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Billboard Prices: Is the Investment Worth or Waste of Resources?

This article discuss overall billboard prices and whether it is s worth marketing investment.

The average American is exposed to somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements each day, and some of them are no doubt billboard ads (1). Facing this permanent flooding of information, many people feel constricted in their freedom to make independent consumption decisions. The classical types of advertising lose their power to attract consumers’ attention putting into question if the costs are delivering any type of return.

Billboard prices: what ate the influencing factors?

Advertising costs are usually referenced in cost per mille (CPM), or cost per thousand impressions. In case of billboard prices, here three factors:
Circulation: Circulation is the total volume of traffic that passes the billboard, as derived from transportation authorities. The circulation does not take into account whether passersby see your ad.
Demographics: A billboard’s demographics are a breakout by age, gender, and income level of people who typically pass a billboard. Expect to pay more to advertise to people with higher income levels.
Impressions: Impressions are the likely number of people who actually see the ad, based on the size of the billboard, visibility, the speed at which people are passing, and other factors. This is derived from the circulation and the location of the billboard.

Billboard prices in different metro areas

Billboard prices  in New York ranges from $3,000 to $20,000/month, and in Los Angeles billboard costs range from $2,000 to $15,000/month. In Chicago, billboards’ cost ranges from $2,000 to $12,000; San Francisco billboards’ cost ranges from $2,000 to $12,000; and in Philadelphia billboards cost from $1,500 to $12,000/month (2).


Are there alternative options?

Many small and medium sized enterprises are forced to find innovative ways of cost effective advertising with limited marketing budgets.  Guerrilla marketing emerged in this meantime to address this cost challenge. The main concept of the guerrilla is to surprise consumers with unusual ads in order to draw their attention to the advertising message. The surprise effect leads to a change in the cognitive activation and better assimilation of the advertising message making it memorable and therefore improving the brand lift.
One effective guerrilla instrument is In-the-Hand advertising. This concept relies on placing ads on consumables that the target audience can’t ignore as they have to take them in their hands. Such consumables can be Coffee Cupshotel key cardsdoor hangersshopping bagsdrink coasterspizza boxes.

For example, consider drink coasters. In many bars, if not all, coasters hold glasses in place. Interestingly, these items could be prime advertising spaces for advertisers that want to reach a certain demographic of people. Say, for instance, that a liquor company would like to advertise to beer lovers. What happens is that the company can custom print drink coasters and then supply them to select locations. The idea here is that every time a patron lifts the glass to sip liquor, they stare at your ad. Interestingly, this will go on for as long as the drinking goes on. Therefore, your brand will have the highest level of exposure to the target audience.


  1. Duncan, A., 2019. Why Use Billboard Advertising? The Pros and Cons. The Balance Careers.
  2. Queiroz, R., 2019. How Much Does a Billboard Cost? Dash Two.
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