Billboard Advertising: The Basics
Research has shown that 71% of in-car passengers often look at the messages on roadside billboards. Another 37% report looking at outdoor ads every time they pass one. This is an essential statistic that small and local businesses can take great advantage of.
A billboard is a large board propped up in high-traffic areas. These giant boards display visually attractive ads. Billboards are most often used by marketers in B2C (business-to-consumer) brands and can also be leveraged by local home service businesses like yours!
There are primarily three different types of billboards to be aware of:
- Traditional/classic billboards are those that have been used for many years as part of outdoor advertising. They’re usually made from a vinyl base to make them more robust and hold up against harsher weather conditions. These tend to be less expensive than their digital alternatives.
Here’s an example of a traditional billboard for a plumber.
- Digital billboards are made from a LED display and are more dynamic than their traditional counterparts. Digital billboard cost tends to be higher as a result, as they include functionalities such as moving images. They also allow more effective targeting, as they can be altered and scheduled for different times of the day. The drawback, however, is that there is always a risk of them malfunctioning.
- Mobile billboards take up much less advertising space than the other two options. These are the advertisements you see plastered on moving objects, such as buses, cars, and other vehicles. The best feature of mobile billboards is that they are more likely to be captured by your target audience, as they move in line with the flow of vehicles in the vicinity.
Builds your brand:
Business owners can get their brand name out to a much larger target audience.
Exposure time is incredibly brief:
In the case of traditional/classic and digital billboards, the ad can only capture potential leads in a matter of seconds.
Entices new customers and increases the chance for higher sales:
A smart billboard design can boost sales and improve your bottom line.
Only provides limited information with a chance of misreading:
As the target audience is likely to be driving past, their main priority will be the road ahead of them and not the highway billboards, making the possibility of misreading a risk.
Effective for simple messages:
Large billboards are a great way to capture customers through a visual display with a short but impactful message.
Billboards may be placed in areas with obstructions. For passersby who are driving past or have impaired vision, billboards can just be plain hard to see.
Reach a massive audience and daily commuters:
Billboard rentals provide an opportunity for businesses to target an out-of-home demographic.
The ability to measure effectiveness is challenging:
Unlike other forms of advertising, tracking the number of customers or leads generated through billboards is much more difficult.
How Much Does a Billboard Cost?
Billboard sizes vary, and with it, so do the billboard advertising costs.
The cost of billboard advertising varies and depends on the following factors:
- Location: Do you want your billboard to be located in a central part of your city or somewhere more remote around the edges? The hotter the spot, the higher the billboard ad cost. For example, the cost of a billboard on Sunset Boulevard ranges from $15,000 to $35,000 due to the population density and real estate value of the area itself.
- Demographic: This refers to the assessment of the characteristics of people who pass by the billboard, such as their age, gender, and income level. If your business caters to customers from a higher income level bracket, then your billboard location will have to be in an area where such targets reside or work, leading to higher ad costs.
- Duration: The cost of billboard advertising can also depend on the length of time a billboard is set to appear. Billboard campaign durations can range from a 4 week period to several months.
- Impressions: Billboard companies typically rent spaces by cost per mille (CPM) or cost per thousand impressions. Impressions refer to the projected number of individuals expected to see the ad based on the billboard size, location, and sometimes even the speed limit of that area. For example, a classic small billboard that takes up much less ad space on a small dirt road will have fewer impressions than a digital billboard of a larger size on a major highway. The higher the number of impressions, the higher the cost.
- Labor/cost of design and production: Rental cost is not the only element to be considered for billboards. Production and design costs are other elements that form part of the total cost of billboard advertising. Production costs can range anywhere from $250-$750. This depends on the size of the billboard, as well as the material it is being printed on. Rental costs for digital ad-based billboards are also more expensive than classic vinyl billboards.
- Installation: Installation costs are another element to be considered. Most billboard costs depend on square foot. The larger the size of the billboard, the less cost-effective it will be.
On average, traditional billboards cost anywhere between $750 per month and $14,000 or more, depending on all the above factors. Digital billboard advertisements, on the other hand, cost from $1,200 to above $15,000 monthly.
Do you want to know the average cost by state? Check out this resource.
For mobile billboards, the rate depends on the size of the vehicle, whether it’s a classic or digital ad, and other factors depending on the company/ad agency. To get an idea of pricing, you can check out the general rates charged by the advertising company Blue Line Media.
Billboard Marketing Tips
How can you break the barriers of home advertising, design the perfect billboard targeting a large number of people, and boost your company’s brand awareness?
Here are some tips!
How to design your billboards
- Memorable messaging: Make the best use of your ad space by providing a short, simple, but strong brand message that the audience won’t forget!
- Easy-to-read fonts and color contrasts: Ensure the design of the ad is optimized for easy readability. Skip the hard-to-read fonts and fancy color schemes.
- Contact information: Provide essential contact information for any potential customers to get in touch with you.
- Image selection: Only use images highly relevant to your brand and on point with what you wish to communicate to your customers. In the case of billboards: Less is more!
Where to place them
- Traffic speed: Choose a billboard located in an area with a low speed limit and a high flow of pedestrians, allowing you to attract more leads.
- The billboard’s proximity to the road: The billboard should not be located too far from the road. Ensure the location you’ve chosen is close enough to the road for the ad to remain readable.
- Type of demographic/audience you want to target: Everyone needs an electrician’s services and HVAC contractors handy at a time of need. But which demographic are you specifically targeting? For example, small businesses whose target audience comprises an elderly or retired population, chances are, placing a billboard at hotspots in Los Angeles or the center of New York City won’t attract the desired clientele.
- Any large structures/trees/obstructions: Ensure there aren’t any large, visual obstacles in the way of your billboard ad being viewed.
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