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Billboard Advertising Guide: Costs, Tips, Effectiveness & More


Neville

billboard advertising

We rented a KopywritingKourse billboard for $904 for a month! [Jump down to see].

However in researching how to buy a billboard, it was nearly impossible to find much helpful information.

So we've compiled everything we've learned about advertising on a billboard into one helpful guide:

 

 

 

Where to buy billboards:

Billboards are all fragmented. You can have individual Mom-And-Pop style outfits that sell space on their private billboard, or big companies like Lamar Advertising.

Here are the top 10 billboard advertising companies in the United States:

If you enquire about advertising with them, you will most likely be assigned a local "billboard broker" who will help you.

The billboard industry seems pretty old school and fragmented.

 

 

 

How Much Does a Billboard Cost (Pricing)?

There’s two primary costs associated with a billboard:

Cost #1.) Printing and posting the billboard.

Cost #2.) Renting the billboard.

Printing a billboard is between $400 and $1,000 depending on size. I was actually surprised how cheap this part of the process was.

For some reason I assumed printing 300 sqft of sign would be extremely expensive. However the cost was pretty reasonable.

Just like real estate, it completely depends on WHERE you want your billboard.

After requesting samples of billboards we could rent around Austin, here were 3 billboards within our $1,500/mo budget:

billboardrates.png

 

Billboard #1:

Description: Located in north Austin, this bulletin targets traffic heading north towards Pflugerville, Round Rock & Georgetown, which avoids traffic on I-35.

Size (in feet): 14' x 48'

Weekly Impressions: 91,542

Rental Cost Per Month: $495

Printing and Posting Costs: $1,000

Total Cost: $1,495

-outdoor-billboard-pricing-sheet

 

Billboard #2:

Description: Located in north Austin, this bulletin targets traffic heading north towards Pflugerville, Round Rock & Georgetown, avoiding traffic on I-35.

Size (in feet): 12' x 40'

Weekly Impressions: 58,808

Rental Cost Per Month: $350

Printing and Posting Costs: $792

Total Cost: $1,142

outdoor-billboard-pricing-sheet

 

Billboard #3: (The one we rented)

Description: Located on the east side of Austin, this bulletin targets traffic heading towards downtown Austin.

Size (in feet): 12' X 24'

Weekly Impressions: 33,692

Rental Cost Per Month: $400

Printing and Posting Costs: $475

Total Cost: $875

Address: 2609 E Cesar Chavez St.

outdoor-billboard-pricing-sheet

Since we're spending all this money as just a "fun experiment" I decided on the cheapest billboard. After all the printing, rental, and taxes, the total cost of the billboard came to $904.

 

 

 

Billboard Sizes:

The way billboards are sized is with a "sheet" system.

Billboards are divided up into "sheets" that comprise of 27" x 40" inches sheets. Each sheet is limited to how big most commercial printing machines can print.

The more sheets you have on a billboard, the larger it is (duh).

[table id=3 /]

The billboard we decided on was small enough (12' x 24') to be printed all at once with a huge vinyl printer. Here's the box it came in:

Kopywriting-Kourse_Turn-everyone-in-your

 

 

 

How to Design A Billboard:

There’s some interesting best practices when it comes to designing a billboard.

So here’s the information and best practiced we gathered from speaking with billboard designers and brokers.

From what we gathered, those are the primary guidelines for billboards. If you have any other advice, share it in the comments!

However we tried out 11 different versions of the billboard with slight variations between each. We then put each draft through a visual attention simulator to see where people were most likely to look at each version.

Our design specs for the billboard were aa follows:

  • 1" = 1’ ratio. (One inch equals one foot).
  • We needed a final file at 13" x 25" at 300 DPI. That includes a 1" bleed.
  • Art board can be sized to 12" x 24" with a 0.5" safe area.

