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Where is the best place to buy a billboard? You may wonder this as you navigate the billboard buying process. To some degree, the answer depends on your product. What you’re selling and your target audience play a role in finding the right billboard.

But you can list other factors that impact billboards and determine how successfully they do their job, too, things such as:

  • Cost
  • Dwell time near the boards — i.e., do people get stuck in traffic nearby and have no choice but to look at billboards?
  • Visibility along the highway or in the city
  • Demographics of spaces surrounding the billboard display
  • Desirability of the location

Pull those all together, and you can find the best place to put a billboard in the United States. We see these five cities as the most desirable locations. Here’s why.

1. Los Angeles

OK, we’ll admit to being a little biased since we’re based in the area — BUT, hear us out. If you are advertising any type of music or entertainment property, having a high-profile billboard in the city is an absolute must. People will write off your project if you don’t make a big splash with that investment.

Billboards along high-traffic, highly desirable areas such as Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard rank among the costliest boards in the country. They’re also extremely effective. Why else would Netflix have plunked down millions of dollars last year to secure board space across Los Angeles?

You will also see extremely creative campaigns in Los Angeles — you’d expect a high glamour factor, after all, with Hollywood right there. Your one-of-a-kind billboard may get written about in the media, extending your reach far beyond the city.

2. San Francisco

Not every city with traffic problems is ideal for billboards. Washington, D.C., for instance, has famously snarled traffic, but boards aren’t permitted on the Beltway or I-270, two of the main veins near the Capitol, so it’s not a great billboard city. But San Francisco is.

This growing town has seen traffic congestion soar by an astounding 60 percent since 2010, something attributed in part to the rise of Uber and Lyft. These services put people who might have otherwise walked or taken public transportation into a car, clogging up the roads. This is good news for companies who want to reach them on billboards.

Demand for boards on the 101 Freeway, where much of San Francisco’s traffic congestion occurs, has risen sharply. OUTFRONT has said that sales of billboards on that stretch have more than doubled since 2011. As you might expect, the tech sector is driving that boom (Apple is one of the top spenders in out of home).

3. Chicago

The Windy City is home to many movers and shakers (28 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the city), and that makes for a hugely desirable audience for brands looking to connect with influencers and innovators. City expressways have added more boards in recent years to provide Chicago with an additional source of revenue.

Sitting in the Midwest, Chicago can get overshadowed by the big cities on the two coasts. But when you advertise in the home of the Cubs and White Sox, you get excellent value on your purchase. Pricing is notably below Los Angeles and New York City. Yet you can still reach loads of people — in fact, you can target by demographic effectively in the city by considering neighborhoods in the highly walkable town. A few popular ones for billboard advertising include:

  • South and West Loop
  • Lincoln Park
  • Roscoe Village
  • River North

Chicago also has outstanding wallscape opportunities that can help your brand stick out from the competition. And CPMs for digital billboards, which proliferated around the city in the early 2010s and became very popular with advertisers, are below the national average for billboards.

4. Austin, Texas

There’s an interesting court case going on right now related to digital billboards in Austin that could have far-reaching consequences across the nation. The city’s largest billboard company, Reagan Outdoor Advertising, sued over a citywide ban on digital billboards, arguing it infringes on the company’s free speech. The case is being watched closely, as it could set far-reaching precedents if the court decides in Reagan’s favor.

Austin could suddenly open up to far more billboards, which would have huge implications for South by Southwest, held every year in the city but until now subject to Austin’s strict rules.

So while Austin may have fewer opportunities for billboards at the moment than some of these other big cities, keep an eye on it. It’s poised to have a breakout “season.”

5. Boston

The country’s No. 7 DMA has a diverse population and a large billboard inventory, much of it scattered inside city limits. The reasonable pricing on Boston billboards makes it one of the most cost-effective cities to buy in.

You can purchase billboards located on big traffic veins and even get a little extra national exposure for broadcasts of events such as Red Sox games and the Boston Marathon. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has been exploring the conversion of some static billboards to digital, in response to economic pressures and interest from advertisers.

Surrounding Summerville, Chelsea and Cambridge can supply inventory to connect with your desired demographic. Cambridge, for instance, has a high-income population with a high percentage of tech workers and educators.

Boston has high foot traffic — you can connect with pedestrians strolling the city on their lunch breaks and on their way to work. Two great neighborhoods to target those people are Beacon Hill and Harvard Square. Other popular neighborhoods for billboard advertising include Bay Village and North End. Of course, for those non-foot commuters, traffic can be bad, with congestion rising in recent years. Ads on I-90, I-93 and other locations can target those people effectively.

When you advertise in one of these five cities, you can’t go wrong. Each one offers unique value that will boost your product or service. We can assist you. Contact us today to learn more about DASH TWO’s services.

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