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Billboard Advertising Buying Process and Expected Costs

As a business looking into billboard advertising you will generally need to recruit the skills of both a creative agency to design the billboard or range of billboards, and a media planning agency.

It is the media planning agency who will have contacts with outdoor buying specialists and will be able to organise your billboard advertising campaign.

This is how the buyer process works in the Billboard advertising market:

Business => Creative Agency => Outdoor Buying => Media Owners
=> Media Planning => Specialists Agency

Expected Costs

Outdoor advertising, particularly billboard advertising, has tended to be avoided by smaller companies because of the costs involved. To illustrate this, the cost of advertising on one billboard for a month is anything from £500 to £1,500 per month.

Costs do fall substantially on a per billboard basis for larger campaigns but the overall cost means that only larger brands can afford this form of advertising.

Figures from theOutdoor Advertising Association of Great Britain for a small two week (6 sheet billboards) advertising campaign illustrate this:

  • Number of Panels: 3,500
  • Opportunity to See: 15.6%
  • Cost per Panel: £145
  • Cost of Campaign: £507,500

For the largest billboards, 96-sheet billboards, the cost per panel can rise to £1,000. Advertising on buses and on the London underground are two alternative options to roadside billboard advertising but the costs are similar.

Although the costs are prohibitive for the majority of small companies billboard advertising does work when used correctly. Despite traditional advertising being in decline, outdoor advertising is actually in a period of boom. Brands see billboard advertising as a cost-effective way of raising brand awareness amongst an affluent target audience.

To get the most from a billboard advertising campaign it should be as part of an integrated marketing campaign, with radio advertising often seen as the perfect compliment. Small local companies can also sometimes advertise on one or two billboards in their local area.

This, combined with other forms of advertising such as leafleting and local PR, can be a good way to target your local community.