How much does billboard advertising cost? It’s a question that’s on many a marketer’s mind post pandemic.
Tired of battling for attention in an increasingly saturated online marketplace, advertisers of all sizes are finding alternative ways to get their message across.
One of the most effective of these is undoubtedly out of home advertising (or OOH advertising). Free from the intrusiveness of online media, billboard ads and other outdoor advertising methods target consumers in neutral spaces where they’re open to receiving new messages.
But is billboard advertising affordable? And is it affordable for a small or local business with a limited marketing budget?
Whilst the exact answer to this question will depend on billboard location, billboard size and differing media owners’ rental rates, broadly, the answer is yes. In most cases, the price point for billboard advertising is affordable for SMBs – and the cost per mile (i.e., cost per thousand impressions or CPM) you get for your investment is one of the best in the business.
Different billboard dimensions (Source: hpshaiti.com)
Here’s what you need to know about billboard costs right now.
Billboard Advertising Cost Depends on Pricing Structure
The reason it’s difficult to provide a single, ballpark figure for billboard cost is that there are numerous pricing structures to get to grips with.
Typically, billboard advertisers pay for ad space using one of the pricing structures below:
- Fixed pricing for a set period:negotiated through a media agency or direct with the media owner, you pay a one-off fee for your billboard ad to be up permanently for a set amount of time.
- Loop pricing:used for ad space on digital billboards which play a sequence of ads on a loop, this model sees media buyers paying for a guaranteed number of playouts per loop, or for a playout every specified number of loops.
- Cost per playout:media owners charge every time your ad is displayed on their digital billboard.
- CPM pricing:The value of ad space is calculated through a CPM model – in effect, the cost per 1,000 impressions (views) received by the billboard. Here, the publisher will set their floor price CPM which will prevent advertisers from bidding below a certain price threshold.
Typically OOH billboards feature a lower CPM with a high number of impressions. It’s therefore important to pace a campaign budget so the impressions aren’t front loaded into the campaign and used quickly, within a short space of time – unless of course, that is your campaign goal.
Conversely, place-based inventory has a higher CPM as advertisers are often using the inventory for contextual advertising with the intent of reaching specific audiences at specific – often peak – times. Moreover, prospects that are in a place-based environment, tend to have a higher dwell time. As the goal of every brand campaign is ad retention and recall by an audience, necessarily, the CPM is higher, as they are reaching an audience when they are perhaps at their most receptive and at a point in their day where they are time rich.
A point to note – fixed pricing is used mainly for print billboards, whilst digital signage tends to use loop pricing, cost per playout, or CPM.
With the rise of programmatic digital OOH (pDOOH), charging based on CPM is fast becoming the standard for digital billboard ads. This model offers buyers greater transparency about how far their money goes when buying billboard advertisements and greater flexibility in deciding which audiences to target.
How Much Does a Billboard Cost Per Day?
Typically, fixed price billboard rentals are advertised as either a monthly billboard rental cost, or a fixed fee for a one or two-week slot. Your ad is shown permanently during this period.
Small business marketing site Marketing Donut suggests that the average cost of billboard advertising is around £200 ($260) per week for a standard 48-sheet hoarding. An ad on the side of a bus station on a busy high street could cost around £300 ($395) for two weeks’ exposure.
To break this down into a rough daily figure:
- Larger billboards cost around $37 per day
- Smaller billboards cost around $28 per day
How Much Does a Digital Billboard Cost?
Whilst a traditional billboard displays your printed ad for the entire period of the rental, a digital billboard plays a selection of ads, often in a loop.
This means that pricing tends to be based on a cost per playout, loop pricing or CPM. Exact figures for cost per playout and loop pricing are difficult to come by thanks to the amount of variables involved. Indeed suggests that for a significant presence on a digital billboard, you could spend anywhere from $1,200 to over $15,000 per month.
How Much Does Buying Based on CPM Cost?
According to recent research by PJ Solomon, you can expect to pay an average of anywhere from $2-10 per thousand impressions for a static billboard ad, and between $4.5-32 per thousand impressions for a digital billboard ad.
If you want to buy digital ad space programmatically by using a demand side platform to automatically bid on inventory that meets your own specified criteria, you’ll buy based on CPM. This is beneficial to advertisers because:
- Your OOH campaign forecasting is more accurate:buying based on impressions helps you gauge the reach of your campaign and strategize accordingly.
- You pay for performance: you know how much reach a billboard has before you buy it – you might pay a premium for city center billboards but you’re likely to get a better return on your spend thanks to increased foot traffic.
How Effective Is Billboard Advertising?
Asking what you get for your money is just as important as asking how much billboard advertising costs.
Billboard advertising – and OOH advertising in general – is one of the most cost-effective ways of targeting mass audiences. Recall rates for OOH ads are significantly higher than for all major media, and you pay the least out of all major advertising methods based on CPM.
This visibility makes billboard advertising a great tool for brand exposure.
When you buy programmatically, you can add the ability to specify your target audience to the list of benefits. Programmatic DOOH advertising allows you to set conditions for your ads – for example, foot traffic, temperature, volume of vehicle traffic – and only ever pay when these conditions can be met, meaning that your investment is significantly more likely to generate a good return.
Finding the Right Digital Billboard Rental Method for You
Renting a traditional billboard for a fixed period is probably your cheapest option – but it probably won’t the most effective. To access the audience targeting and performance-related payment benefits pDOOH offers, you need to be open to CPM pricing.
If you do want to unlock the benefits of going digital via programmatic DOOH, you’ll need a reliable bidding platform to use to get your billboard ads out there.
The Neuron is an intuitive pDOOH platform that connects you directly to inventory owners nationwide, removing the need for expensive, third-party intermediaries. Real-time metrics offer immediate insight into OOH campaign performance, so that you can strategize, optimize and get the best possible return on your billboard ad investment.
If you want to find out how much billboard advertising costs, then contact The Neuron today.