How effective is billboard advertising?



If you spend a lot of time driving on freeways, you’re bound to have noticed the billboard advertisements lining either side of the road. Or maybe they’re so commonplace and frequent that you don’t even notice them anymore. With so many working adults moving their lives to the suburbs and commuting into larger cities for work, Americans are spending lot of time in the car. Check out these statistics from The American Driving Survey taken in 2016:

  • The average American spends 20 hours each week in the car traveling over 200 miles.
  • Americans tend to drive more during fall months- an average of 31.5 miles daily- and drive the least during winter months- 26.2 miles daily.
  • Americans ages 30-49 drive the most out of any age group, an annual average of 13,506 miles.
  • Midwesterners and Southerners drive more miles annually- an average of 11,295- than Northeasterners- an average of 9,328

But even though Americans spend so much time on the roads, perhaps unconsciously viewing billboard advertisements, is billboard advertising a truly effective strategy for brands?

What does research say?

The most recent study about billboard advertising was published in 2009 and is called the Arbitron National In-Car Study. According to this study, billboard advertising was found to be effective on drivers. Here’s a few a few statistics the study reported:

  • 71% of Americans consciously look at billboard messages while driving and many learn about an event or restaurant they later attended.
  • 37% report looking at an outdoor ad each or most of the time they pass one.
  • 58% learned about an event or restaurant they were interested in attending by viewing a roadside billboard.
  • 56% of Americans mentioned a billboard they found funny in conversation
  • 26% noted a phone number written on a billboard and 28% noted a website address written on a billboard

What does it cost?

The cost of renting a billboard will depend greatly on the size of the billboard that you are looking to rent. Here’s the breakdown of average price by size for billboard in the Minneapolis metro area:

  • Digital Billboards: $2,500-$8,000 per month
  • Large Billboards (also called Bulletins): $1,500-$5,00 per month
  • Medium Billboards (also called Posters): $700-$3,000 per month
  • Small Billboards (also called Junior Posters): $300-$800 per month

The range of the price for each size are determined cost including circulation, demographics and impressions. The amount of circulation is measured by the amount of traffic that passes the billboard. This information can be found by transportation authorities. Demographics is what type of people are driving by the billboard, generally broken down by age, gender and income level. This is decided by the billboard’s location. Impressions is measured by the number of people who see the advertisement. This is based on the billboard’s visibility from the road, size and the speed at which the traffic on the nearest road is traveling, all of which are derived from the circulation of the billboard. High traffic, high visibility and high income areas will cause billboard prices to be the highest.

Is it worth it for my business?

The short answer to the question of whether or not your business should invest in billboard advertising is that it depends upon your marketing budget and what you want to achieve. If your company is looking to increase brand awareness, then billboard advertising could be a great way to get the word out! But if you’re hoping to increase sales, it’s a better idea to stick to other forms of advertising. Since billboard ads can be pricey, many companies may want to spend their marketing dollars on digital ads, direct mail ads or smaller, community-based print ads that are more cost effective and more likely to drive sales.

If you do decide to take the leap and try out billboard ads, get in touch with us at Imagine!Express. We’d love to talk through your design and print ideas and help you find the best ad for your business. We also specialize in other forms of print advertising if you decide to take that route. Let’s chat!

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