15 Types Of Billboards & How To Use Them

By Matic Broz, the editor-in-chief with 10+ years of experience with design, stock media and licensing, and photography.

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Types Of Billboards

What Is A Billboard?

A billboard is a large outdoor advertising structure typically found in high-traffic areas such as along highways or busy urban areas. They are typically made of wood or metal and are used to display advertisements for products, services, or events. Billboards can vary in size, with some being as small as a few feet tall and others being several stories high.

They are typically illuminated at night to make them visible to drivers and pedestrians. Billboards are also one of the most popular outdoor advertising methods.

What Is Billboard Advertising?

In simple words, a billboard is a large outdoor advertisement that you can see on the road, usually on highways or in busy urban areas, that businesses use to promote their products or services. They are designed to be highly visible and attention-grabbing so that people driving or walking by can’t help but see them.


  • They are huge and eye-catching, making them hard to ignore.
  • They can be used to target a specific local audience.
  • The ability to influence and inspire customers to make immediate purchases.
  • Effective at increasing brand awareness and recall due to their 24/7 visibility.
  • Billboard advertising has a high ROI, with marketers earning six dollars for every dollar spent.


  • Billboard advertising provides limited information, which may not be enough to entice customers.
  • There is no certainty that billboard advertising will yield the desired revenue.
  • Can be expensive, with additional costs for maintenance and repairs.
  • Offer only a short exposure period, making it difficult to note contact details.
  • Stationary and can only be effective when the place has visitors.
  • Focus on mass marketing, making it impossible to personalize messages.

How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on a Billboard?

Billboard advertising costs vary depending on several factors, such as ad format, circulation, demographics, impressions, and location. On average, traditional billboards cost anywhere between $750 per month and $14,000 or more, while digital billboards cost from $1,200 to $15,000 or more per month. Government and nonprofit organizations may be eligible for a discount on billboard advertising rates.

Additionally, some companies offer self-serve digital billboard ads for as little as $10 a day. Materials costs for physical billboard ads are around $1 to $1.50 per square foot, while vinyl is the standard material used for physical billboard ads and costs around the same amount.

How to measure billboard advertising effectiveness?

Although billboards are a simple advertising medium, you should monitor their performance and improve based on the resulting data. To measure the effectiveness of your billboard design, consider the following tips:

  • Monitor daily Effective Circulation (DEC) metrics, sales, and return on investment (ROI).
  • The location of the billboard.
  • You can estimate impressions by analyzing traffic levels and demographic data in the area where the billboard is located.

Also, keep in mind that the message on the billboard should be able to be read and comprehended in less than 8 seconds.

How to use billboard advertising correctly?

To effectively use billboard advertising, it is important to have a clear and concise message that can be conveyed in 8 seconds or less. The design should be eye-catching and use bright colors or bold images to attract attention. Additionally, the billboard should tell a story or share a call to action, using emotional marketing tactics such as humor, anger, empathy, or cleverness.

It is also important to consider the visibility of the billboard and how long drivers have to see it. Finally, for more advanced campaigns, consider chaining your billboard design with other outdoor advertising methods, such as shopping center kiosks, banners, and signs on walking paths.

Types Of Billboards

1. Bulletin billboards

Bulletin billboards are popular among advertisers due to their size and visibility. They are typically 14 feet high and 48 feet wide, which makes them easily readable from a distance. This makes them an ideal choice for businesses that want to reach a large audience in a short amount of time. They are typically located on expressways, highways, and roads with heavy traffic, which means they are exposed to a large number of potential customers every day. The cost of a bulletin billboard can vary depending on the location, but it ranges from $750 to $14,000 per month. This makes them a cost-effective form of advertising for businesses of all sizes.

2. Digital billboards

Digital billboards are a great option for businesses that want to reach a large audience in a busy area. These billboards are typically placed in high-traffic areas to maximize exposure and reach as many potential customers as possible. They allow businesses to create dynamic and interactive ads that can grab viewers’ attention. The cost of a digital billboard ad can vary depending on a number of factors, such as location and demographic. On average, it can range from $1,200 to $15,000 monthly.

3. Mobile billboards

Mobile billboards are an effective way to advertise, especially for larger events. They come in various forms, such as buses, trucks, bikes, and taxis, and can cost anywhere from $250 to $3,600, depending on the number of vehicles and duration. Mobile billboards have a high recall rate and lead to increased sales due to their ability to target a wider audience than static billboards. Additionally, they offer low competition from other billboards since they can access places that static billboards cannot reach. People can also be mobile billboards by wearing or carrying branded items.

4. Painted billboards

Although they are becoming less common due to the rise of graphic billboards, painted billboards are still used in some places, and the ads and messages on them are painted by hand. The cost of a painted billboard is roughly $5 per square foot. These billboards were traditionally painted in large studios with images projected onto paper panels and traced with a pounce wheel. Oil paints were then used to paint the image, and artists would touch up the edges between panels after installation.