 

Below you can see all 11 versions of our initial billboard drafts (with visual heat maps and eye tracking):

 

Version 1:

Plain white background. StickPerson looking to the right.

billboard mockup

 

Version 2:

Plain white background. StickPerson looking down.

billboard mockup

 

Version 3:

Plain white background. StickPerson looking up and to the right.

billboard mockup

 

Version 4:

Green background. StickPerson looking down.

billboard mockup

 

Version 5:

White and Green split background. StickPerson looking down.

billboard mockup

 

Version 6:

Yellow background. StickPerson looking down.

billboard mockup

 

Version 7:

Yellow and Green split background. StickPerson looking down. Waving hand is between the split background.

billboard mockup

 

Version 8:

Yellow and White horizontal split background. StickPerson looking down.

billboard mockup

 

Version 9:

Yellow and Green horizontal split background. StickPerson looking down.

billboard mockup

 

Version 10:

Yellow and Green horizontal split background with white logo. StickPerson looking down.

billboard mockup

 

Version 11:

Yellow and Green horizontal split background with black logo. StickPerson looking down.

billboard mockup

We originally put a web URL on all the designs, but in the end the head designer gave us this sage advice:

 

 

 

The KopywritingKourse Billboard!

So after spending a total of $904 and about 2 weeks of back-n-forth with the billboard broker, here's what came out.

Here's two examples of how the billboard looked before we rented it:

billboard-before.png

...and here's what it looks like now!

kopywritingkourse billboard

kopywritingkourse billboard

kopywritingkourse billboard

kopywritingkourse billboard

kopywritingkourse billboard

kopywritingkourse billboard

 

kopywritingkourse-billboard-Posted.png

 

kopywritingkourse-billboard-Posted2.png

 

kopywritingkourse-billboard-Posted3.png

 

kopywritingkourse-billboard-Posted4.png

 

kopywritingkourse-billboard-Posted5.png

 

kopywritingkourse-billboard-Posted6.png

If you’re in Austin, TX. Between Nov. 13th and Dec. 16th you can see this billboard.

Description: Located on the east side of Austin, this bulletin targets traffic heading towards downtown Austin.

Size (in feet): 12' X 24'

Weekly Impressions: 33,692

Rental Cost Per Month: $400

Printing and Posting Costs: $475

Total Cost: $875

Total Cost after taxes/fees: $904

Address: 2609 E Cesar Chavez St.

Dates Running: 11-6-2017 - 12-3-2017

 

 

 

Download This Whole Billboard Guide:

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-- Share with colleagues --

-- Download in PDF or Google Doc format --

Sincerely,

Neville N. Medhora - Proud father of a newborn billboard

 

P.S. Have you ever bought a billboard, seen a clever billboard, or designed your own billboard?? Tell everyone about your experience or results here!

 


User Feedback

Recommended Comments



You sir just spent $904 to make a blog post, this must be a new record!
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I did, actually.

I used to have my own company and at the very beginning (it was an e-commerce business), I thought that I might as well sell those things offline.

So, I ordered a bunch of vinyl banners... I put them all over the place. On the fence. At the entry gate. And a gigantic one on the building itself.

Within a week I had more customers in my store than orders online. It worked.

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Awesome post - be sure to share your results later!

What is the "visual attention simulator" tool you used to generate these heatmaps?

-Oleg

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Awesome post. This is something I would probably never do, but makes COMPLETE sense that you did!
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How close do you have to get to the billboard to make out the words "Kopywriting Kourse", Neville? Maybe it's my poor eyesight, but while I can read everything else written on the billboard easily in all of your images, I can only read your company name easily in one or two. Potential problem?
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The most brilliant one I've seen recently is an English school's billboard in Croatia featuring Melania Trump -- google it. But it wouldn't pass the 7-word test. :(
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I have just read D. Kennedy's "No BS Direct Marketing".

And my question is - how do you track results from this type of advertising?

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Perhaps you could have spaced out the words "Kopywriting Kourse" over two lines, to have your font bigger and more legible to squinty people like me?
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Guest Dan Ceballos

Posted

Very cool Neville!

