflects contemporary emphasis on post-purchase reinforcement, retention, and relationship building while also recognizing the continued interest in consumers’ journeys to purchase.”

Sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by WARC staff