How Much Does Billboard Advertising Cost?

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baloonIn my last article we continued our series on offline marketing, with a look at using coupons to market your business.  In today’s article we are going to continue that series with a look at how much billboard advertising costs.

How much does having a billboard ad cost?

One of the largest billboard companies is Lamar Advertising. A bulletin billboard is the largest standard size billboard they offer, typically measuring 14 feet x 48 feet. Here are the costs for renting a bulletin billboard for 4 weeks:

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico (adult population 680,00)

Cost Per Billboard: $1,200 per billboard (rate for the purchase 7 billboards)

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan  (adult population 268,000)

Cost Per Billboard: $1,500 per billboard (rate for the purchase 3 billboards)

Location: Atlanta, Georgia (adult population 4,762,000)

Cost Per Billboard: $2,500 per billboard (rate for the purchase 28 billboards)

If you wanted to buy billboard advertising in Atlanta, Georgia for a year, the annual cost would be the (number of months) times (the minimum number of billboards) times (the cost per billboard).

12 x 28 x $2,500 =  $840,000

For a smaller market, like Ann Arbor, the cost would be much less:

12 x 3 x $1,500 = $54,000

The numbers above were taken from the Lamar Advertising website in August 2013

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Will it cost less if you buy a digital billboard or rotary billboard which is shared with other advertisers?

The short answer is not necessarily. Digital billboards and rotary billboards are generally placed in high traffic areas like highways. Since billboards are priced on how many people see your advertisement, being one of several advertisers on a digital or rotary billboard may get your ads more eyeballs than a billboard in a less high traffic location.

Will the size of the billboard impact the price?

Yes, but you’re not paying for the size.

Larger size billboards tend to be built in higher traffic areas, can be seen from farther away, and tend attract more attention. All these factors are taken into consideration in figuring out how many people are likely to look at a billboard. Pricing for billboards is highly dependent on the number of locally based adults that look at the billboard. This number is called in-market impressions. The term impressions (in the context of OOH advertising) means the number of people to actually likely to look at a billboard. Daily effective circulation (DEC) refers the number of adults that pass by a billboard and could potentially see the ad. If a billboard salesperson is talking about DEC and not in-market impressions, I would be very careful about buying what they are offering.

For a very informational and useful set of definitions related to billboard advertising, visit the glossary section on Traffic Audit Bureau website. Also, the site has a Market Locator tool that enables you to find local billboard advertising opportunities from the biggest firms like: CBS Outdoor, Clear Channel Outdoor, and Lamar Advertising.

What are the standard size billboards for sale? (sizes will vary by company)

  • Bulletin – The largest size billboard. They range in size from 10’ High x 30’ Long to  14’ High x 48’ Long
  • Poster / 30 Sheet Poster- A medium size billboard, typically 10’5” High x 22’5 Long
  • Junior Poster / 8 Sheet Poster – The smallest billboard, typically around 5’ High x 11’ Long.
  • Digital Billboards – They come in a range of sizes.  The largest ones can be 20’ x 60’. Typically, a new ad will be displayed every 6 to 10 seconds.

How much does it cost to actually make the physical advertisement?

The production costs for making a billboard advertisement are relatively minimal. Printing an advertisement on vinyl for a bulletin billboard (almost 700 square feet of material) will cost around $500. To ballpark production costs per billboard, take the area of the billboard in square feet and multiply it by $0.80.  If you’re printing on paper instead vinyl (requirement will be provided by billboard company), the production costs will be from $50 to $100 per billboard. There will also be costs to designing the billboard. Budgeting $500 to $1,000 for billboard design would be wise. Where in most cases Fit Small Business recommends hiring a designer from a freelancer site, this is a case where you definitely want a designer with extensive experience creating billboard ads.

That’s our article for today.  If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below.  Also be sure to read the next article in our offline marketing series where we discuss how to network for business on limited time.

More Ways To Advertise

Advertising with Coupons
Facebook Advertising
Radio Advertising
Direct Mail
Newspaper Ads

Comments (176)

      • Mrinmay Biswas said on

        thanks Mark, for your very helpful information.can u tell me how much one ad agency can earn from a led bilbord advertising,,what is the tariff or spot charg for 10 second time..and how meny ad one can run at a same time..

  1. said on

    Very well informative article. I was considering a billboard and you provided all the information needed. Good job.

    I have one suggestion for this blog, I don’t see a subscription field to enter my email so I can receive your new articles in my email. Please add it (if you’re using wordpress, there are many plugins that you can use to add this to your side menu).

    Keep on writing

    • said on

      What a wonderful “compliant”! You should be seeing a number of pop-ups ads on the site that allow you to sign up for free e-books. When you sign up, you should also be getting on our main mailing list. Thanks, Marc

  2. tara said on

    I own a building that is leasing space for a 12′ X 24′ digital billboard. It is in a well traveled community in Long Beach, Ca. The lease is up, and I am wondering where I can find a fair market value for a new lease? How many years would you make a lease for?


    • said on

      The best way to get fair market value is pit the major billboard companies in your area against each other. Effectively hold an auction! My tendency would be to go for a longer-term lease, because the economy is strong you might want to lock in pricing. Good luck, Marc

    • said on

      Your question is very specific. Somewhere on the frame of the sign (or slightly above or below), there typically is a company name like Outfront, Lamar or Clear Channel. I would look for the name of the company and contact them. Good Luck, Marc

  3. ray samora said on

    I am interested in buying a digital billboard in my own location. All the manufacturers rave about the profits but cannot verify the actual profits from anywhere. have any advise thanks..

    • said on

      I would check with the three major billboard companies and see if they would have an interest in renting your billboard if you built it. Good Luck, Marc Prosser

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