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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



I did not read a single word on this page.....but looked at every picture ;).

I hope I win that t shirt

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Guest Neville

Posted

Bahahhaha.....not sure you're a top contender for the shirts, but I appreciate you looked at all the images :-P
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Guest Neville

Posted

Hey Kristan, thanks for sharing your presentation! We've both joined a small club of people who've designed billboards :)
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Guest Neville

Posted

Thanks Eddie! I think it's important to note that MOST commerce happens in the offline world, and there's a large amount of money to be made there (and often less sophisticated competition).

Glad this article helped your friend out :)

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Guest Neville

Posted

Thank you very much, I try to implement actual real world experiments into articles as much as possible!
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Guest Neville

Posted

You're very welcome Isa, glad you liked this little experiment :)
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Guest Neville

Posted

Yeah it's pretty hard to communicate a non-traditional product like copywriting training in 7 words....fortunately this billboard was made more just to DEMONSTRATE how to build a billboard :)

If you wanna see some other good billboards, check these out:

https://swipefile.io/billboards/

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Guest Neville

Posted

Glad you enjoyed Najeeb! I bought the billboard because it was actually SO HARD to find proper information and pricing without going through the whole process.
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Guest Neville

Posted

Super agree with you here R! It's why I didn't make much of an attempt at tracking this billboard. Even the billboard people said accurate tracking is super hard.
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Guest Neville

Posted

Bahhahaha, love how you took advertising into your own hands by posting it on your car...very creative :-P
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I was gonna ask if you can write something about car wraps design as well!

Planning get my window wrapped for my dog training business early next year, try to think what to write on them.

I have some thoughts as well and would love to hear yours.

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B bbbbbbut, but, but ... there's no benefit for your customer in your copy? Had to be said ;)
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Guest Neville

Posted

1.) Yes there is.

2.) This billboard was created to demonstrate how to buy a billboard. Spending $904 on a physical billboard for a digital product is probably already unwise :)

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I think the ROI will follow after this ranks #1 for "billboard advertising". 😃
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Guest Bill Board

Posted

OMG Neville,

I don't know where to begin. I admire your efforts to plan, design and buy a billboard. It can be a daunting task for those inexperienced in the Industry. There is so much to share, I don't know where to begin. Particularly at this late hour. As a 30+ year veteran in the billboard business in both selling, broker and ownership allow me to share for starters the following.

When buying one billboard for one 4 week period as you did, you do not need a 'broker'. The local billboard company sales rep should be more than capable in helping you.

Let's list a few items which might help you and others if there is a next time, and I hope there is, in OOH (billboard) buying:

1. A broker takes a fee. For what they did for you they should have NOT taken fee.

2. Very few companies charge or are able to charge an install fee. A broker worth their salt would negotiated without an install fee.

3. The market rates for printing is typically less than $1. per square foot. Much less. Since you had print and install charges listed as one. Not sure what you paid. A good broker would have negotiated from one of the dozens of large format printers around the country a rate at anywhere from .41 to .64 cents per square foot.

4. The largest OOH companies in the Country are:

a. Outfront Media

b. Lamar

c. Clear Channel Outdoor

d.Adams/Fairway

e. Everyone else is significantly smaller than the four listed above.

5. Almost no one uses the term 'sheets' when describing posters any longer as the single printed vinyl (which you acknowledged) has replaced both the process and the term name- to just poster.

I would recommend anyone having an interest in billboards or OOH as we in the Industry call it, begin with a visit to the Outdoor Advertising Industry's trade association known as the OAAA, or Outdoor Advertising Association of America. Their website http://oaaa.org is excellent and the staff superior in helping. Then call your local OOH sales company. Happy to share more. Another time. You are welcomed to check out my site at www. OOHToday.com

Thank you.

Bill

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Guest Why We Need OOH Buying Services.

Posted

[…] and eye tracking.  His blog and the 90+ comments are worth the read. Click the link to his blog Billboards by Kopywriting Kourse .  What catches your attention immediately and hopefully encourages you to read further, is the […]
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Guest Brian Ball

Posted

Nev,

I love this type of article. Lots of basic how-to with pictures and words. I counted no fewer than 181 elements of this write up. An image or a block of text was a single item. That's a Sh*t load of stuff for a single article.

Was thinking of which words I might have wanted to put on the billboard if I was using KopywritingKourse as the logo.

"Shhh.. these words are trying to work."

"Learn words. Work from home."

"Google: Billboard Stick Figure"

Anyway, thanks for sharing the data and linking to relevant resources.

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Guest Neville

Posted

Wow Bill, thanks for the great lowdown on the industry. Possible a shirt-worthy post :)
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Guest Neville

Posted

Thanks Brian! Yeah this article was pretty packed with stuff we kept adding over the 2-3 weeks it took to get this billboard made.

Good suggestions on the billboard, and glad ya liked this post, hope it was very helpful :)

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Guest Neville

Posted

It's kind of difficult to really pinpoint an increase in branded search traffic unfortunately :-/
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