Billboards are amongst the most old-school ways of advertising in the 21st century. They have remarkably strong staying power in the digital age… newspaper and especially radio advertisements have both been in decline for years. Billboard advertising dipped during the height of the pandemic but is expected to surge as more people feel comfortable leaving their homes again. There’s an incredible opportunity for those with the vision to go big with their message.
There are a lot of variables that go into billboard pricing. The type of billboard format, the target demographics, and number of impressions all go into calculating the price of a billboard. Billboards can be broken down into three basic categories:
“Classic” or “Traditional” Print Billboards
Large printed billboards are likely what many people still think of when they think “billboard.” These are large advertisements, usually printed on weather-resistant vinyl. These are a cost-effective option due to their low-tech nature, and there are more print billboard spaces available to rent than other kinds.
Digital billboards make the most of advances in tech by including moving images. They also have more versatility. For example, the same advertiser can switch up which ad they serve depending on the time of day. These massive perks also amount to greater cost over classic print billboards.
In the case of mobile billboards, we’re not talking about a literal billboard that drives around your town. The idea isn’t too far from reality, though. Mobile billboards include what you see on the sides of buses, car wraps, or other moving vehicles. These can be an expensive option for a billboard advertiser; they achieve great exposure but that exposure comes at a cost.
With a print billboard as a baseline, you might see space rental in a rural area for $750 to $1,500 per month. The cost goes up in small to mid-size cities, in the range of $1,500 to $2000 per month. Finally, $14,000 per month isn’t out of the question in a large city. These figures are all likely to go up on a digital billboard.
In addition to actually renting the space, there are design costs, printing costs (if using a traditional printed format), and even installation fees. These can translate into a hefty figure for those dipping their toes into billboard advertising. If you’re new to billboard advertising or are a small business with a limited budget, it can be intimidating. Will it all pay off? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of billboard advertising.
Pros of Using a Billboard
Depending on where it’s placed, you can have an enormous impact with a billboard. Let’s not forget that they’re huge and easy to see. If it’s on a busy street or visible from a highway, every vehicle or passer-by is a potential customer. This is especially so if it’s on a commuter route; you’ll also benefit from repeated exposures, driving your business into their brains every time they drive or walk by.
Just as before, location can make or break your billboard. Making sure it’s placed where your target demographics will see it is essential. In the case of restaurants, truck stops, hotels, and other highly localized businesses, you can get immediate results. If your billboard is placed where all those potential customers can see it, your billboard will be an indispensable part of your marketing.
Billboards can be a very cost-effective way of driving customers to your business. While the setup costs might feel steep, the returns can be impressive. Along with other forms of out-of-home media, billboards bring in about $2.80 for every dollar spent. Compare that to $2.41 for print or $2.43 for TV, and the value becomes self-apparent.
Lack of Focus
The exposure might be huge, but you have no control over whether it’s your ideal customers who see your ad. You’ll need to make sure enough of your target market will see the ad to make it worthwhile.
In addition to the potential costs of design and printing, premium locations come at a premium cost. You may need a long-term contract to lock it in. And, if your marketing message doesn’t fit in a nutshell already, you’ll need help tailoring it to fit your media.
Also known as “banner blindness,” this is when your viewers simply start tuning your billboard out. They’ve seen it again and again, and their eyes naturally look for something new. You can keep things interesting by changing your campaigns regularly.
What Billboards Cost You
At the end of the day, you’re the only one who can decide if a billboard is the right investment for your business. We hope these pros and cons have helped with your choice.