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How Much Does it Cost to Run a Billboard?
There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding billboard advertisements. Namely, people tend to either overestimate – or underestimate the time and resources required to run a successful billboard campaign. The true answers may surprise you! Take a look at some of the most common questions we receive about billboard advertisements – and the answers we provide to clients to help guide them in the right direction.
Q: What are the costs associated with creating and placing a billboard advertisement?
A: Most people hope for a simple answer, but there really isn’t one. Every market is different so there are no set cost. Some billboards’ prices are based on traffic counts on particular roadways. Additionally, left versus right hand reads can have an impact in negotiations. Digital versus static boards are priced differently. Poster sizes versus large bulletins also throw in a variance.
The bottom line is your desired placement will impact your budget. Conversely, your budget will impact the placement you can afford. If you can be flexible, there may be a perfect compromise to fit your needs! Additionally, keep in mind that beyond the placement of a billboard, you must also account for any printing and design costs that are necessary to bring your billboard to fruition.
Q: How do costs of static billboards compare to digital billboards?
A: Typically, digital billboards are priced higher than static billboards. The reason for this is the value in the flash of different ads tends to draw the eye. The other reason (and interestingly most advertisers do not do this) is you can run multiple creatives on the digital boards. You can also day-part them for certain ads running during certain hours of the day. Again, it all depends on size and location. The higher traffic/premium placement billboards are more expensive. It all comes down to your budget as well as want you want to achieve.
Q: Is there a minimum budget people should be prepared to spend to run a billboard?
A: Every market is different and every client has different goals, objectives and target audiences. For this reason, every business’s minimum budget for running a billboard campaign is going to vary. For an effective campaign, you rarely/never only run one billboard. You should run a campaign of multiple billboards spread out strategically. For the Central Pennsylvania region, we advise businesses that a minimal billboard campaign will cost between $3,000-$5,000 for at least 3 months.
Q: What’s the minimum amount of time you should run a billboard?
A: Remember, a billboard’s main use is to brand your business. Typically, it takes 8-12 months of consistent advertising to effective brand your business in the community and to start seeing results. If you come with the expectation that running a billboard for 2 months is going to make the register ring, you are probably doing to be disappointed. We strongly suggest to clients a 3 month to 6 month minimum, unless it is promoting an event that has a shorter duration for its promotion.
Q: What’s the most effective way to utilize billboards to brand your business?
A: The most effective way to utilize billboards is to have a long term strategy in place. Allow the media to do what it is meant to do. Use it solely as a brand vehicle for an initial 8-12 months, then you can use it for more of a retail approach with either service or cost messages included in the creative. Billboards are great for directional advertising. They are also a great branding tool. Additionally, they work very well in conjunction with radio because you are typically in your car when exposed to both mediums.
Q: What are the industry’s best practices for effective billboard advertisements?
A: The most important (and most often broken) “rule” of effective billboard advertising is to never put more than 7 words in the creative. Your business’s logo should be the largest part of the creative. Too many clients rely on images and message to drive the creative but the customer has no idea who the advertiser is because the logo is too small!
Trust your sales rep or marketing company to help you determine how many is the right number of billboards to place to meet your objectives. The outdoor advertising companies have formulas in place as to how many boards are needed to reach a certain portion of the market. Lastly, rotate your locations each cycle. If you have a long-term commitment with an outdoor advertiser, rotate your locations every cycle to ensure you continue to build reach in your plan. This will also help you to get built in gratis override on old locations each month.
To sum it all up, be strategic about timing and location of placement; work with your advertising rep to find out if there is any remnant digital inventory at a lower cost to boost an ongoing campaign; rotate your boards monthly so that your presence seems larger than it may be; and don’t be afraid of big, bold creative! Remember you only have a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention – so make it count!
Do you have questions about whether or not a billboard is a good fit for your business’s advertising strategy? Let us help you answer them! Leave a comment below or contact us today to learn more about the ins and outs of billboard advertising!