Advertising is one of the most important things your business can do, but everyone-from giants like Ford and General Electric to your friend operating a business out of their garage-is trying to crack the code on what sort of advertising actually works.
Large companies spend millions of dollars every year on billboards and tickers to try to capture the attention of consumers, so it makes sense that even the humblest of business owners would think that there's got to be something to all this advertising.
You might have wondered if this sort of advertising is reserved only for gigantic organizations or if it is even attainable for businesses of a smaller size. On the other hand, perhaps you've run billboard ads in the past but weren't sure how to measure their effectiveness. Well, in this article we break down this popular form of advertising and try to answer the one question nagging at every business owner when it comes to billboards: is it worth it?
Billboard Advertising Cost
Advertising on a billboard can be slightly price prohibitive, but it is certainly cheaper than TV. Prices range anywhere from a few hundred bucks for small posters all the way up to $30,000, but they typically range in the low thousands. Important to note is that digital billboards are also generally more expensive than printed ones (although sometimes you can get them cheaper based on how many businesses are sharing a single digital billboard). As a general rule though, the average cost to run a billboard is around $1500-$3000 per month.
Factors Affecting Billboard Cost
There are a variety of factors which can affect the cost of billboard advertising, but the main ones are location, design, and size. For example, if you want your ad on Sunset Boulevard in the Hollywood Hills (one of the most highly trafficked locations in the U.S.), you're going to be paying more (a lot more!) than if you want it on a bus stop sign in your neighbourhood.
Of course, design is going to be another factor you'll want to consider when deciding if a billboard ad is right for your business. You'll need to ask yourself some questions like:
- Can I design it myself?
- Am I willing to pay someone else to do it if I can't?
- How much can I afford to pay them?
Most billboard companies will also help you with your design for a fee.
Print advertising companies with billboards for hire will also usually offer businesses different sizes to choose from at different price points, e.g. a standard size, super size, or for something that is outside the box (literally) and doesn't fit within the parameters of a typical billboard, a custom price.
If billboards are cost prohibitive for your business, don't worry! There are plenty of other print options out there which are more affordable and can still grab a consumer's attention. Road signs, bus stop signs, or advertising in your local newspaper or business classifieds can all draw attention to your business for less than the price of a billboard, just remember to consider your demographic at all times and think about where you're most likely to catch them. For example, an Instagram ad might be more effective than a newspaper if what you're selling is targeted toward millennials and Gen Z.
Measuring Return on Investment
Of course, you're never going to know exactly how many pairs of eyes landed on your billboard. You can't measure these types of advertisements by clicks and conversions, but you still need to account for costs and try and figure out how (or even if) these advertisements are working for your business.
One of the best ways to measure how many people are engaging with your billboard advertisement is by incorporating an online (measurable) element. For example, try creating an associated landing page on your website that only people who have viewed your ad would search and have access to. This way, you can track electronically how much interest your ad is getting.
Alternatively, use another call to action, such as asking people who've seen your ad to enter a contest of some kind (entering via a social media follow can give you another way to track how many people have seen and engaged with your ad) or use a promo code on your website in exchange for a discount.
Both of these options can be tricky to implement because they require people having to do something. You still won't know how many people saw or were intrigued by your ad and just didn't have a chance to enter your contest or visit your web page.
At the end of the day, when you're going big with advertising like in the case of billboards, it's important to remember that your main priority is splashing your name about and simply raising brand awareness. When you've come to terms with this, you can live with a less tangible or immediate return on investment and just be glad to get your name out there.
The good news is that getting a billboard is possible, even for businesses with smaller budgets, and you can track it's success if you can come up with a creative way to do so. No matter what sort of ad you decide to put out, just make sure you've done the groundwork and are confident it's going to turn heads-the format of an ad doesn't matter half as much as the content. Now go get "˜em!