How much does it cost to rent a billboard?


Photo example of Outdoor Advertising Street Furniture

A billboard can benefit businesses that sell genuinely mass market consumer products (things everybody needs like cars or insurance). Although billboards are great for building brand awareness, they’re not always a direct link to hard cash.

How Much Does a Billboard Cost?

Billboards are expensive. The cost of billboards is directly proportional to the locations in which they are set up.

For example, In Boston, bulletins range from $11,000 – $23,000 per 4 weeks, and in San Diego, bulletins range from $8,400 – $15,000 per 4 weeks, and in Milwaukee, bulletins range from $3,000 – $4,000 per 4 weeks.

You can buy a billboard for between $650 and $2.4 million, then rent it out in four-week increments. Prices vary by location. Billboard advertises more than your products and services; it also advertises that you’re paying for marketing. “You know what happens when you get a billboard? Every advertiser comes out of the woodwork to see if they can sell ads to you.”

digital billboard outdoor advertising depicting different brands and their advertisements

It costs between $1.1 million and $4 million a year if you want to buy one of those flashy, digital or neon billboards that light up New York’s Times Square, according to the Wall Street Journal. The owners of 1 Times Square– the tall tower in the middle of the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue make $23 million a year from the billboards that cover it. That makes it the most expensive set of billboards in the entire world. Times Square signs don’t just get eyeballs from tourist traffic in the square itself. They also make tons of incidental appearances on TV shows.

Meanwhile, in LA, a Sunset Boulevard billboard can cost $10,000 to $50,000 a month, while the same board in another part of Los Angeles would go for $30,000. Los Angeles, at $450 million in annual outdoor advertising, actually ranks second to New York, where advertisers spend $750 million on everything from subway ads to bus-shelter signs.

According to Nancy Fletcher, president and chief executive of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, billboards still account for the majority of outdoor advertising — $1.6 billion of a total of $2.6 billion in the last year. But she says that legislation limiting where commercial billboards can go and their size has hindered growth, making Sunset Boulevard as much a drive-through museum as anything else.

Billboards are targeted towards every driver out there, but you can personalize them too. Personalization goes a long way, and it’s tough to get personal with a billboard. You’re better off with targeting your marketing efforts– creating content and resources specifically for the sorts of people that need you, or advertising in places where they’re likely to be, with the wording they’ll understand. Adding local language or paying tribute to a sports team can help make your billboard appeal to consumers in a specific location.

Billboards Have a Short Lifespan

Most advertisements aren’t up forever. When you spend money on a billboard, your business gets the spotlight for 1 to 52 weeks. A short-term billboard can be useful for generating awareness, but it isn’t a long-term strategy. Local businesses that cater to a specific community can benefit from a billboard in a high traffic area in a particular neighbourhood. If you’re selling big-ticket items like cars, a billboard can be worth it. If your company sells stuff everybody needs like mortgages or insurance, a billboard can serve you well. Creative businesses. 

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