Overview of Market
When it comes to Boston, they do billboarding sweet justice. It’s the capital and most populous municipality of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. As the largest city, with a population of over 600,000 people, Boston is considered a booming metropolis of the Northeast. It has become an economic and cultural hub, with a large focus on education and medicine. A great number of companies have headquartered in Boston, like Staples and General Electric, and it’s home to many sports teams, such as the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Celtics. Sports stadiums such as Fenway Park, TD Garden, and entertainment areas like the Boston arts district are great spots to billboard advertise. Most notably, billboards on Interstate 95 allow for high traffic exposure. Due to a large number of commuters, it a center point for companies to put their advertisements.
According to the Boston Business Journal, the international tourism spend in 2016 in Massachusetts was $2.8 billion, which was a 3.1 percent increase from the year prior. One way to increase tourism spending in Boston is through the use of effective billboard advertising, and we’ll look at the costs that branch from simple, digital, and mobile billboards, see where is best to place billboards in Boston to get the best reach, as well as dissect how the MBTA advertises to their commuters and their pertaining costs.
Pricing the Different Types of Billboards in Boston
The costs of billboard advertisements are affected by many factors such as size, clarity, and period of time. The most common formats of billboards are 48-sheet (3m x 6m) and 96-sheet (3m x 12m) displays. Usually, the bigger the advertisement, the higher the cost. The clarity of your advert falls under the bracket of location. The longer the advert stays up, the more people will see it. Boston specializes in three types of billboards.
1. Traditional Billboards:
These standard, static billboards attract a large number of pedestrians and drivers in high-traffic areas alongside busy roads. Slogans and distinctive visuals in the advertisement attract many people. The price of billboards vary not only according to the size but also according to the duration of time. One can rent an ad for a period of four weeks to one year. To borrow a billboard for four weeks at the size of eight sheets, the price can be as low as $272.57 and can surge to $32,7081.6 for the bulletins. The duration can be up to a year.
2. Digital billboards:
Digital billboards have revolutionized the industry with cutting-edge technology and premier locations in the most desired markets in Boston. Located on highways, major arteries, and city streets, electronic billboards provide the flexibility of optimizing and changing messages in real-time. They engage and develop a dialogue with the audience through unlimited creative executions. The estimated Real-Time-Bidding (RTB) rate is $0.160 per ad, and, for four weeks, the cost per thousand in a market is $10.49.
3. Mobile billboards:
These advertisements are placed on the backs of trucks, taxis, and buses that are driven around a specific area. People notice moving billboards quickly and it targets the right people in the right place at the right time. The pricing for taxi billboards, junior posters, and bus stop posters vary from $227 to $8177 in Boston. Truck advertisements and medium billboards can be quite expensive for the styles, which could change from $680 to $22,000. Mobile billboards in Boston are mainly used to sell tickets to current events, promote local businesses, and attach consumers to Boston’s health-focused culture.
Where to Post Your Billboards in Boston
Outdoor advertising is not only a great tool to help you make an impactful statement, but it also serves as a fantastic way to boost sales and increase exposure. In Boston, places like Beacon Hill and Harvard Square have a great walk score and heavy foot traffic meaning billboards here will get seen. The North End and Bay Village also provide enough space for advertisers to appropriately place billboard messages pertaining to local, and little known, businesses.
Seeing a billboard repeatedly contributes to consumer recall. Billboards target audiences in a specific location and, if you get the right messages on your ads, you can encourage people to act on them. Beacon Hill is a prime tourist spot, so consider billboards that speak to Boston’s unique amenities here. Harvard Square has the highest bike score, so consider billboards that revolve around sustainable travel and easy to get to restaurants in this area.
A gentleman by the name of John Carroll bought his first billboard in 1996 when he formed his company, Carroll Advertising Co. and has since expanded his outdoor advertising efforts to erect 24 digital and bulletin billboards along Eastern and Western Massachusetts and between Boston and Providence (Cantrell 2015). Carroll sees the opportunities of billboards placed in roadways with slim competition, high-traffic spots, and great visibility locations in Boston. He also sees that the digital billboard market is growing, and how one location can provide many messages which brings costs down and allows for flexibility (Cantrell 2015). He notices that this is effective for accessing local mom and pop shops.
On top of these suggestions, Boston Curbed discovered that drivers in Boston spend an average of 164 hours in rush hour traffic in 2018, which is the highest total hours stuck in traffic in all of the States (Acitelli 2019). They found that, on average, commutes increased by 27% during peak hours compared to inter-peak (Acitelli 2019). Although this is a problem, a rising opportunity is placing billboards in areas most affected by this slow moving pace. The more time people spend stuck in their cars in public, the more likely they are to notice a billboard.
Advertising on Transit in Boston
Transit in Boston is called Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), which sees more than 1 million commuters each day. There are approx. 1000 buses in fleet with a monthly ridership of about 9 million. It is ranked #7 on DMA, which makes it a prime opportunity to advertise with. The cost of exterior bus ads range from $550-7400 per ad per 4 week period. The cost of bus stop/bus shelter ads range from $1200-3000 per ad per 4 week period (and even less in suburban neighbourhoods). The cost of interior bus ads range from $35-80 per ad per 4 week period. Advertising on the interior of Boston buses is so cheap because it’s a smaller space with a smaller reach. Generally, the cost of transit advertising in Boston is more affordable than other cities in the world.
As you have read, billboard advertising in Boston exists and is notable. There are a selection of valid places to advertise in that people will take account of and be able to recall. From looking at the different locations to advertise in, to the separate costs, to the way MBTA advertising works, it is fair to say billboards in Boston are not dead, and will need to cover more space for the future.
Movia Media provides truck fleet mobile billboards that would reach the many demographics of consumers in Boston. Because tourism is steady on-the-rise in Boston, our mobile billboards can deliver messages pertaining to these consumers while they’re already visiting.
Acitelli, Tom. (12 February 2019). Boston had nation’s worst rush-hour traffic congestion in 2018: Report. Boston Curbed. Retrieved from: https://boston.curbed.com/2019/2/12/18221571/boston-rush-hour-traffic-congestion
Cantrell, Cindy. (7 October 2015). With billboards, he gets messages across in a big way. Boston Globe. Retrieved from: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/west/2015/10/07/with-billboards-knows-how-get-his-message-across/MPwZHJTMb1KvNINtq3CBdL/story.html