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Monthly billboard rents are $500-1,500 in rural areas and $1,000-20,000 in big cities.  That’s a substantial investment for a business.  Here are 6 tips to help you generates the maximum exposure from your billboard investment.

(1) Ask for weekly impressions or weekly circulation data

This will allow you to calculate a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) so you can compare the cost effectiveness of your billboard investment versus other forms of advertising.

  • Weekly impressions. Most large out of home advertising companies subscribe to Geopath’s rating service.  Geopath is an independent rating service which calculates weekly impressions for billboards.  Geopath begins with  weekly count of all impression of people passing a billboard.  Geopath adjusts the weekly impressions based on eye tracking technology to determine how many people who passed the billboard each week were likely to have seen it.
  • Daily or Weekly Effective Circulation. Geopath is an expensive service and many out of home companies do not subscribe to geopath.  In that case ask for daily or weekly effective circulation.  Most state and local governments keep traffic counts on streets.  Your out of home company should be able to give you a daily or weekly effective circulation for any billboard which is not Geopath-audited.

(2) Right is better than left

Try to buy a billboard on the right side of the road. This is known as a right hand read. These billboards are closer to the viewer and are much easier to read than a billboard which is a left hand read across several lanes of oncoming traffic. Here’s a billboard with a right hand read off the freeway.

Now look at the same board as a left hand read off the same freeway. This is still a good board but there’s a reason that the right hand read is more expensive to rent. It’s closer and more visible to traffic.


(3) Low is better than high

Most billboards are 20-50 feet above ground. Be very careful about buying a billboard which is 100 feet above ground. You get fewer views the farther you are away from the road grade and it’s hard to read the message on a 100 foot tall billboard. If you drive I-85 from Atlanta to Montgomery the empty billboards are almost always the tall billboards. They are harder to read. Can you read this 100 foot high billboard?


(4) Look for long read

This means 6-8 seconds of uninterrupted view.  Curves, hills and intersections promote your read.  A billboard on a curve is usually great because it faces almost straight down the road at an approaching driver.  This board will have a 6-8 second uninterrupted view.


Traffic light and intersection billboards are great because drivers must stop.

(5) Lights matter

A lighted billboard is crucial for casinos, gas stations, hotels, pubs and restaurants which want to generate business from after dark travelers.

(6) Avoid a blocked view

A good billboard with a tree problem is a bad investment. Ask for a recently taken approach shot or approach video for the billboard to make sure the billboard can be seen. On my travels I see lots of billboards which have no visibility due to trees or vegetation. Often it looks like the billboard has been sold to a national advertiser who probably doesn’t know they are wasting money on that particular board because they are lots of billboards at once. These boards have an extremely short view because of vegetation.


And this billboard is a complete waste of money.


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