What is a billboard?
A billboard is like an oversized poster that can be produced in print or digitally. Billboards are placed in high-traffic areas with the goal of getting the most impressions for your business. Your billboard should give viewers a quick glimpse and understanding of what you’re offering, mostly through images and text. To make the biggest impact, billboard designs should tell a story and be memorable, so the takeaway for viewers is that the business is worth looking into.
People drive by billboards all the time and have become desensitized to them. The way to grab attention is with a message or imagery that’s unlike anything people have seen before. You only get a few seconds to make an impression as people walk or drive by your billboard, so you should consult advertisers with past success before designing yours.
Types of billboards
There are three types of billboards you could purchase:
Classic billboards have been around for many years. They’re made of vinyl to withstand different weather conditions and are produced in huge print. These billboards usually cost less than their digital counterparts, and there are more of them available. The downside to classic billboards is that they’ve fallen behind modern technology and aren’t as eye-catching as their digital and mobile counterparts.
Digital billboards are dynamic advertisements that feature animations or space for multiple advertisers. You have the option of running multiple ads on a digital billboard to target key demographics that pass by your billboard throughout the day. For example, a restaurant may want to advertise lunch specials in the morning and early afternoon and dinner specials starting at 3 pm.
The biggest disadvantages to digital billboards are cost, glitches and potential power loss. A classic billboard can still be seen when the power’s out, for example.
A mobile billboard is the type of advertisement you see on buses, trucks and other vehicles throughout urban and suburban areas. The key advantage of mobile billboards is that they bring the advertisement to people, rather than needing people to pass it by to be seen. They may also be less expensive than digital billboards.
When and why your business should consider advertising on a billboard
There are many reasons businesses advertise. Billboard advertising is for companies that want exposure or brand recognition. A good example is personal injury attorney billboards because most people will remember the attorney on the billboard after they get into an accident. If you need instant conversions, you might want to invest in other forms of advertising.
Another use for billboard advertising is to help people find your physical location. You may have noticed that plenty of billboards provide location information, such as “located off exit 123 in 5 miles.” This is especially useful if your location is more remote or your customers say they experienced confusion when trying to locate you.
How much does a billboard cost?
The cost of a billboard advertisement can vary based on your location, the size of the ad and the type of billboard you purchase. Advertising agencies often charge by impressions, or the number of times someone sees your ad. Impressions for billboards are estimates based on population density, speed limits and the time of day you run your ad.
When you receive a quote, it could be a cost per mile, or CPM. For example, if your CPM is $2.50, you’re paying $2.50 for every thousand ad views. When determining your CPM, the agency creates an out-of-home rating (OOH) comprised of the following:
Demographics are key data about the people most likely to view your advertisement. Demographics include the age, gender and income level of the people driving through that area. You can use a demographic strategy to get your billboard in front of the type of customers you serve. For example, if you run a woman’s clothing store, you could perform research to find a location more women are likely to pass before purchasing a billboard.
Impressions are the projected number of people expected to see the ad based on the billboard’s size and location or even the speed limit in that area. Impressions have a huge impact on your billboard cost. For example, it’s more expensive to purchase advertisements in dense city neighborhoods than out in the country.
Circulation is the flow of traffic likely to pass by your ad. You can determine circulation based on information from traffic authorities. They can provide the total volume of traffic in your billboard’s location.
The total cost of a billboard will vary between classic and digital billboards. Classic billboards can cost as little as $250 per month when they’re in rural areas and as much as $14,000 per month if they’re located in midsize or large cities. Digital billboards are more expensive, costing between $1,200 and $15,000 per month.
One factor to keep in mind is what it costs to produce the advertisement. You may need to hire a marketing team to design your ad—the more complicated your advertisement is, the greater the cost. Hiring a team to design your billboard can cost between $300 and $1,000 in most cases.
Mobile billboards are an alternative that could cost a little more than a classic vinyl billboard but less than a digital billboard. The average cost range for mobile billboards is between $800 and $3,600 per month.
One way to save money on advertising is to create an in-house marketing agency. This is how some businesses save money on production costs when they have consistent advertising needs.
FAQs about billboards
Are billboards worth it?
Whether it’s worth it to purchase a billboard depends on what type of business you run and your advertising goals. Restaurants and retail stores benefit the most from billboard advertising. If your business is targeting a broader demographic, it could also be beneficial to run a billboard advertisement.
Conversely, if your target demographic is more specific, you could waste your money on a billboard. You’d be better off considering an advertisement strategy that delivered your message straight to your target audience. Another factor to consider is the purpose of your billboard. The greatest use for billboard advertising is building brand recognition.
Alternatives to consider include print advertising, online marketing, social media marketing and email campaigns.
How much does a billboard in NYC Times Square cost?
The cost of a billboard in Times Square can range from $10,000 to $22,000 for 2 weeks. These billboards rotate often because of high demand. While you could reach many people and gain some prestige when getting an ad on Times Square, it’s important to consider how many more people you could reach with the same budget if you chose locations that still received foot traffic without the high advertising premium.
How much does it cost to advertise on digital billboards?
The cost to advertise on digital billboards can vary depending on the location, but you should expect to pay between $1,200 and $15,000 per month. However, it’s usually less expensive to use a rotating billboard where you share space with other companies through rotating digital ads.