Billboard advertising remains very effective today. In spite of technology and digital media taking over most advertising formats, billboards are still very popular among companies and marketers too.
Actually four of the 10 biggest billboard spenders are tech companies (Apple, Google, Amazon, and Netflix). Billboards work very well because they are perceived as helpful by consumers, are trusted and more memorable than digital and print advertising.
Billboards as part of Out-of-home advertising is one of the most effective ways of advertising. Since the rise of the internet, marketers and advertisers have started a race to conquer the digital world, but unlike internet banners, consumer’s attention outdoors is higher than when browsing online, due to the fact that there are fewer distractions. Besides, billboard prices are very competitive.
1. The four main factors influencing billboard costs
The cost of running a billboard advertising campaign varies mainly according to four factors: location, campaign length, billboard clarity and size. There are other factors such as type of billboard, volume (how much rental space are your buying) and the period of the year which could also influence the final price, however the first four aspects are always to be taken into account.
Let’s take a look at how they actually affect prices, why they do and how you can operate accordingly.
This is a major determining factor on the billboard final rental costs. Not every location carries the same influencing power, spots where footfall is higher and consumers have a higher income would ultimately be more expensive to rent as opposed to more isolated places in rural areas with high unemployment rates.
Football refers to the number of passers-by that could potentially see your ad, these include pedestrians and vehicle traffic. Therefore busier locations are more expensive, for example, Picadilly Circus in London – one of the busiest spots in the world – has a footfall of over 2 million people a week, making it one of the most desirable and expensive advertising spots.
83% of people admit remembering OOH ads they saw within the last 30 min of going shopping (Outsmart, Window of Influence, 2011)
Location is a fundamental aspect of billboard pricing as it has a relevant impact on the results of any campaign. Choosing the ideal site for your campaign involves understanding your audience and possessing a good knowledge of the demographics in the chosen sites.
Billboards come in different sizes, to be more precise, there are 4 different standard size: 6 sheet, 16 sheet, 32 sheet, 48 sheet and 85 sheet. Obviously, the larger the billboard, the more expensive it would be.
There is common reasoning behind this, and the fact of the matter is that a massive 96-sheet billboard will have a bigger impact than a smaller one which is more likely to remain unnoticed. Large billboards will eventually be seen by more consumers, and more impressions means higher costs.
In regards to pricing, it is important to consider that larger billboards would have higher production costs. While more digital billboards are being placed everywhere in the world, the costs of billboard rent might decrease as this will allow sharing the same spot to different advertisers.
3. Viewing Clarity
This parameter refers to the peripheral viewing space a billboard can cover, for example, a billboard behind a bridge that is partially covered means reduced impressions on passers-by, billboard whose visibility is obstructed by objects or nearby constructions will not have the same value and price. On the other hand, billboard located in open space areas and those ones whose visibility could reach long distances would have higher costs.
4. Display Period
Display periods refer to the length of advertising rental period – how long your ad will be on the billboard for. The length of the display period obviously carries a lot of weight in the final cost of your campaign.
Longer campaigns would involve higher costs. Billboard advertising spaces are usually sold in cycles of at least 2 weeks, and the basic starting prices are around 250 pounds per week, however, prices can go as low as 210 pounds a week when booking an entire year.
Like many other marketing channels, billboards are undergoing a transitional period towards a more digital format. Eventually in the future, thanks to program tic buying, display periods would more flexible allowing advertisers to alternate two different banners during the same period of time, lower costs and more control over showtimes would facilitate the buying work.
The number of billboards you would rent for your campaign might help you reduce the general costs. This rule applies to many sales, large quantities get cheaper prices as opposed to just a single item purchase.
Time of the year
Although the time of the year would not make a great impact on the final cost of your billboard campaign, it could mean an increase in the price as opposed to other times. For example, Christma which is particularly busy as most brands want to make sure their product reach as many consumers as possible to maximise sales during this period.
Therefore the cost of out of home advertising is higher, so is for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. If the demand for a billboard rental site goes up, the prices might rise quickly.
Larger billboards would incur higher production costs (let’s leave aside billboard rental costs for large banners as we already mentioned it above), also bus advertising could be a more affordable option rather than large billboards places all over the busiest spots.
Backlit illuminated digital posters are more expensive to print than regular paper billboards, although the latter usually attracts more attention than traditional printed ones.
The average cost of billboard advertising
Below I have placed several tables indicating billboard pricing in several cities across the United Kingdom according to the different locations and billboard sizes such as shopping centres, 96 sheet billboards.
Billboard advertising costs by media outlet 48 Sheet billboards
Billboard advertising costs by media outlet 96 Sheet billboards
How long should I rent a billboard for?
Before deciding how long you would like to rent a billboard site, get advice from an expert marketer. The length of your advertising campaign is really crucial in the success of your promotion.
How long time consumers and potential buyers are exposed to your ad would really determine the impact of this and how much brand recognition it would have built for your company.
While a two-week campaign can be effective (depending on your goals and the nature of your business), campaigns that last for at least 6 months deliver better results as it allows enough time to create a lasting impact on consumers ́minds and build a hint of brand recognition. One of the main advantages of choosing billboard advertising over any other format is its power to build brand recognition and trust at the same time.
On the other hand, a shorter campaign can be a great option to drive clients to stores or businesses promptly, especially when it comes to outdoor advertising.
Together with billboard rental costs, there can be additional costs which might not come up to your mind at first sight, these will be production costs (printing), designing (You might need to hire an advertising agency to create the whole campaign design, something powerful that at the same time speak volumes about your product in just one single image), in the design costs, you might need to hire a photographer or graphic designer.
In the odd case, you are not hiring an agency, a graphic designer or photographer could cost you somewhere around 300-2000 pounds depending on how much work your campaign requires. For example, It’s worth hiring a good designer with extensive experience in creating billboard ads.
Even though it could be more costly. Some media agencies usually charge extra for print production services. If in doubt, ask your agency about this. On average, printing a 48 sheet billboard in the UK cost around 200 pounds.
How big brands are using billboard?
Some of the newest and most innovative companies are using billboard advertising in their marketing strategy and have managed to see a big increase in sales and revenue which otherwise they would not have enjoyed.
How marketers and advertisers are leveraging billboard advertising? One of the commonest usages is brand awareness followed by sales activations and many times both goals at the same time.
How do I rent a billboard I would like to advertise on?
Most billboard spaces belong to different media outlets – the main two companies that operate in the United Kingdom are JCDecaux and Clear Channel UK – both are very large corporations whose markets are worldwide and possess an extensive network of Out-of-Home advertising slots including transit advertising and street furniture such as pole banners.
In order to get your ad placed in one of this location, it is probably best to contact an advertising agency. In most cases your ad will be placed in more than one billboard as part of the deal your media outlet will offer, and in many occasions, you might be required to rent it for a certain amount of time such as a month or trimester.
These requirements could be flexible and really depend on the media outlet rental policy.
Billboard advertising is very cost-effective way to promote your services and increase brand recognition, it is extremely effective at driving customers to store and build brand awareness for local companies.
As a matter of fact, if you have a small or medium-sized company looking to increase market presence in your area. Billboard advertising is probably one of the best options in order to achieve that.