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What Factors Determine OOH Advertising Rates?


We all know that billboard prices can vary widely, but what actually causes some billboards to be more expensive than others? There are lots of different variables that can impact OOH pricing. This post will explain what those variables are and why they matter. 


An old real-estate adage states that the three things that impact property value the most are “LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.” The same goes for billboard prices. Although there are other factors that contribute to the final price of a billboard, location is certainly one of the most influential. Billboards placed in large markets tend to cost a lot more than billboards placed in smaller, more rural ones. For example, billboards in urban metropolises like New York City or San Francisco will cost considerably more than billboards in smaller markets, such as St. Louis, MO or Wichita, KS.


The actual size and format of a billboard, or ad, will also be hugely influential when determining its final price. OOH advertisements generally grow more expensive as the format grows bigger. For example, a bulletin will cost more than a poster, a poster will cost more than a jr. poster, and a jr. poster will probably cost more than small format advertisements such as kiosks or benches. Additionally, it should be noted that digital formats are usually more expensive their traditional counterparts.

Circulation & Impressions

Circulation and the number of impressions that a billboard will make are two more variables used to determine the final price of a billboard. Circulation, or the amount of people who will physically pass by the board, is important because it accounts for the total amount of people that could potentially be impacted by a billboard.

Impressions, or the number of people who actually see the billboard, can impact pricing as well. Expect to pay more for ‘boards that are seen by more people.  Any factors that enhance, or limit, a billboards ability to make impressions are sure to impact the overall price of the billboard.


Demographics refer to the type of people who will pass by a specific board, usually broken down by gender, income, age, and even education level. Advertising to a target population that possesses high buying power or considerable influence will cost more than advertising to a population that does not. For example, you’ll pay more for an ad placed in a location comprised largely of wealthy baby boomers and millennials than an ad placed in a low-income area with a high percentage of elderly individuals.

Design & Installation*

Although design and installation costs won’t vary much from location to location, factoring in the costs of these two steps into your budget is pivotal. These two steps can make a sizable impact on your overall budget so you must plan on buying a board at a reasonable price that allows for these steps to be properly executed.

Now that you know the main variables that contribute to the pricing of a billboard, hopefully, you can better understand what you are buying and ultimately plan and deliver stronger, more effective OOH campaigns.

If you want to plan a powerful out-of-home campaign think about visiting DOmedia, the host of the largest database of OOH vendors in the US, to get started today!


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