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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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-- Keep in your files --

-- 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



No substitute for getting in front of people eyeballs... Get in their faces (in a nice way, with a clear message), that's the game.
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Guest r.dernister

Posted

One way to track results from billboard ads is simply to ask new prospects when they contact you how they learned of your business. This should be standard operating procedure anyway.
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Guest r.dernister

Posted

Eric, that's fine . . . if you have only one billboard in that city.
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Guest r.dernister

Posted

Matt, don't forget you either must own or rent the land (or side of the building)where your board is displayed. This can be a significant cost. Also, apparently this industry still functions through brokers, so obviously they'll get their cut, too. And, of course, there are repairs, the cost of workers to put up and take down new signs . . . it's not entirely passive income.
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Guest Nicholas Harper

Posted

Hello,

I am selfish and did not see how I could benefit from what you were offering.

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This is so cool! Like a lot of other people, I've grown up seeing billboards my whole life, but I never thought much about what goes into them or how they perform. VERY interesting application. Congratulations on being a new billboard dad!
Link to comment
Guest Cesar Gil

Posted

I work at an adverting agency and part of it is buying billboards for companies. We recently tried an experiment for ourselves and put our own billboard upside down lol.

It definitely drew attention and got our network noticing, but it did come off as a head scratcher for a lot of people who didn't know who we were or what we do (aka 99.9 percent of people).

See it here http://www.onestopmg.com/portfolio-item/billboards/

Link to comment
Guest Matt Monroe

Posted

Well, sure... There are outside and additional costs associated with the actual construction of a billboard, plus placement fees, repairs, etc... And I suspect those various costs would suck up about a third to half the profit. But still, if you're making $30,000 to $40,000 (net) a year off of ten simple billboards, that ain't too shabby. That would certainly pay my mortgage, and heating bills, and property taxes, and coffee habit.
Link to comment
I wish everyone in my company was a kopywriter. I sign anyone who is going to write for me up for your newsletter, as a start, anyway!
Link to comment
Guest Dora Winters

Posted

Hi Neville ;)

What a kool experiment! Thanks for sharing. I personally like the pastel colors you used - very easy breezy on the eyes in my opinion.

Years ago I recall reading about a father who’s daughter went missing. He was desperate to find her and rented a billboard with her picture on it with a reward for anyone who’s seen her. Eventually the cold case was solved. I know this may be unrelated to the type of business marketing ads everyone is talking about here.

But I really just want a T-Shirt. :D

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Guest Neville

Posted

Oh snap, that's an awesome testimonial for offline advertising :)

Maybe email those pics to me, would love to see!

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Guest Neville

Posted

Hey Oleg, I purposely didn't wait till the end to write this, because it's SUPER hard to legitimately track the results from this, other than by anecdotal evidence.
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Guest Neville

Posted

I bet if you made a billboard for a chiropractors office it would work. Maybe a billboard RIGHT ABOVE the office with something like:

Get snap, crackled, and popped right here

Voted top chiropractor in Austin.

Come in for a free evaluation.

We've actually done billboards like this for emergency health care clinics and it's worked!

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Guest Neville

Posted

The pictures make it look wonky. It's relatively easy to read it in person!
Link to comment
Guest Neville

Posted

Bahahhaha just looked it up.

Ya know....they told me about the 7 word test, but I haven't seen any HARD EVIDENCE of it. So I think that billboard will still pass :)

Link to comment
Guest Neville

Posted

Honestly I think it's relatively difficult, as you can't POSSIBLY track attention of a billboard closely as an ad on Facebook. However there's a few rudimentary ways to track:

-- Look for increased search volume in an area.

-- Give a specific phone number to call, and track number of calls.

-- Give a specific "discount code" for people to use online.

-- Tell people to go to a physical store and give a secret code.

Other than that, tracking results from a billboard is a bit difficult compared to online tracking.

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Guest Neville

Posted

Bahahhaah....wrong billboard!

...although now I want some coffee too :)

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Guest Neville

Posted

Very true. However most billboard tracking techniques are more like "estimates" than real numbers. It's one of the negative sides of advertising on a billboard vs online.
Link to comment
Guest Neville

Posted

Awesome Dan! Glad you liked it :)

I think putting up a billboard near a chiropractors office could actually work well!

Is your back all jacked?

- Pop on in for an evaluation -

- Voted top chiropractor in Austin -

- Office is right under this billboard! -

Heh heh, something along those lines!

Link to comment
Guest Neville

Posted

In the design section of this post I wrote why we removed the phone number or URL.

The head designer at the company wrote us this email:

People now days will jump on their phone and google text from a billboard. We do not recommend adding a URL on the board unless it is the entire board. Even then the majority of people will just search and not type the URL. The URL will not be legible with the rest of the text and the image especially because this board is not very large. Jared has sent me a screen shot of the logo enlarged to cover the URL. This allows the logo to be larger. The logo is the take away from this board and if it’s not large there will be no take away.

Also for billboards to work they need to be 7 or less words. Successful billboards follow the less is more motto. We recommend “Educate your company in Copywriting!”.

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Guest Neville

Posted

Bahahha, I actually like the last billboard on that post, where that woman tried to get Tyler Perry's attention with that billboard.

leading-lady-billboard.png

That's actually quite creative and bold :)

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Guest Neville

Posted

Right!? I seriously thought I would be spending thousands to get one made, not just a few hundred.

Glad you learned something here!

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Guest Neville

Posted

Holy crap, that's super interesting Scott! Possibly shirt-worthy share :)

I think I'm more fascinated by the tech and giant printers behind these billboards, than the actual billboards themselves!

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