First, know that the cost to own a billboard is different than renting space on a billboard. The scope of what we’re covering is strictly the cost to rent space on a billboard on a monthly basis along with the pros and cons of billboard marketing.
Depending on where you live and the size of the billboard, prices will vary. A billboard in a small, rural town may only cost a few hundred dollars a month. A billboard in a larger market like around here in Los Angeles may be $14,000 or more per month. And it may cost between $1,500-$5,000/month for a billboard in mid-size city.
Ultimately, the cost for the billboard is driven by the amount of impressions made by the billboard (the amount of times the ad is seen). Other factors like how close the billboard is in relation to the road, the typical amount of people in each car, and the traffic volumes all affect the cost of a billboard from city to city and even from one side of town to the other.
Don’t forget to add in the cost to have the vinyl for the billboard produced as well as the graphic design. Typically, you can count on a cost of about $.50 per square foot to have the vinyl produced (about $330 for a 14’x48’). Graphic design services are really going to vary, but something simple and professional may only cost a few hundred dollars.
It’s obviously large. At least when the billboard is first put up, most eyes that pass by will see it.
It can get multiple impressions for the same people. In other words, the same people may see it multiple times. While this may not seem like a pro at first, in a marketing sense it definitely is—especially if it’s the right people. The more times a person sees an ad, the more chances they’ll remember.
Good for large budget campaigns for a brand/product launch that are paired with other digital strategies.
Calls-to-action (CTA’s) are hard to enact and get people to do. Think about this, if a Google Adwords ad (ad in search results) gets an average of a 6% click through rate and the person only has to click, how much harder do you think it will be to get a person to see the billboard, remember, and go to a website (or whatever) later?
Multiple impressions to the wrong target audience. While getting multiple impressions to the right target audience can lead to good results, money is being wasted on all the impressions (views) by the wrong audience. In other words, it may be irrelevant to 90% of the people that see the billboard.
Very difficult to track conversions. Adversely, digital campaigns can be virtually tracked at nearly every step of the customer’s journey.
People who showed some interest can’t be re-targeted. There may be some interest by the people viewing the billboard on the way to work, but without knowing their interest, they can’t be shown another ad like it--it's hard to capitalize on the interest that's there. On the internet however, re-targeting (or what we call re-marketing) is possible and it's very effective.
Now, we’re not saying billboards shouldn’t be a part of your strategy at all, but we are saying that they shouldn’t be the first strategy or the only strategy for marketing your business.
The reality is that we all just want to advertise where people are. A majority of people in the world have a mobile device today—even some of the homeless community in the United States.
We encourage you today, no matter the stage of your business, to think digital first, then expand into traditional marketing (like billboards) to accompany great online marketing strategies. If done well, the cost per reach will be cheaper, you can actually create conversions (sales), and everything will be tracked. Head over to this link here to discover more marketing opportunities for your business.