The sign looks great!

Eventually when my chiropractic office gets “big enough” I will consider a billboard. (Maybe next to a cheesy PI lawyer).

Today’s blog is going into the swipe folder.

Thanks for sharing.

Dan

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Guest Antonio

Posted

A pretty creative use of billboards is from those who tried that channel... to be hired.

Who's the 1st one in history? I don't know...

Found about Bennett Olson quite far in time:

http://www.businessinsider.com/desperate-hire-me-bilboard-actually-got-this-unemployed-22-year-old-a-job-2012-5?IR=T

...now the link on the billboard points to his Linkedin profile that is quite good. Looks like the strategy worked for him :)

Now, I am inspired to be similarly shameless and let you know here about my initiative:

http://cool3dportrait.com

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Guest Felipe Trombini

Posted

I think in Billboard copy this past week.

Here im my city, aways is 3.546.548 works, photos, fireballs and annoying things.

I like to see a billboard like in a "Motion Blur Lenses".

You never go drive slowly to read a billboard.

(My good! In your city, the billboard is so tall)

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Guest prince campbell

Posted

Great, interesting, and informative post. I knew nothing about buying billboards. Surprised at how cheap the entire process was.
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Guest Scott Gurley

Posted

I used to work at a grand format printer (Commerce Color in St. Louis), they (and others) can print enormous signage... 14' x 48' is the most common bulletin board size in these parts... their printers are something like 16' or 18' wide 8-color inkjets essentially (that cost $$$$$$). They can also "weld" signage together to make epic size (building-sized) banners like you can see on their site http://www.commercecolor.com/

They once did a project so big they had to rent out the St. Louis Ram's dome (at the time) to lay it out on the floor for the client to see - they were up in the nosebleed section....

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Guest Dragomir

Posted

It must be strange for you doing a branding campaign like this one (considering you're more of a direct response person). I can imagine it was a lot of fun haha
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Yeah I also want to know what is the tool you use for those attention heatmaps.
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Guest Rick Siderfin

Posted

I'm sure you are ahead of me here, Nev, but your average biz owner has either little or no desire to turn everyone in his company into a copywriter. Now, if you took a BENEFIT of turning everyone in your company into a copywriter, (higher sales! better conversions!) and made THAT into your billboard, suddenly you would generate a lot more interest?

Also, the pastel colours you used don't look very attention-grabbing to me. Hopefully your great stick man will make up for that!

Feel like I am attempting to teach my grandmother to suck eggs here so be free to point out where I'm wrong. Eagerly looking out for the post to be updated with the results of the experiment in due course.

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Guest eric wagner

Posted

What was your ROI on the billboard?

How did you track that?

Traditionally billboards are only good for brand awareness.

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Sounds like the Billboard industry is ripe for a refresher! I love hearing about an old, antiquated industry.
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Guest Chantelle

Posted

Rick was reading my mind... if you only have 7 words, is this the copy that would inspire any kind of beneficial action from viewing the billboard. It doesn’t tell a benefit and actually implies a huge cost of teaching something to EVERYONE in my company (without giving any reason why I should or making me curious enough to look it up).

I’m extremely curious how you measure effectiveness of this billboard location vs the copy that was used?

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Look for an increase in branded search traffic from your the city you put the billboard in.
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Guest Matt Monroe

Posted

Fascinating post, Neville. Thanks for putting this all together. And thanks for being the sort of person willing to conduct experiments like this.

Just a few quick thoughts... It's really quite surprising just how inexpensive billboard advertising is, especially the whole "monthly renting of the billboard" part. But this also makes me think to myself: "Hmmmmmm... How much would it cost to have a billboard built –– that is, the metal and wood structure? And what restrictions might there be in terms of placement and location?" If I could get ten billboards built and placed around town, rent them out for an average of $500 per month AND keep them rented, well, that's $60,000 a year (gross), for what is effectively passive income.

Not too shabby.

And THAT would be a hell of an experiment.

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