Launched recently, is a site from WPP which allows businesses to buy and create outdoor advertising in the UK.

The service, which makes good use of maps to pinpoint billboards, buses and other locations, aims to make it easier for small businesses to get involved in the outdoor ad space.

Searching for ad locations

After registering with the site, you need to enter the location and type of outdoor ad (bus or poster) you want then search for available slots. There is also an advanced search feature which allows you to specify budget and campaign start dates.

Signposter - search for outdoor ads

Signposter will then display the available outdoor ad slots in the area and plot them on the map. Information on prices and the average number of people that will see the ad is also provided: 

Signposter search results

Creating ads

You can create your ads on the site, though it is limited by the fact that you can only upload a logo, so the range of images you can put on a billboard is limited.

The ad creation tool gives you a template according to which type of ad you have chosen, and allows you to select the colour, add text, upload your logo and choose from a selection of images.

ad creation tool

I found the creation tool to be disappointing, as it was clunky and slow to respond. Also, perhaps I did something wrong, but I was unable to upload a logo to put on my ad; every file I uploaded was ‘infected’, according to the message on the site.

It has the basics of a good tool, but it could be improved and speeded up to make it a bit more user-friendly.

Usability problems

I did come across a couple of problems when searching and creating ads. A lot of my searches came up with no results, which can be annoying. Perhaps searches should be restricted to areas where ad slots are available.

Also, if you have entered a location and want to change it, highlighting the text in the search box and pressing delete will not clear the box, but will instead take you back to the previous page on the site.

I spent an hour or so on the site, searching for ads and using the ad creation tool, but was asked to sign back into the site at least three times, which is pretty irritating.

Conclusion is an excellent idea, and offers a novel way of selling outdoor ads, and allowing smaller businesses to get more exposure for their products and services.

If some of the usability issues mentioned above could be fixed, and the ad creation tool would work a little faster, this could be an excellent site.

Related research:

Online Advertising Networks 2008 

Related articles:

WPP’s Martin Sorrell on Google, China and the internet