Hand-painted billboards can be seen in some areas today, such as the “Sunset Strip” in Los Angeles. These billboards often feature colorful artwork that stands out from the surrounding landscape. They also contrast with modern digital signs, which have become increasingly popular over the last few decades.

5. Three-dimensional billboards

Three-dimensional billboards are an innovative way to advertise products and services. They provide a unique, immersive experience that draws the target audience’s attention. Three-dimensional billboards are designed to make images pop out and emphasize the advertised product, making them visually appealing and eye-catching. The cost of production depends on the complexity of the idea, but these billboards can be used to advertise a variety of products, such as new dishes or services.

The Peanuts Movie 3D billboard
The 3D billboard for The Peanuts Movie (Credit: 20th Century Fox/Movia Media; Color correction: Matic Broz)

The creative flexibility of three-dimensional billboards makes them ideal for businesses looking to stand out from their competition. They offer a unique way to showcase products or services in a memorable way that will leave a lasting impression on viewers. With their ability to capture attention and create an immersive experience, three-dimensional billboards are sure to promote any product or service effectively.

6. Vinyl Billboard

Vinyl billboards are a great way to get your message out there. They are brighter and more appealing than traditional billboards and are coated in UV-protected paint for longevity. Vinyl billboards cost an average of $850 per square footage, so it is important to consider if this is the most effective option for your marketing campaign before investing in one. To get the most out of your billboard, it is essential to understand the target audience and their habits. The size and location of the billboard will determine the cost, so researching successful billboard advertising examples can help ensure that yours stands out.

Vinyl billboards are made of polyvinyl chloride and are spray painted with UV-resistant paint. This makes them last longer than other types of outdoor advertising materials, with a life expectancy of three to five years. They can be digitally painted using large inkjet printers, making them perfect for displaying logos or special events. Vinyl banners are also often used for company logos or special events due to their durability and attractive

7. Static Billboard

Static billboards are a popular form of outdoor advertising that can be seen along highways and interstates. These large roadside faces are designed to capture the attention of passing motorists, often using bright lights to make them visible at any time of day. Static billboards come in many shapes and sizes, with some featuring extensions and 3D elements to create captivating designs. A unique version of a static billboard is the Trivision, which rotates between three messages every eight seconds. This allows advertisers to display up to three different messages at any given time, making it an effective way to reach a wide audience.

Static billboards have been used for decades as an effective way to advertise products and services. They are often placed in high-traffic areas where thousands of people can see them daily. With their eye-catching designs and rotating messages, static billboards are sure to draw attention from passersby and help businesses get their message across quickly and effectively.

8. Banner Ads

Banner ads are popular advertisements that can be seen in schools, airports, and malls. They are also viewable on websites and apps, usually appearing at the top or bottom of the page. Banner ads effectively allow advertisers to share their message while using available space. Display ads are typically found along the top or sides of websites and come in various shapes and sizes, such as long, vertical, horizontal, and square ads.

Banner ads have been around for many years, but their effectiveness has decreased over time due to increased competition from other forms of advertising. Despite this, they can still be useful for products with a simple call-to-action. Banner ads often promote special offers or discounts on products or services. They can also direct users to specific pages on a website or app where more information about the product or service is available.

9. Wallscapes

Wallscapes are an effective form of outdoor advertising that can be tailored to unique shapes and sizes. They are typically placed on the sides of buildings, parking garages, and construction sites in urban areas to maximize their visibility. Wallscapes have the potential to cross over into in-home advertising without cost and can have a big impact on a marketing campaign. Digital wallscape advertising creates an imposing and programmable presence, allowing running text to be displayed.

Wallscape Example of Heath Ledger Joker
An example of a wallscape featuring Heath Ledger as a Joker (Credit: Brecht Bug)

Billboards remain a successful form of advertising due to their immense success over the last century. It is important to create an ad that will be memorable when using any form of outdoor advertising, as it needs to stand out from the rest for it to be effective. Wallscapes offer eye-catching, dynamic advertising to help make your message stand out from the crowd. With careful planning and creative design, wallscapes can be used as an effective marketing strategy.

10. Lamp Posts

Lamp post banners are a great way to get your message out there. They are typically found in areas with low car traffic, such as cities and college campuses, making them an ideal choice for targeting a specific audience. Depending on the target audience, sharing a message can be as simple as a sign. Lamp post banners are also an effective form of nighttime advertising since they draw attention to the ad by shining a light directly onto it. This makes the ad unavoidable, ensuring maximum visibility even when it’s dark outside.

