If you’re an outdoor advertising company in Sharjah or Dubai, you’re back, and in a big way. Cast your mind back just two years, when empty billboards adorned the Sheikh Zayed Road and various other prime advertising spots. These were the dark days for the outdoor companies in Dubai.

But now, confidence has returned to businesses in most sectors, and the previously conservative annual marketing budgets are now reaching the same kind of levels they were pre-2008.

The main focus of attention for businesses looking for the largest captive audience possible? Outdoor advertising. Dubai is a largely traditional market when it comes to marketing and advertising trends. So while many ad spends in New York, London, Tokyo and Los Angeles will these days be divided equally between outdoor and digital, in Dubai, it’s still predominantly all about the great outdoors. Digital spends are growing rapidly, but impact advertising is still very much seen as being analogue rather than digital-based in the city.

Sheikh Zayed Road advertising space consistently reaches more than a 90% occupancy each month now, whereas two years ago the figure was half that. The resurgence has been led by the huge number of large property development projects starting up again, but the real estate sector isn’t the only one commanding huge ad spaces in Dubai, the banking and finance, automobile, and jewellery industries have all re-entered the market in a big way.

The first thing any company returning to the idea of a concentrated media campaign wants, is prime space with maximum impact. The high footfall areas in Dubai are plentiful, but they don’t come cheap. Thoughts to cost can be broken down and put into perspective with a simple calculation, one which is used often to convince companies that although it may not be the cheapest overall, is extremely well priced in the market place, representing fantastic value and extensive coverage.

Take a large billboard on Sheikh Zayed Road heading north, approaching Downtown for example. Firstly, when you deliver the figure one may expect to pay each month for such a space, it could potentially send marketing managers into a state of shock.

You’re probably looking at 400,000AED per month. Divided by the average 30 days in a month, your daily spend on this singular space is 13,333AED. Still seems a lot right? Well then think about the sets of eyes you are going out to. On that particular stretch of road, the most conservative figures suggest around 300,000 cars pass by that section daily, many of them grinding to a halt along one the busiest sections of road in the Middle East during rush hour.

That puts the figure at 4AED per car. Say there’s an average of 2 people in each car, the figure halves. So for 2AED per person per day, you are able to hit them with decisive, bold and intelligent marketing at one of the most in-demand ad spaces in Dubai. Suddenly the value becomes apparent.

Of course, you must also have a strong message or story to tell the thousands of passers-by, and creating a memorable and well-put-together ad campaign is another topic altogether….