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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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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



Guest Sean Corbett

Posted

I just moved across Canada, so got to check out every billboard on the way.

Most have way too much text, or vague messages.

The best one I saw was for a roadside motel.

It was just their logo and this huge text:

WAFFLES

WIFI

Link to comment
Guest Neville

Posted

Bahhahaha.....what else do you need besides Waffles & WiFi!!?!?!
Link to comment
Guest Sean Corbett

Posted

Exactly!

Well, maybe Water Slide.

But anyway that was my favorite succinct copy lesson from the trip.

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Guest Gloves Off! Everything Comes Off! Eight Points to a Better Guide to Billboard Advertising

Posted

[…] matters.  Contrary to KK’s list of the top 10 largest billboard companies in the United States, the actual largest billboard companies, in no particular order are: a. Outfront Media b. Lamar […]
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So much good stuff here.. thanks a ton. So much effort must have gone into it. Will you please add what results are you getting or expecting? (Did I miss it anywhere in the post :-)
Link to comment
Guest Mark Gavagan

Posted

Respectful copy suggestion:

"Better Writing = More MONEY!"

(logo / url)

Link to comment
Guest Ashish Narang

Posted

That's really shocking to spent so much money on a billboard. I would wait for the article when you post return you get from this.
Link to comment
Guest Neville

Posted

Hey Ashish, this billboard post wasn't necessarily about getting a RETURN from the billboard. I would have profited far more from a DIGITAL product by post a DIGITAL ad on Facebook or some copywriting groups.

This was more to demonstrate how to create a billboard :)

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Guest Neville

Posted

Hey Ari, this post wasn’t necessarily about getting a RETURN from the billboard. I would have profited far more from a DIGITAL product by post a DIGITAL ad on Facebook or some copywriting groups.

This was more to demonstrate how to create a billboard :)

Link to comment

Love your course ! Long time listener first time caller....All my employees have a copy on their desk and a must read first week o employment requirement! I have been creating ads/ content for digital signs and billboards since 1999. I have used this concept of less is more since my first job with sign manufacturer as a trainer on sign software. am your #1 fan!

Signing up for the whole course this week. I have bought many items in past. This is a great price for the return it promises. Thanks for your wit and making it “easy” to get my people trained, I will be recommending this at at a Seminar I a, speaking at end of month on content for digital displays.

Link to comment
Guest David Alger

Posted

I used a bill board twice for our improv theater.

Did you post the results of the billboard campaign?

Our campaign got about 3 students so it broke even in the long run. Plus it was an exciting experiment in the short run.

Took your original course several years ago. It was one of the best courses I have ever taken and I have taken many. Just enough information to be usable without overload. Highly recommended.

Link to comment
Guest Ian Bowman-Henderson

Posted

Hey Neville,

I think your assessment about fragmentation within the billboard industry is spot on. I work for the biggest DSP in the space (yes there are DSPs for billboards), and we recently launched a site for SMBs that is basically Expedia for Billboards. Might be of use to readers of this post? The URL is billboardsin.com. It would be so awesome if you would be willing to include it in this excellent post.

Hope you are having a stellar day!

Link to comment
Guest Dash Two

Posted

Billboard Advertising is the best way to spread your business like a fire. Thanks for this great post telling the brief about billboard advertising.
Link to comment

I agree with you on posting not many words on the board..need to get their attention quick...with alot of stuff on the

ad your ad is lost...and they will just drive by....I think coffee mug advertising is a great think...better than a billboard, in a smaller town...direct mail works great....and social media to...billboard advertising is to expensive....seen alot of businesses spend thousands of dollars and thought they would be clean up...but the never renewed the billboard...what does that tell u.

don't waste your money unless you got plenty to waste....if you do minimize your words...

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Guest Planmyad

Posted

Nice Post.

The sign looks great!.

Outdoor advertising is an advertising strategy that reaches consumers. It is considered a mass-market media.

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Guest Billboard Advertising – CUDAAN CURATION

Posted

[…] copywritingcourse.com […]
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Guest Let’s Make a Freeway Sign For a Gym Together! :: Copywriting Course

Posted

[…] Billboard Advertising Experiment  |  Street Advertising Experiment […]
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