The average billboard cost in the U.S. is $850 for a four-week campaign, and varies based on ad format, circulation, demographics, and impressions. Plan to spend from $750 to $1,500 a month for physical billboard campaigns in rural areas, $1,500 to $2,000 in small to midsize cities, and $14,000 and up in larger markets. Digital billboards can cost from $10 per seven-second spot to over $15,000, depending on the billboard’s location, ad duration, and frequency.
If your vision is big but your ad budget is small, try Blip Billboards’ self-serve digital billboard ads for as little as $10 a day. Your ad will display on a digital billboard for 7.5 to 10 seconds per “blip” based on your budget. Plus, with no long-term commitment, it’s risk-free to try.
How Much Billboards Cost in the U.S.
In the United States, how much billboards cost is determined by the geographic market, out-of-home (OOH) rating, and whether it’s a physical or digital board. Physical billboards cost from $750 to $14,000 a month (or more, depending on the market). Digital billboards cost as low as $10 a day per 10-second “blip” with Blip Billboards, or for dedicated digital billboards, from $1,200 to over $15,000 per month.
Average Billboard Cost by State
Billboard Costs in Representative U.S. Cities at a Glance
Physical Billboard Cost per Month
$950 to $2,000
$1,500 to $5,500
$1,450 to $4,000
$1,000 to $3,000
$1,450 to $7,000
$1,250 to $15,000
Digital Billboard Cost per Month
$1,450 to $3,000
$1,200 to $3,000
$2,450 to $5,000
$1,450 to $3,500
$2,500 to $5,000
$1,950 to $10,000
Data Source: BluelineMedia.com
Additional Billboard Advertising Costs
The billboard rental price is not the only expense that affects how much a billboard costs. Chances are you’ll want to hire a professional graphic or video designer, which ranges from around $150 with Fiverr freelancers to as much as $500 per hour. You’ll also need to pay for the cost of materials for physical billboards, and may need to pay for billboard installation.
Here’s a closer look at additional costs for billboard advertising:
- Design costs: The costs associated with billboard design typically range from a $150 one-time fee with a Fiverr freelancer to $150 to $500 per hour, depending on if you choose a freelancer or a professional billboard design agency.
- Materials costs: Vinyl is the standard material used for physical billboard ads, and it costs around $1 to $1.50 per square foot.
- Installation cost: This may be included in your monthly rental rate, but check with your provider to confirm.
Factors That Affect the Cost of Billboard Advertising
In most cases, billboard advertising cost is referenced in cost per mille (CPM), or cost per thousand impressions. These are affected by circulation, demographics, and impressions. Together, these factors inform the billboard’s out-of-home (OOH) rating, as determined by Geopath, an audience location measurement tool.
A billboard’s OOH rating is based on three factors:
- Circulation: Circulation is the total volume of traffic that passes the billboard, as derived from transportation authorities. The circulation does not take into account whether passersby see your ad.
- Demographics: A billboard’s demographics are a breakdown by age, gender, and income level of people who typically pass a billboard. Expect to pay more to advertise in locations that reach people with higher income levels.
- Impressions: Impressions are the likely number of people who actually see the ad, based on the size of the billboard, visibility, the speed at which people are passing, and other factors. This is derived from the circulation and the location of the billboard.
Pros & Cons of Billboard Ads
Billboards can be expensive, difficult to read, or inflexible, but may still be beneficial given their potentially high exposure and simple, targeted message. In addition to considering how much a billboard ad will cost, you should familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of billboard advertising before committing to a board.
|Potentially high exposure||Static location (unless using mobile billboards, such as vehicle-mounted ads)|
|Relatively low cost per impression||Short exposure period|
|Location targeting||Measuring effectiveness can be challenging|
|Effective for simple messages||The cost of billboards can be out of reach for small businesses|
|Reach a large, broad audience|
Traditional (Physical) Billboards vs Digital Billboards
Physical billboards have some advantages over digital billboard advertising. For example, placement of physical billboard ads is widely available because the infrastructure has existed for several decades in the U.S. Additionally, printed advertisements are not subject to glitches and power outages, unlike digital billboards.
On the other hand, digital billboards can be more effective as they are more dynamic, may be animated (and more attention-grabbing), and can be targeted based on time of day and more. Digital ads also provide small businesses on a budget with cheap billboard options. For example, with Blip Billboards, your ad budget can be as little as $10 per day.
Typically less expensive per impression
More dynamic, which make ads potentially more effective
More existing inventory
Better targeting with the ability to display ads during specific hours of the days or days of the week
Not subject to glitches
More flexibility as you can update and optimize ads quickly
Lower entry-point cost for rotating billboard ads
How to Choose a Billboard Location
Billboard location is the most important consideration when choosing outdoor advertisement. Factors that influence the effectiveness of a billboard include traffic speed, proximity of the sign to the road, and traveler destination. If you decide that a billboard is right for your business, evaluate several locations before choosing the one that will target the most potential customers.
The factors that play into the desirability of a billboard spot include:
- Traffic speed: People are more likely to see your ad if they’re on a congested highway than on a train route where travelers pass at 40 mph. Therefore, you should choose a billboard located on a street with a low-speed limit or on a roadway susceptible to traffic congestion.
- Proximity of the billboard to the road: The distance of a sign from the road affects how visible it is to passing drivers. For that reason, pick a location close enough to the road to be legible.
