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How Much Do Billboards Cost?

The cost of Billboards in New York range from $3,000 to $20,000/month, and in Los Angeles Billboards costs range from $2,000 to $15,000/month, in Chicago Billboards costs range from $2,000 to $12,000, San Francisco Billboards cost range from $2,000 to $12,000, and in Philadelphia Billboards costs range from $1,500 to $12,000/month.

How Are Billboards Sold?

Billboards are almost always quoted on a 4 week as opposed to a 1-month period. This means that if an out of home advertising company quotes you $1,500 for a year contract they mean 13 4-week periods for $1,500/period.

In addition to the monthly rent a billboard advertising client must pay a production fee for the vinyl. A good rule of thumb is that the production fee will be 50 cents per square foot for the vinyl. The production fee will be $336 for a 14′ by 48′ billboard, $189 for a 10.5 by 36′ billboard and $64 for an 8′ by 16′ poster.

Impressions – The Basis for Cost

Geopath is a not-for-profit organization which uses data, technologies and media research to compute the weekly impressions which are received by a billboard. Out of home advertising companies pay Geopath for the ratings. Geopath impressions are derived from a complete formula which factors in traffic volumes, the number of people in each car and the position of the billboard in relation to the road. Not every out of home advertising company is a Geopath subscriber, but most large out of home advertising companies are.

The typical billboard sells for a CPM or cost per thousand impressions of $5.21 according to Peter J Solomon. A freeway billboard which gets 400,000 impressions in a 4-week period will be priced at $2,000/period. A billboard on a country road with only 30,000 impressions a month will rent for only $600/period. You can usually get impressions data from your billboard company to verify what sort of CPM you are paying.

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Location

billboard-cost-location

Billboards in cities cost more to rent than billboards in the country. More traffic and more people mean higher impressions.

The are of a city can also effect the pricing as well. For instance, a Billboard on Sunset Blvd. will range from $15,000 to $35,000, and Billboard at the heart of the Sunset Strip will range from $25,000 to as high as $55,000. In Los Angeles when aiming for the trendy fashion market, Billboards on Melrose and Fairfax can range from $9,000 to $15,000. And on the famous Hollywood Blvd will have billboard costs from $7,000 to $13,000.

For New York City, digital billboards in Times Square typically will have a smaller duration of about 2-weeks, but range from $10,000 to $22,000 and Billboards in the popular SoHo district of Manhattan can cost about 18,000 to $30,000

Freeway billboards cost more to rent than state highway billboards, because more traffic equals more impressions. State highway billboards cost more to rent than secondary road billboards. More traffic equals more impressions.

Size

30-Seconds-to-Mars-14-x-48-Billboard

30 Seconds to Mars 14′ x 48′ Billboard

A bigger billboard is easier to see than a small billboard. A 14′ by 48′ billboard has 77% more square feet than a 10.5′ by 36′ billboard. As an example the 30 Seconds to Mars 14′ x 48′ billboard shown here is 77% larger than the Elohim 10.5′ x 36′ billboard also shown

A larger surface area logically means that a billboard is more likely to be seen and can be rented for more, but the relationship isn’t linear. It does not mean that a 77% larger billboard will exactly be 77% more expensive.

Elohim-10-5-by-36-Billboard

Elohim 10.5′ by 36′ Billboard

And a double-stacked 10.6′ by 36′ billboard a couple miles away where each face rents for $400/month. The larger board is worth more than the smaller double-stacked boards.

It should come as no surprise that the double stacked 10.6′ by 36′ billboards get about 28% fewer impressions per period than the single 14′ by 48′ billboard.

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A small 8′ by 16′ poster will rent for even less.

These posters on rural Indiana rent for approximately $500/month.

Lighting

Billboard-Lighted-at-Night

Billboard Lighted at Night

A billboard with lighting can be expected to go for a 25% premium over a billboard without lighting because the billboard will be available to many more viewers at night. Lighting means more impressions. Casinos and all-night restaurants are especially interested in billboards which are lit all night. Cracker Barrel and some retail stores sometimes ask billboard companies to turn off the lights on a billboard prior to store closing times so they don’t have customers pulling up to the establishment at closing time.

Visibility

how-much-does-billboard-advertising-visibilityA right hand read, that is a billboard on the right side of the road, will be more expensive than a billboard which is a left hand read. The reason is that a right hand read billboard is closer to a car and easier to see than a billboard which must be read across several lanes of traffic. Take a look at this billboard in downtown Indianapolis. The right hand read rents for $4,100/month.

how-much-does-billboard-advertising-visibilityThe left hand read on this same billboard rents for $3,000/month. It’s a great, high traffic location but you look at the board across four lanes of traffic.

A setback billboard which is more than 600′ from the freeway will rent for much less than a billboard which is right against the freeway because it gets fewer impressions.

Most billboards are within 45′ of the grade of the road which makes them easy to see. A billboard which is extremely tall – 80′ or 100′ feet above the road – will be cheaper because it will get fewer impressions. People won’t crane their necks just to see what’s on a sign.

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Trees can ruin visibility. This billboard has a public service ad which is probably free because the trees next to the road have blocked the view to the billboard.

Competition

A billboard in an area with lots of other nearby billboards will sell at a steep discount. 1,500 feet is the average setback between billboards in many cities. Some cities have no minimum setback or only a 500-foot setback between billboards. An area with lots of billboards very close together will have lower rates than an area with few billboards.

how-much-does-billboard-advertising-competition Take this 10′ by 48′ billboard on a Highway outside Indianapolis. The billboard has excellent, long reads in both directions. The billboard rents for only $300/month.

There are numerous other billboards in the vicinity, many of which are vacant or running public service ads. The availability of plenty of competition has driven down the price.

Look at these billboards packed together along a rural stretch of freeway in Nevada.

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They rent for $300/month. If there weren’t so many you could expect rents for be $750-1,500.

Production of Billboard

production-costs-for-billboards

Billboards don’t just cost money to rent, they also cost money to produce.

The production of the Billboard can range from $250-$750 depending on what type of material is being printed along with what size the Billboard is.

A 14’x48′ 7 oz vinyl Billboard can cost around $400.

how much does a billboard cost
Rodolfo Queiroz

Rodolfo Queiroz

Rodolfo Queiroz is an expert in the Out-of-Home world and is based out of Los Angeles, CA currently working at DASH TWO. Rodolfo has worked closely with clients primarily in the lifestyle apparel and music space, such as American Apparel, CoverFx and Interscope Records. Part of an agency, Rodolfo works with clients to help develop outdoor campaigns that reaches audiences through brand awareness and support their respective business objectives. He is responsible for the expansion and organization of client brands’ OOH strategy.

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