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Every form of media has advantages and disadvantages. We’re huge fans of outdoor advertising, and we think it has an edge on just about every different type. Even still, a couple of drawbacks simply come with the territory.

If you’re weighing whether to start a billboard campaign, or even if you’ve already run one before, you may want to know more about the pros and cons of billboards. Here’s a comprehensive list.


Billboard advertising has a lot of things going for it. Here are six pros of billboard advertising.

1. Billboards Get Results — It’s Proven

The most important consideration for any advertising campaign is whether it will work. For billboards, the answer is a resounding yes.

Dozens of studies have affirmed the effectiveness of billboard advertising. Consider:

  •       71% of people driving say they notice billboards
  •       37% say they look at billboards each time they drive past them
  •       24% of billboard viewers visited a store that day because of a billboard
  •       32% of billboard viewers went to a store they saw on a billboard later that week
  •       25% of billboard viewers went to a store immediately after seeing the billboard
  •       58% of billboard viewers learned about a restaurant from a billboard and later ate there
  •       56% of billboard viewers shared something funny they saw on a billboard with someone else

2. Billboards Are Hugely Cost-Effective

Most advertising is expensive. Billboards are not. Especially when compared to other advertising formats, billboards are extremely cost-effective. In media, this is measured by CPM, or the cost per mille, which means the cost of reaching 1,000 impressions. CPMs allow media buyers to compare different media to each other to see which is the most efficient—the lower the CPM, the better. These CPM stats from investment bank PJ Solomon tell the story:

  1.     Online Display: $0.80-$4
  2.     Out of Home/Billboards: $2-$9
  3.     Radio: $4-$25
  4.     Video: $8-$25
  5.     Cable TV: $10-$22
  6.     Print: $9-$54
  7.     Broadcast TV: $16-$45

Only online display advertising, which has an almost endless supply of inventory, has a lower CPM than billboards, and many formats have CPMs way higher.

Shop with Klarna
Shop with Klarna

3. You Can Create Amazing Creative for Billboards

For our money, billboards offer the most creative freedom of any medium. You can stretch your imagination and try something totally outrageous with a billboard because it comes with few constraints. Even the space on the board isn’t limiting — many boards stretch beyond their traditional borders to incorporate an extra eye-catching idea (think of the cows sitting atop Chic-fil-A ads as they write “Eat Mor Chikin” in shaky handwriting.

We have seen so many ingenious billboard campaigns. The smarter the better, because great creative leaves an impression. You may not remember a simple sign for McDonald’s. But you might remember two billboards sitting close together that each form one-third of a Big Mac — with an extra-big bun straddling atop the two boards.

4. Billboards Can Live a Second Life Online

Most forms of advertising only live one life. You see the ad while scrolling a website on your phone, you hit the X button in the righthand corner, and the ad goes away, never to be seen again. It may or may not have made an impact during those few seconds when you saw it.

But billboards get that rare second chance to make a first impression. Many ads end up on social media after people snap photos of them and upload them to Instagram, X (Twitter), Facebook or another site, where they may offer some commentary on the ad (“saw this in Times Square, isn’t it fun”) or tag friends.

That second life is huge. It exposes the advertisement to another group of people who never even saw the original — and whom you did not pay to reach. And that also brings us back to creating amazing creative for billboards. The cleverer the ad, the more likely people are to share, like or comment on it online.

Reach the right audience
Reach the right audience

5. You Can Target Billboards to Reach the Right Audience

Billboards are among the most targeted media you can buy. While it can be difficult to predict who will pick up a magazine or where your ad will end up if you use an online ad network, you know exactly what you’re getting when you place a billboard advertisement.

You can look at neighborhood demographics to find, say, Black middle-class Millennial moms and target them with ads for a new zoo geared to young kids. Or you can advertise in the business district if you have an expensive new clothing or cosmetic line.

6. Billboards Stay on All the Time

You can close a magazine, put down your phone or turn off the TV. But you can never flip the switch on a billboard. No matter the time of day, billboards remain visible to everyone who passes them. That ubiquity is an amazing thing in a world where it’s easy to tune out. When you pay for your board, you know it reaches people and working 24/7.


Admittedly, billboards do have a couple of cons. We almost never hear complaints about how they look or the results they deliver, but we have heard feedback on these two billboard cons.

1. Billboard Advertising Takes Time

You can start a mobile or online advertising campaign in a matter of hours. That’s not so with billboards. Mapping out and creating the creative is an undertaking. It could be a few weeks before everything meets your specifications. A digital billboard will move faster because the creative can be uploaded, but it’s still not instantaneous.

2. Billboard Measurement Can Be Challenging

The lack of a reliable apples-to-apples measurement across all out of home media is probably the most frequent complaint we hear from clients—though it’s actually gotten better over the past decade and a half. Moving through several cycles of OOH measurement improvements has made the metrics more uniform, but they still aren’t perfect.

As you can see, the pros of billboard advertising easily outweigh the cons. Get in touch with us today to learn more about billboard advertising and how to get started on a campaign.

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