Not only are lamp post banners cost-effective and easy to install, but they can also be used to create eye-catching visuals that will grab people’s attention. Whether you’re looking to advertise a product or service or simply spread awareness about an issue, lamp post banners can help you reach your goals affordably. With their bright lights and bold colors, these signs can make sure that your message stands out from the crowd

11. Interactive billboards

Interactive billboards are a unique and engaging way to reach audiences and promote a brand. One example of this is when Reebok installed an interactive billboard with a speed camera in 2016, encouraging passersby to try and hit 10.5 miles per hour, and those who achieved the goal were rewarded with Reebok ZPump 2.0 shoes. This type of interactive billboard creates an interactive experience that people remember, which makes it more likely that they will purchase the product.

Dynamic billboards are another type of interactive billboard with pictures and sketches in motion, creating a better and lasting impact on audiences. This type of billboard is reusable as the graphics can be changed for different ads, making them cost-effective.

12. Wild postings

Wild postings have been used for advertising since the 1500s and are still commonly used today. Wildposting is a form of outdoor advertising that strategically places posters in densely populated urban areas. These posters are often glued to alleyways and bulletin boards to reach as many people as possible. Wild postings are popular among up-and-coming artists in the entertainment industry to promote album releases, concerts, and appearances. Pricing for wildposting campaigns varies depending on volume, location, and duration.

Wild postings can be an effective way to spread awareness about a product or service. They can also advertise job opportunities or events that may not otherwise get much attention. With wild postings, businesses can target specific areas with their message and reach potential customers who may not have seen it otherwise. Additionally, wild postings are relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of advertising, such as television commercials or radio spots. For these reasons, wild posting campaigns remain popular today despite their long history of use.

13. Scented billboards

Scented billboards are a unique form of advertising that promotes restaurants, food, and other products. They are effective for businesses where the smell is important, such as restaurants, perfumes, dog food, and grocery stores. Passersby can get the product’s smell and be persuaded to purchase it. Renting a scented billboard can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per month. This type of advertising is rare and expensive but can be very effective in getting people to remember a product or service.

Scented billboards are an innovative way to advertise products that rely heavily on their scent. For example, a restaurant could use a scented billboard for advertising its signature dish, or a perfume company could use one to showcase its latest fragrance. By using this type of advertising, companies can create an emotional connection with potential customers by allowing them to experience the scent before they even enter the store or restaurant.

14. Augmented reality billboards

Augmented reality (AR) is revolutionizing how we think about outdoor advertising by allowing advertisers to add interactive content to billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising. This technology can create immersive experiences that engage consumers and increase interaction with the advertisement.

A short example of an augmented reality billboard.

One example is when Pepsi installed an augmented reality billboard at a bus stop in London. The billboard featured flying saucers, a tiger on the loose, robots, and a giant octopus, all designed to capture the attention of passersby. This creative ad was interactive and left a lasting impression on the audience.

AR is not just limited to billboards but is also used in other outdoor advertising like bus stops, public spaces, and even on the streets. This technology allows businesses to create a unique and interactive experience that stands out from the rest of the advertising clutter.

15. Artists’ billboards

Artists’ billboards are an innovative way for non-establishment curators and emerging artists to showcase their work. These exhibitions explore important art movements such as conceptualism, dematerialization, appropriation, and authorship issues. The phrase “Look Up!” is often used to describe these exhibitions that are literally in the sky.

Research has shown that more than 70% of consumers read messages on billboards, making it an effective way to reach target audiences.

Placement of Billboards

Billboards are a popular form of outdoor advertising, often placed alongside highways to capture the attention of passing drivers. From the iconic Burma-Shave advertisements between 1925 and 1963 to modern multi-sign NCAA basketball billboards and South of the Border roadside attraction billboards, these large posters displayed in prominent locations have been used for decades to reach target audiences.

Research has shown that more than 70% of consumers read the messages on billboards, making it an effective way to spread awareness about products or services.

Billboards can also be found in high-traffic areas of cities, such as Times Square in New York City, on the sides of buildings, or hanging above them. Creative artwork can be used to incorporate building features into the billboard’s design.

Visual and environmental concerns

Visual and environmental concerns are major issues when it comes to billboards. Scenic America and other groups have complained that billboards on highways cause excessive clearing of trees and intrude on the surrounding landscape, making them a form of visual pollution.

Billboards and advertising are seen as contributing negatively to the mental climate of a culture by promoting products as providing feelings of completeness, wellness, and popularity. B.U.G.A. U.P., AdBusters, and other movements have taken direct action against billboards, with some criticizing them as an example of attention theft.

