How to Set Billboard Advertising Rates

The potential for revenue with digital billboards is greater than with static billboards. However, offering the right digital signage advertising rates is critical. If your rates are too low or too high, you’ll be leaving money on the table — either because you’re getting less than what a billboard spot is worth or because there are unfilled slots in the rotation.

This video will help you understand how to set rates and keep advertisers happy. We spoke with Neil Bell, who has more than 20 years of experience in outdoor digital billboards and marketing, to get his top tips for setting the price of billboard advertising. We’ve also expanded on his digital billboard sign cost tips below to give you a better understanding of how the market works and how to partner with clients.

How Much Does Digital Billboard Advertising Cost?
For starters, it’s important to remember there is no one-size-fits-all rate for digital billboards advertising. Every market is different, which means you’ll need to focus on what’s most relevant and effective in your area.

Researching other media rates in your market and using CPM calculations can help you set digital billboard advertising rates. Remember that advertisers tend to be more successful when they use digital outdoor billboards and keep their content fresh.

How to Set Comparable Billboard Rates
A little homework is required to set billboard rates that give you a good return on your investment but also compare well to other forms of advertising in the area. Start with some solid research in your market. Look at rates for other digital billboards in your market. Check out who is on the billboard and talk to those advertisers about what rates they’re paying.

No other digital billboards in your area yet? No problem. Look at the cost of traditional media in your market. The cost of a full-page ad in the Sunday paper is a good starting point for rates on your digital billboard.

Once you’re in the ballpark on rates, get a traffic analysis done for your board’s location. Use the figures from the traffic analysis to calculate the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) for your customers. This figure lets them compare your rates to traditional media. They’ll see that your digital billboard offers a significantly lower CPM than any other form of advertising.

How to Sell Digital Billboard Space
A key aspect that often gets overlooked is educating customers on the real value of digital advertising. Spend time learning about and understanding the capabilities and advantages that digital billboards offer over static boards. Things like ad timeliness, day-parting and dynamic content are all huge selling points that will sway many customers away from static media.

Once you get advertisers interested in the power of digital billboards, don’t charge them for creating content. Instead, build that cost into your rates and offer content help as a value-added resource. This gives you the opportunity for a lot of interaction between sales and customers and really strengthens relationships. Businesses that change their content more often during a contract tend to get better results and thus are far more likely to renew.

A final thought on setting rates — always begin with a rate that’s a little higher than what you initially calculate. If you set your initial rate too low, you’ll find it’s very hard to increase it later. It’s easier to start high, then discount your rates if competition requires it.

Adding Digital Billboard Advertising
Offering digital outdoor billboards can greatly expand your advertising portfolio and lead to partnerships with companies that may not be interested in static displays. Remember, the CPM of your digital billboard is going to be far lower than any other advertising medium. Doing a little research upfront ensures you won't start too low and miss out on a lot of revenue potential.

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