Vendor Profile: Blip Billboards

Insider counts 11 North American companies that are trying to develop cloud based systems for buying and selling out of home advertising: ADstruc, AdSemble, Adquick, Blip Broadsign, DoMedia, Fliphound, Kinetic,rVue, Vistar and Xaxis Places.  Today we look at Blip Billboards.

Company: Blip Billboards

Headquarters:  1591 W 820 N, Provo, UT  64601

Phone:  801-692-3217


Blip operates an online marketplace for digital billboard space. The
company’s approach differs from many other online marketplaces in that
it does not require a contract and allows advertisers buy ads in
single-display increments much like Adsense or online advertising.
YESCO uses Blip to sell digital billboard space. Insider interviewed Brent Thomson, Blip’s founder.


Brent, how did you get the idea for Blip?

Prior to working on Blip, I assumed the digital billboard industry
already worked like online pay-per-click advertising. In rough terms,
I knew that a digital billboard was a computer with an enormous
display attached. I thought I could send an ad image to the sign
owner, have it show up for one day, and then never show up again if
that was all I wanted to pay for. A friend of mine that was familiar
with the billboard industry (James Munnerlyn; also now my co-founder
at Blip) filled me in on how the industry differed from my naive
belief. From there, we decided to build a platform that provided
billboard advertisers many of the benefits of online advertising.

How does Blip’s system work?

Similar to PPC or online advertising, Blip is a self-serve platform
for advertisers. An advertiser creates a campaign, specifies a daily
budget, and selects their target audience. In our system, selecting a
target audience means picking individual boards or geographic regions
in which to display the advertiser’s content and indicating when the
ads can be displayed. Then the advertiser uploads artwork and launches
their campaign. Once the artwork is approved by both the sign owner
and the Blip moderation team, the new ads start showing up on the
target boards. Statistical and display data is then available to the
advertiser, who can use it to make more informed marketing decisions.

What are the benefits for Blip’s system to an out of home advertising company owner?

There are two major benefits to sign owners. The first is that the
medium is now accessible to all advertisers, not just those with the
very largest budgets. We did some research which concluded that,
across the 4 states we considered, only 2% of businesses used
billboards in the last year. The biggest factor in whether an
organization advertised on billboards or not was budget. Because the
minimum unit of sale with Blip is a single display of an ad, there is
effectively no minimum budget. This makes billboards as a medium
suddenly accessible to the full 98% of absent advertisers. Rather than
taking a slice of the existing OOH pie for ourselves, we’re bringing a
whole new pie.

The second huge benefit to owners is that Blip eliminates remnants
completely. Because there’s no minimum budget, we can fill any vacant
space with numerous smaller advertisers. Those advertisers would never
have been able to take all the space individually, but together they
soak up any available space—and together they generally wind up nearly
matching the retail rate the sign owner might have charged for that

What does the system cost and who pays?

Sign owners continue to serve their contract advertisers exactly the
same as they have always done (including sales, customer service,
billing, etc), and the owner continues to collect 100% of the revenue
from those clients. Blip handles sales, customer service, and
collecting payments from the marketplace advertisers. We take a
percentage of that marketplace spend, but the majority of that revenue
gets passed through to the sign owner.

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