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What factors impact billboard pricing? There are seven main ones that influence the price of billboards, no matter what state you buy them in and what your product is. They are: location, duration, format, demand, impressions, lighting and size.

Here’s why these seven factors are critical, what role they play in pricing, and what additional questions you should ask about the boards before you buy.

1. Location

Where the billboard is located, both geographically and physically on the road, is the most critical aspect of billboard pricing.

A board in a major city like New York or Los Angeles will cost a lot more than one on a rarely traveled side road because you will reach more people 7 Factors That Impact Billboard Locationwith the former.

You want a prominent location no matter where you buy your billboard. What city you choose depends on your budget and your target demographic. If you promote a new album, the visibility of a splashy Sunset Boulevard location may be worth the extra price. But if you promote cannabis, you face restrictions on location and will have a more limited selection of opportunities.

Vendors will discount prices on roads with tons of billboard locations because there’s such a large supply of inventory. (Hint: You can often identify these areas if you see a lot of public service ads.) Billboards on the right side of the road will cost more, for obvious reasons—it’s easier to read them as you whiz by in a car than those on the left side.

Questions you should ask:

  • Is the billboard on the right or left side of the road?
  • Is the board actually visible from the road?

2. Duration

Billboards are sold in four-week intervals. But you can buy extended placements that will keep your message visible in the long term. Often vendors will give you a discount for booking for several months as this decreases their turnover and doesn’t require replacing creative as often, a time-consuming practice even in the digital age.

You may also ask to rent a billboard for a shorter term if available. You probably will have to pay more than half the price for a four-week span because it’s a spe

Are you booking a traditional or digital billboard? Digital tends to cost less. Vendors can squeeze more advertisers into a digital rotation, so your ad isn’t up as long as it would be with a traditional billboard.

Also, if you decide to go with a digital board, make sure it’s in good condition. It’s been more than a decade since digital billboards went into wide circulation, and some of them are aging. Make sure all the diodes light up and you don’t see glitches when you observe the board.

Finally, remember that if you choose digital, you don’t have to pay for the physical production of the billboard. You just send over a digital file to the vendor. With a traditional billboard, you have to pay for the cost of producing the billboard. Figure on anywhere from $250-$750 for that.

Questions you should ask:

  • How many advertisers rotate through a digital board and how long does the ad stay up?
  • How long have you had your digital billboard?

cial request, and vendors may only do this if they have open inventory. But the savings may be worth it if you are advertising something limited, like a sale.

Questions you should ask:

  • Can you get a discount for long-term booking?
  • Can you rent a board for a shorter timespan, such as two weeks?

3. Format

7 Factors That Impact Billboard FormatAre you booking a traditional or digital billboard? Digital tends to cost less. Vendors can squeeze more advertisers into a digital rotation, so your ad isn’t up as long as it would be with a traditional billboard.

Also, if you decide to go with a digital board, make sure it’s in good condition. It’s been more than a decade since digital billboards went into 7 Factors That Impact Billboard Formatwide circulation, and some of them are aging. Make sure all the diodes light up and you don’t see glitches when you observe the board.

Finally, remember that if you choose digital, you don’t have to pay for the physical production of the billboard. You just send over a digital file to the vendor. With a traditional billboard, you have to pay for the cost of producing the billboard. Figure on anywhere from $250-$750 for that.

Questions you should ask:

  • How many advertisers rotate through a digital board and how long does the ad stay up?
  • How long have you had your digital billboard?

4. Demand

Demand is based on many factors, including the date when you want to run your ad and the location. When you book your billboard time makes a big difference.

7 Factors That Impact Billboard Demand1For instance, during fourth quarter, billboards tend to see high demand because:

  1. It’s the holidays, and everyone wants to advertise their stuff to receptive consumers.
  2. Advertisers are trying to dump their remaining budgets for advertising and marketing because if they don’t spend it, they won’t get the same budget for the 7 Factors That Impact Billboard Demand2coming year.

Other factors may include what’s happening in the big industries at the time (you’ll see tons of “for your consideration” ads around Los Angeles in September through December for the Grammys and January and February for the Oscars). And lots of music clients buy billboards in March and April for the leadup to Coachella.

Demographics also play into demand. A billboard seen by a highly desirable audience—young people with high incomes, for instance—will be more favorable to advertisers than, say, one that’s seen mostly by older people on limited incomes.

Questions you should ask:

  • What measurement information do you have about this billboard location and how does it compare to other locations nearby?
  • What demographic information do you have on this billboard’s audience?

5. Impressions

Impressions are how many people look at your billboard. The more people who see it, the more you pay, which makes sense. Geopath, the out of home industry measurement company, tracks how many people see billboards each week. You do have to be a Geopath subscriber to get this information, and most major vendors are.

Questions you should ask:

  • Is your billboard measured by Geopath?
  • What demographic information do you have about who sees the board?

6. Lighting

Billboards with lighting cost about a quarter more than billboards that do not have lighting. That makes sense because those billboards stay visible much longer. If you don’t get lighting on a billboard along a rural highway, no one sees it from dusk till dawn.

7 Factors That Impact Billboard LightingBillboards without lights are a little more visible in cities, thank you light pollution, but not that much. Digital boards, of course, will be visible around the clock.

Questions you should ask:

  • Is the billboard location lit up at night?
  • Can the lights be turned off upon request, i.e., if you own a restaurant and you want the lights off when the restaurant is closed?

7. Size

Billboards have standard sizes ranging from a spectacular to a bulletin to 8 sheets, or junior posters. The bigger the billboard, the easier it is to see. A larger billboard will cost more to rent. But that cost isn’t necessarily proportional to how much bigger the board is than others around it. For instance, you won’t pay 75 percent more for a board that’s 75 percent bigger than a junior poster. But you will pay a premium for larger size.

Questions you should ask:

  • How big is the billboard?
  • What’s the difference in price between your bigger and smaller billboards?

Still have questions about billboard pricing? We can answer them. Leave them in the comments section below or contact us to talk specifics.

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