There are many different decisions you’ll have to make when starting a billboard advertising campaign, but billboard placement is one of the most important.

In addition to location, you’ll also have to consider which type of billboard you want to use for your advertisement and what size would be most effective.

Each of these factors plays a role in determining the prime location for your billboard.

Billboard Placement: Why Location is So Critical

You’ve heard it before: “location, location, location.”

Choosing where to place your billboard is one of the most important decisions you’ll make regarding your outdoor advertising campaign, and there are many factors to consider in deciding on an optimal location.

Make sure you take each of the following into account when choosing a location for your next billboard.

Once you’ve got an idea about which areas may be optimal for your advertising campaign, companies like AdQuick can help you locate available advertising space and negotiate the best rates.

Demographics

As with any advertising and marketing campaign, the first thing to consider when choosing where to place your ideal billboard is the demographics of your target audience.

The reality is that every company has a target demographic, or group of people, that make up the majority of its customers, and those are the people you should be trying to reach with your message.

Knowledge about your target audience should include demographic information like age, gender, education, relationship status, and income level.

This information will help you determine where to put your billboard.

For example, if you’re hoping to reach college-educated adults with above average incomes, you might consider placing your billboard along a busy interstate that is frequently congested with commuters.

If your target demographic is young adults, consider placing a billboard in the trendy part of town or near a college or university.

Census information can be a valuable tool to help you understand where your potential customers live and work.

Traffic Count

Naturally, you want your advertising campaign and billboard to reach as many people as possible, so knowing the traffic counts of roadways that you’re considering locating a billboard is extremely important.

High traffic areas, including interstates with bad traffic or busy intersections with long wait times, provide a captive audience that is bound to spend at least a few seconds of their wait time looking at your advertisement.

However, these areas are also often more expensive to advertise in for this exact reason, so make sure you know your budget before you commit to a location.

Traffic counts for local roadways and interstates are often available through the state department of transportation websites.

Visibility

Visibility is critical to ensuring your advertisement reaches as many eyes as possible, so it’s important to consider the alignment and height of your billboard when deciding on a location.

The topography of the land, obstructions like trees and power-lines, and nearby buildings all play a role in the length of time that a billboard is visible.

Billboards should be clearly aligned to face traffic and should not be at odd angles that require the viewer to look in an uncomfortable or awkward direction.

They also should be placed at a clearly readable height within the driver’s frame of a vision.

If your billboard is placed too high, it will not be visible for long.

Land Use Type

The type of land use surrounding your proposed billboard location, be it residential, commercial, or industrial, will play a major role in the audience who views the advertisement.

Commercial areas may see a larger mix of people since both employees and customers will frequent the areas, while residential areas are typically more limited to the people who live there.

Industrial areas are likely to feature primarily employees of the given industry.

Proximity

How close your billboard is to your business location can be extremely important for local business owners and those who may be trying to encourage impulse purchases.

If the goal of your billboard is to attract local customers, then it would not make sense to place your billboard three towns away.

On the other hand, a company that is hoping to increase its reach and find new customers may consider placing billboards in areas where they would reach a different type of customer or a new population.

Even simple signs that point out the location of your business and the distance away from the driver or pedestrian can be highly effective in driving traffic to your business.

Intent

Consider the goal of your campaign when you are choosing where to place a billboard.

You want to reach people at the point of decision, so that may mean placing a billboard along a freeway just before the exit to reach your place of business and pointing people in the direction of your store.

If you want to encourage people to shop at your small business rather than a competitor, you might consider placing your advertisement near their store.

If the intent of your campaign is simply to increase brand awareness, you may want to implement a long term campaign or one that utilizes multiple locations in order to get your brand permanently etched into people’s minds.

Billboard Sizing

The size of the billboard advertisement you choose will naturally affect the locations available for advertising.

It stands to reason that massive highway billboards are not appropriate for use in a residential neighborhood, and similarly, a small billboard would not be visible to drivers passing by at 80 miles per hour.

There are three standard sizes of billboards, each with its own unique purpose and advantages.

Bulletins

Bulletins are the largest standard size billboard campaigns that are available and they are what most people think of when they picture a billboard.

Bulletins are predominantly found along highways, freeways, interstates, expressways, and other primary arterial roadways and are generally 14 feet high and 48 feet wide, offering 672 square feet of advertising space.

Bulletins need to be big in order to attract the attention of drivers, who can view them from a long distance while approaching.

They primarily target drivers, commuters, and long-distance travelers, and people often pass by them on a daily basis, taking in the same advertisements over and over again, which makes them highly effective in the right locations.

Posters

Posters are a midsize billboard that typically measures 10 feet high by 22 feet wide, offering 220 square feet of advertising space.

This type of billboard is most commonly located along primary and secondary arterial roadways because they are ideal for targeting local audiences.

Posters are usually seen by drivers and pedestrians alike because they are often located along roads with crosswalks and sidewalks; they are particularly effective when located in busy commercial and industrial areas.

Sometimes, brands will perform an advertising blitz where they mass produce ads and post the same one in multiple locations. Posters are an excellent choice for this type of advertising campaign.

Junior Posters

Junior posters are the smallest size of billboard, typically measuring 6 feet high by 12 feet wide and offering 72 square feet of advertising space.

Junior posters are most frequently found in urban neighborhoods or on smaller roads, where they can effectively target a local audience based on specific audience demographics.

Due to their smaller size, junior posters are often positioned just above eye level and can be found on the sides of buildings or on smaller freestanding units.

Junior posters can be used to target hard to reach groups, such as minority communities that concentrate in one area, or elderly people who do not travel long distances.

This type of billboard is best suited for use in close proximity to the business being advertised, helping to drive sales.

Other Types of Billboards

In addition to the standard size stationary billboards mentioned above, there are also three other types of billboards that offer OOH advertisers some additional flexibility and room for creativity.

Digital Billboards

Digital billboards incorporate new digital marketing technology by playing changing advertisements on the screen at prescribed intervals.

Several different advertisers can use the same digital billboard, which helps keep advertising costs low and provides advertising opportunities to different businesses.

Digital billboards are found in the same sizes as standard billboards, including bulletins, posters, and junior posters.

Wallscapes

Wallscapes offer a rare opportunity for billboards and advertisements to be seen as an enhancement to the environment rather than an eyesore.

Wallscapes paint advertisements directly onto the sides of existing buildings, walls, or structures, or attach removable advertisements to exterior surfaces.

Because they do not take up additional space beyond the existing building, wallscapes are most often utilized in densely populated urban areas, where they can be seen by pedestrians and drivers alike.

Wallscapes are custom designed to suit the shape of the building, so they can come in many different shapes and sizes.

Spectaculars

Spectaculars are part advertisement and part artistic masterpiece.

They incorporate incredible technology like lighting, video, and interactive mobile technology to reach viewers, often dazzling them with dynamic displays with a positive impact.

Spectaculars come in many different shapes and sizes depending on their intended purpose and location, but they are usually at least the size of a standard bulletin, if not larger.


Contributors Statement

This blog post was a collaboration between the AdQuick team. Chris Gadek, John McClung, and Jack Gaylor contributed to this piece. Payton Biddington created the visuals. If you'd like to learn how out of home can work with your unique marketing campaign and business, send a quick email to requests@adquick.com or call (213) 986-6179. We'll reach out with case studies and recommendations tailored to you.

Disclosure

The opinions expressed are those of the authors. This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. Please be sure to consult with your internal team of stakeholders to assess your specific needs before adapting any practices from this blog, as your own.