How much does it cost to use a billboard?

Billboard costs become complicated when you second guess your budget and think about potential cost repercussions, and it’s no surprise that money spending is the big factor. Should I spent more on big? Should I save more with small? What will my reach be? Will I lose money? And this is doubly true when it comes to OOH advertising. Let us walk you through cost and help you develop your own understanding of billboard spend.

Put all these billboards together in a calculator, how much do you think the cost would be?

The cost of a billboard isn’t easily answered. Asking how much a billboard costs is like asking how much a steak costs. It varies depending on place, size, bite, and make. There are financial implications behind all of these decisions, just as there are factors that determine the price of running your ad on a specific billboard.

Though extraneous factors can affect billboard price, it’s easy to remember the main 3 with an acronym: LVT – Location, Visibility, Term. 

Importance of Location:

For successful billboard advertising, you need to position them in the right place. Location plays a major role in determining the success of billboard advertising and here’s why.

  • Attracting the Right Audience

         Defining your target audience is an essential part of marketing. Connecting with the right audience is one of           the goals of billboard advertising. The position of billboards is always meant to keep the audience in mind. If           your billboard is positioned in a financial district, then the people you will attract are business oriented, on-               the-run types. Companies like Moore’s and Culture’s would advertise in places like these because the                       physical culture is ingrained in the company messaging. Their core values meet. 

  • Within Legible Distance

         How far away is your billboard from the street or road? If it’s too far, no one is going to read it. You can’t                   expect your readers to stop the vehicle, squint and read your billboard. Ensure that your billboard is close               enough for everyone to read. The general rule is that your billboard should be easily readable within 50                   meters from where it is set up. Additionally, take height into consideration. Too high or too low will become             problematic for your reader to notice. If your billboard is on a side street somewhere downtown, away from             the busy streets that lay ahead, then the distance will only reach certain people taking shortcuts or residing             on the street. The distance your billboard is to and from significant spots will make a difference in your                     reach, and your cost. 

  • Traffic Count

         Billboards attract maximum attention on a heavily traveled road. Research the traffic count of the area                       where you are planning to place your billboard. The more traffic count, the more eyes fall on your billboard.             It is important to factor in where motorists and commuters are located, and how much traffic may affect the             area. If there is high traffic volume, people are more likely to notice the billboard, as it will lock in their vision           because it’s something fresh to see on their usual route. 

  • Within Reach

         Selecting a location close to your place of business gives easy access to the audience. This is especially                 important in the case of food joints and restaurants. If your goal is to direct the viewer to your place of                       business, then it is sensible to place your billboard in close proximity of your business. It’s also helpful to add           “Next Left” or “1 Mile Away” on the advertisement to direct people how close your business is. 

You should be able to get this type of data from the company selling the billboard space. It’s also a good idea to check out the location personally before advertising.

This billboard at car level makes great contact with motorists heading in a certain direction
Importance of Visibility:

Much like its location, the visibility of a billboard advertisement is crucial to its end pricing. As a general rule of thumb, the closer to the road a billboard gets, the more “in your face” a billboard is—the higher the price. Conversely, the further back from the road the billboard stands, the less expensive it is, usually. Visibility also depends on whether or not the billboard is flat. There are some options to create 3D or moving billboards, but those will most likely cost you more. However, the visibility impact might be greater due to the WOW factor of a standard billboard coming to life. 

The Term of a Billboard:

Most billboards aren’t up forever. When you spend money on a billboard, your business gets the spotlight for 4 to 6 weeks. If you want more time, you’re going to have to pay.

A short-term billboard can be good for generating awareness, but it isn’t a long-term strategy.

If you invest your money in other areas, you’ll see a greater return. If you create useful content on your website, it will last forever. And it’s beneficial to know that the longer the term of a campaign, the less it costs you per month. For instance, say you’ve found the perfect location to run your latest and greatest outdoor advertisement. Based on other factors, it usually costs $2,000/month to run a billboard here. Yet, if you run the advertisement for 6 months, it might only cost $1,500/month to get your ad up and running.

Billboard costs don't have to be sky high prices, but consider all the factors when making a spend decision

Additional Billboard Advertising Costs to Keep in Mind:

When calculating billboard advertising costs, consider the billboard design and construction. Billboard production costs depend on format and construction but generally range from $300 to $500 for a standard billboard. The design is also an important part of creating successful billboards, and hiring a design firm can cost from $150 to $1,000. These costs are fairly run-of-the-mill, and will help to make your billboard alive. 

Billboard Construction Costs:

Vinyl is the standard material used for the ad itself because of its resistance to weather. In general, production costs for billboards cost about $0.50 per square foot. Printing an advertisement on vinyl for a 14-foot by 48-foot bulletin billboard requires almost 700 square feet of material and will cost between $300 and $500.

There will also be costs for designing the billboard. Budgeting $700 to $1,200 for billboard design would be wise. It’s more recommend hiring a designer from a freelancer site, however, in this case, you probably want a designer with extensive experience creating billboard ads. One of the biggest reasons why it’s recommended going with a professional designer with experience in billboard design is that designing a billboard is unlike any other form of advertising. You can’t just take an oil painter usually working with canvas to conjure up a fabulous billboard design; these professions are specifically different. 

As you have read, the cost to use a billboard is not fixed and will vary depending on location, visibility, and term, as well as production and design costs that will no doubt be added to the mix. 

You can find more information related to billboards in:

– The History of Billboard Advertising

– How effective is billboard advertising?


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