- Traveler destination: Consider whether you’re advertising your business to locals or people who are just passing through town. Also, consider whether people are likely to visit your business on the way to or from work.
This type of data is generally available from the company selling the billboard space. However, it’s also a good idea to visit the location before committing to billboard advertising. Make sure you analyze where your customer base is coming from and put the billboard exactly where they’re most likely to see it.
Pro tip: Consider buying a physical billboard directly across from your competitors that draws attention to your brand’s point of difference, or unique selling proposition. For example, the McDonald’s billboard below is poking fun at Starbucks’ sky-high prices.
Alternatively, you can research digital billboard locations regionally or nationally through providers like Blip Billboards. They have more than 1,600 billboards, you can search by state, and you can start with digital ads for as little as $10 per day per “blip.”
How to Rent a Physical Billboard Location
If you’ve already chosen a billboard location, note the advertising company next time you pass the sign. The company name is usually listed below the image on the structure itself. Some of the largest billboard companies in the U.S. are Lamar, Clear Channel, and CBS Outdoor, but there are many local and regional providers. How much a specific billboard will cost will largely depend on the provider and location.
Who Billboard Advertising Is Right For
Billboard advertising can work well in many scenarios, from building brand awareness to driving web traffic or generating interest in a cause. For example, young businesses can leverage local advertising on billboards to build a brand presence regionally. In fact, billboards located on highways that advertise local businesses are extremely actionable because the audience is already nearby.
In addition, billboards are a great way to promote brands that don’t necessarily need immediate conversions but want to generate leads, such as for a law or medical practice. If you’re still on the fence about whether or not billboard advertising is right for your business, consider the following questions:
- Does your product pass the eight-second rule? If you can’t make your pitch in eight seconds, billboards are probably not the right channel. The non-animated, static nature of traditional billboards is also ineffective if your message requires interpretation.
- Is your product relevant to a mass audience? If your product is only relevant to a small percentage of the population, you’ll waste a lot of money on “unnecessary” billboard impressions. For example, a distributor of vegan food products likely only appeals to the 7% of Americans who identify as vegan.
The main benefit of billboard advertising is that you can reach a large number of people within a specific geographical area. This is great for those starting a business and local businesses in general, whose target audience is very broad, yet within one geographic area.
Let’s take a look at some billboard examples and what types of businesses they’re best suited for:
Billboard Examples & Who They Are Best For
Everyone eats, so restaurant billboards are effective for local advertising. However, a local business that offers in-home chefs for high-end clients may not be a great candidate for billboards as it has a narrow audience.
Businesses that will do well with billboard advertising are:
- Retail stores
- Real estate agents
- Law firms
- Financial institutions
- Medical facilities
- Fitness centers
- Educational institutions
- Professional sports teams
- Home services (e.g., heating and oil, landscaping, construction)
- Nonprofits and public service announcements
Keep in mind that not only should billboard ads fit your audience type, but also your marketing goal. Generally, the purpose of billboards is not to convert buyers on the spot, but to boost general awareness of a local business, service, or organization. Below are some more examples of billboard ad designs that can generate brand awareness and help to drive web traffic or leads.
Companies with household names like Coca Cola don’t need to advertise. It’s not as if anyone has forgotten it exists and yet large, national companies like Coca Cola spend millions on advertising each year—billboard ads included.
Small business advertising typically uses billboards to generate local awareness (e.g., to let you know that there’s some great restaurant in town or a new apartment complex coming soon). Alternatively, large companies often use billboards to stay top of mind, which helps generate more sales.
Worried billboard ads might break the bank or not sure you want to commit to billboard ads? Try using Blip Billboards, where any business can advertise with any budget—no contract required. With Blip Billboards, your billboard design will appear as a 7.5- to 10-second “blip” on a rotating digital billboard, locally or nationally. Get started with Blip Billboards today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What other outdoor advertising options are there?
Billboards aren’t the only type nor the cheapest outdoor advertising option. For example, there are transit ads at subway, train, and bus stops. Lamp post banner ads and kiosks are great for visibility from foot traffic. Another form of outdoor ads are mobile ads, which appear on the sides of buses, trucks, and other large vehicles. They are more flexible than traditional billboards because they move with the traffic flow rather than being static.
How can I install a billboard on my property?
To install a billboard on your property, first look into local ordinances to confirm they’re permitted under local zoning regulations. Call your local city or county government to find out how your property is zoned. If consistent with zoning requirements, you can go ahead and construct the billboard yourself. Expect to invest around $2,000 to $10,000 for a standard billboard or $20,000 to $30,000 for a digital billboard.
Can I lease land to an advertising company for billboard ads?
Advertising companies like Lamar and Lang Media actively seek new locations for billboard advertising space and enter long-term leases with property owners for the use of their land. If you work with an advertising company, their team will typically handle everything, including construction, client acquisition, and replacing the ad. On average, expect to earn around 40% to 60% of the net revenue yielded by the sign.
Billboards are a great way to encourage viewers to take action or simply introduce your brand to a broad audience. How much a billboard costs depend on the format and potential reach of your ad. While vinyl billboards typically cost $750 per month or more in rural areas and $14,000 per month or more in larger markets, digital boards can cost $10,000 per month or more depending on the location.
The cost of billboard advertising can be formidable for a startup or small operation. However, Blip Billboard’s digital billboards allow you to build brand awareness at a fraction of the cost. Start for as little as $10 a day with a no-risk plan that doesn’t require a long-term commitment.
You Might Also Like…
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