The average billboard cost in the U.S. is $66,773 for a four-week campaign, and varies based on ad format, circulation, demographics, and impressions. Plan to spend from $750 to $2,000 a month for physical billboard campaigns in rural areas, $2,500 to $4,000 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.
How much billboards cost in the United States 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
Knowing how much billboard advertising costs will depend on the area you want to advertise in. States with larger markets, such as New York or California, will have much higher billboard costs than areas with smaller and more scattered populations, like Alaska or Kentucky. The interactive map below shows the average monthly cost of billboard advertising by state.
Average Billboard Cost by State
Billboard Rental Costs in Representative U.S. Cities at a Glance
Physical Billboard Cost per Month
$950 to $2,000
$900 to $2,000
$1,450 to $4,000
$1,000 to $2,000
$1,450 to $7,000
$2,500 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 $3,000
$2,450 to $5,000
$3,950 to $8,000
Population (Oct. 2023)
Additional Billboard Advertising Costs
The billboard rental price is not the only expense that goes into how much a billboard costs. Chances are that 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 with a design agency. 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 $70 one-time fee with a Fiverr freelancer or from $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 Billboard Advertising Costs
In most cases, billboard ad costs are 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 for outdoor advertising.
A billboard’s OOH rating is based on four 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.
- Visibility research: The probability of how visible your billboard will be to people in the area. This is determined by eye-tracking analysis and the speed at which people pass by your billboard.
- Reach and frequency: Reach is the likely number of people who actually see your ad, based on the size and location of the billboard. Frequency is the number of times your ad will likely be seen.
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 billboards 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
|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
|No engagement with users (unlike digital ads)
Traditional (Physical) Billboards vs Digital Billboards
Physical billboards have some advantages over digital billboard advertising. For example, installing 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.
Typically less expensive per impression
More dynamic, which makes ads potentially more effective
More existing infrastructure
Better targeting with the ability to display ads during specific days or hours
Not subject to glitches
More flexibility as you can update and optimize ads quickly
Full ownership of the ad space for the entirety of your campaign
Lower entry-point cost for rotating billboard ads
Check out some examples of physical and digital billboards:
How to Choose a Billboard Location
A key factor in determining how much to rent a billboard is its location—in fact, it’s 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.
These details are 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. It has more than 1,600 billboards, you can search by state, and you can start with digital ads for as little as $10 per “blip,” per day.
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 too. 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 billboard advertising to build a brand presence regionally. In fact, billboards located on highways that advertise local businesses are very actionable because audiences are 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 4% of Americans who identify as vegan.
Pro tip: Thinking of more ways to advertise your business locally? We’ve listed 27 local advertising ideas for small businesses.
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 or local businesses in general whose target audiences are very broad, yet within one geographic area. 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, and to generate foot traffic. Below are some more examples of billboard ad designs that can generate brand awareness and help drive web traffic or leads.