Panoramic view of Los Angeles 1907
A panoramic view of Los Angeles, significantly impacted by numerous billboards. (Credit: California Historical Society)

In 2000, Athens had become overrun with billboards, leading to most of them demolishing in preparation for the 2004 Summer Olympics, while São Paulo instituted a billboard ban due to lack of regulation in the industry in 2007. Vandalism of billboards has occurred worldwide, further highlighting their negative impact on our environment and visual landscape.

When creating effective billboard advertisements, there are certain guidelines one should follow to make sure their

Road safety concerns

Road safety concerns related to roadside advertising signs are a major issue for many communities. Studies have found that crash risk increases by 25–29% in the presence of digital roadside advertising signs, and variable message signs or electronic billboards can also lead to higher crash rates. Additionally, surveys of road users show that the lighting provided by billboards provides security and visibility to many motorists. However, what level of regulation is appropriate for billboards in different areas is still under discussion by road safety experts.

Laws limiting billboards

Billboards are a common sight in many cities and highways, but laws limit their use in some places. In Australia, billboards are largely absent due to a 1937 ordinance prohibiting unauthorized signs on Commonwealth land. In the US, the 1965 Highway Beautification Act limited billboards to commercial and industrial zones and required states to maintain “effective control” of billboards or lose 10% of their federal highway dollars. Four states—Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine—have prohibited billboards altogether. In the UK, illegal billboard adverts are punishable by fines of up to £2,500 per poster.

Billboards are often placed alongside highways to capture the attention of passing drivers. Between 1925 and 1963, Burma-Shave advertisements used multiple signs with 4- or 5-part messages to keep readers hooked. Multi-sign billboards are still used today for advertising NCAA basketball games or roadside attractions like South of the Border.

People Also Ask

What type of media is a billboard?

A billboard is a type of out-of-home advertising (OOH) typically found in high-traffic areas, such as alongside busy roads. It combines text with an image to highlight products or events to communicate a message. Billboard advertising was popular with the invention of lithography, a type of printing that uses oil and water, in 1794.

What are street billboards called?

Street billboards are typically called Bulletin boards and are a type of outdoor advertising.

What type of marketing are billboards?

Billboard advertising is a type of out-of-home (OOH) advertising, which is any advertising that reaches consumers when they’re outside their homes. Billboard advertising involves using large-scale print and digital boards to promote a brand or marketing campaign. One type of traditional marketing includes cold calling, sending newsletters, and banner ads on different websites. Billboard marketing can effectively get people to look up the brand or company online and interact with it.

What is a standard billboard size?

The standard size of a billboard is 14 feet high and 48 feet wide, providing 672 square feet of advertising space. That size is known as a bulletin and is the largest standard-sized billboard available. Smaller sizes include posters, which measure 10 feet high by 22 feet wide, offering 220 square feet of advertising space, and junior posters, which measure 6 feet high by 12 feet wide, offering 72 square feet of advertising space. Digital billboards are also available in the same sizes as standard billboards.

Why is it called a billboard?

The term ‘billboard’ is derived from the combination of the words ‘bill’ and ‘board’, which date back to 1845 in American English. The name was originally used to refer to boards where bills were posted, such as for live entertainment like carnivals and fairs. It eventually became a generally accepted reference by local business owners who would direct their secretaries to place an ad on Bill’s Boards.
Today, a billboard is typically defined as a large outdoor advertising structure in high-traffic areas alongside busy roads. The word ‘bill’ comes from the Medieval Latin ‘bulla’, meaning “decree or proclamation”, which is why billboards are used for public notices.

How to design a billboard?

Designing a billboard requires creativity and strategic planning. It is important to keep the design simple, use bold colors and contrast, make the text large, and leverage size, cropping, and borders to make the billboard eye-catching. Additionally, it is important to be intentional with colors and contrast and use bright colors or bold images in the design. It is also helpful to get your story straight before designing the billboard and keep it short and sweet. Examples of effective billboards can be found online for inspiration.

Is billboard a type of print media?

Yes, a billboard is a type of print media. Billboard advertising is a form of outdoor advertising that typically consists of large format prints and graphics placed on metal structures. Other types of print media include newspapers, magazines, posters, direct mail, and the yellow pages. Posters are similar to billboards but are usually smaller and can be used by businesses, musicians, and other promoters to advertise events.

Is billboard a broadcast media?

Yes, a billboard is a form of broadcast media. Billboard advertising is the last true form of broadcast media due to its wide reach. It is similar to radio and television in delivering a message to a large audience. However, billboards can remain in place for an extended period, while radio and television ads are more limited in their reach and duration.

What material is used for billboards?

Due to their strength and affordability, billboards are typically made of paper or vinyl. Steel is used to construct and support the frame, while artwork conveys the advertising message. The type of vinyl used is polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene (PE). PVC can survive some of the harshest conditions, while Billboard 520′ consists of a PVC coating on polyester yarn for lightweight billboard material with maximum opacity.


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