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People are back on the road, back at venues and back at events, and so reaching them at these places that had been all but dormant for the first 12 months of the pandemic has become a focus for advertisers.

What’s the best way to attract these people’s attention? A message that goes with them. Mobile billboards have many advantages that have turned them into a favorite among advertisers. With loads of possibilities for creative and a unique way to present those formats, mobile billboards show great promise post-pandemic.

If you have been wondering about this type of advertising, we’ve put together a guide to making a mobile billboard buy, including why this is a smart form of branding.

What Is a Mobile Billboard?

Track Lib's Digital Mobile Billboard in Times Square
Track Lib’s Digital Mobile Billboard in Times Square

A mobile billboard is a billboard placed on a truck that drives around town, showing your message to drivers, pedestrians and people in nearby buildings. You can park the truck in a central location, where it remains visible. You might hear mobile billboards called billboard trucks or truck advertising.

The medium offers flexibility. Mobile billboards can zigzag across the city, or they can target a carefully geotargeted area where your target demographic resides or drives. Trucks may need to stay on the move all day or drive off after carefully planned 15-minute breaks, depending on the regulations in your location.

Where Can You Buy Mobile Billboards?

Klarna's Digital Mobile Billboard in New York
Klarna’s Digital Mobile Billboard in New York

Mobile billboards are available in virtually any market, though you have greater availability and options in larger markets, obviously. Still, mobile billboards get deployed more often in big markets, so a mobile billboard will stand out in a small market.

Depending on the market, you may find differences in how long you can rent the vehicle or where you can park. The vendor should take care of any necessary permits and finding a location to park the vehicle. Vendors also ensure the size and presentation of the billboard meet city regulations, so you won’t get in trouble for having something too tall.

Creative Options for Mobile Billboards

Static Mobile Billboard
Static Mobile Billboard

Mobile billboards include options similar to regular billboards. You can choose a static or digital one.

And the possibilities go much further. You can purchase an illuminated mobile billboard that shines at night or create a three-dimensional billboard. Some even have interactive elements, like a TV screen where passersby can stop and play a video game. Others have a spot for someone to sit or stand with the display (not while it’s moving, though — that’s dangerous).

For something even more eye-catching, and more expensive, advertisers can rent a fleet of mobile billboards and send them around an urban or suburban area. Seeing one mobile billboard elicits a reaction, and seeing more than one can lead to that all-important posting on Instagram (“Look what just drove past me!”), which leads to added reach for the campaign.

Playing music with the mobile billboard draws immediate attention from everyone outside, too. This has become a very popular way of advertising. You can even play a music video on a digital screen on the mobile billboard.

How Much Do Mobile Billboards Cost?

Mobile billboards cost more than traditional billboards when you look at them on a per-day basis. But they also deliver outstanding return on investment, even when that investment is for less than 24 hours.

A typical mobile billboard cost in Los Angeles or New York starts between $1,800 and $2,000 per day, compared to about $6,000 for a four-week traditional billboard. The price of a mobile billboard covers between six to 10 hours of rental. You also have to pay for the creative, including production of the vinyl if you get a static billboard and not a digital one. That can cost $800 to $1,000, and you may be able to use it again.

We generally recommend choosing a longer duration than a day when you get a static billboard. When you pay to print, you may as well use it more than once.


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