What Factors Impact the Cost of Billboard Advertising in Birmingham?

Calculating the cost of a billboard in Birmingham means considering several factors, all of which impact the price. These can be tailored to reduce the charges in certain circumstances. Here are a few key factors influencing billboard costs in Birmingham.

Location

This is probably the most significant influencer on cost, and it’s easy to assume that an expensive location will be the best choice. This is where research on footfall and impressions is crucial and understanding the target demographic for the product or service.

A cheaper location may suit the product or brand and be just as effective for that particular target demographic as somewhere that is more prominent and expensive.

Some billboard companies offer a flat rate across the UK; others will use data to inform how they price specific locations. It’s possible to see a different fee rate within the same road, even on different faces of the same building.

Billboard Size

Sometimes, the artwork can dictate the size of the billboard, which is worth bearing in mind at the drawing board stage.

Landscape advertisements suit the standard 96-sheet billboard better than the 48-sheet smaller size, so it might make more sense to try and work with a portrait-style design.

Typically, the larger the billboard, the higher the rental cost. If you opt for a classic static billboard, the bigger the board, the higher the production costs of the poster. Digital billboards are more expensive.

Billboard Construction and Material

There are different options with a non-digital billboard. The cheapest is paper, but this can be subject to weathering and vandalism and need more frequent replacement.

Correx is an economical alternative to paper and cheaper than vinyl. Correx is a fluted plastic with excellent weathering and is robust and chemical-resistant.

The third option is vinyl, an excellent choice for strong colours. It’s probably the most expensive choice compared to paper and Correx, but it produces a great result and is also very durable and weatherproof.

Digital billboards are operated using LED screens and high resolution displays.

Billboard Rental Period

Usually, the longer the hire period, the more it will cost. Most classic billboards work on a rotational basis so that the advertisement will appear in blocks of two or four weeks – this is called the advertising cycle. The rental period is the accumulated total time that the ad is visible.

Longer bookings can attract discounts, which can mean that the higher costs for a digital billboard fall more into line with those for a classic, static hoarding. However, the brand or the campaign sometimes dictates a shorter advertising cycle.

Digital billboards are the most flexible on run times, allowing companies to run campaigns by the week, the day, and even the hour.

Seasonality

Billboards are subject to the same peaks as any other type of advertising, so expect higher rentals in the run-up to Christmas and on certain occasions like Mother’s and, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

Not all brands are sensitive to these seasonal fluctuations, but it will lower the cost if businesses can avoid advertising at these key times.

Digital Billboards

Digital billboards have a higher cost than the more old-fashioned static equivalent. Extended bookings for a digital billboard will lower the price.

The higher cost of digital billboards reflects that they cost more to install and run; however, they offer some clear advantages over a static equivalent.

Digital billboards can be controlled remotely and provide real-time updates to reflect different factors like world events or even the weather. Advertising can also be programmatic; this means it can be time targeted at specific demographics like parents on the school run or commuters.

Digital billboards share their space with other advertisers, so they don’t offer the 24/7 coverage of static hoardings. Most digital billboards show advertisements for just a few seconds and rotate with other companies on a rolling programme.

Production Costs and Installation Charges

Production costs and installation charges can all be rolled up in the hire agreement; it depends on whether the billboard company produces the advertisement in-house or whether a business opts to use its own graphic designers.

Hiring a specialist Out of home media agency with a track record of producing this type of advertising is essential for companies who want to commission artwork or digital images out of house.

Installation charges usually fall within the rental package, but always check carefully if you’re using a static billboard, as posters have to be replaced. The frequency will depend on what they’re made from. Paper advertisements require the most continuous replacement.

The details of the rental package will reveal whether reprints are included or are charged as extras. The advertising cycle is also relevant as some paper posters are only up for two weeks anyway.

bIllboard ad costs in birmingham

Planning your Billboard Advertising in Birmingham

Billboard advertising should not be out on a tangent or an afterthought: having a coherent marketing plan that includes billboards as one element is essential. Planning ahead over at least the next twelve months can garner discounts and avoid busy periods like Christmas when rates are higher.

Here are some ways to cut costs on billboard advertising in Birmingham.

  • Target demographic – do the research and focus on the best way to target your demographic. If your company sells sportswear, then advertising near gyms and leisure centres will best position your brand plus, these are often in out-of-town locations or in retail parks where billboard rates are cheaper
  • Make a longer-term hire commitment – billboard advertising should form part of the marketing holistic, and with this in mind, it may be possible to commit to more extended periods of billboard hire, a great way to reduce costs. Longer hire periods are not the same as the viewing period
  • Negotiate – loyalty to one billboard provider should be rewarded. Don’t be tempted by front door discounts either, which may disguise higher pricing further down the line – always shop around
  • Think outside the box – advertising in unusual locations that are less expensive can be just as effective as promoting in high-footfall places for some brands and products
  • Do your homework – billboard advertising should always be supported by solid market research and data, just like any other element of a marketing strategy. The right metrics will help business owners make an informed decision about advertisement design, length of hire, and the best location, saving costs where possible and always ensuring the best value for money

Other C0nsiderations

If you’re opting for a classic hoarding and a longer run of, say, 4-6 weeks, then your paper advertisement may need to be renewed, especially in the winter, so read the small print of the contract carefully, as some companies charge for renewals.

Consider the location carefully, and don’t get caught out with unplanned costs like backlighting in the darker months. Picking a place with streetlighting and plenty of traffic can help avoid this requirement, which can considerably add to the bill.

Why Parts of the M6 Motorway are Billboard Free

The M6 motorway is the gateway to the northwest, but a recent case has ruled billboards an unsightly risk to public safety, so they are absent from one stretch of the M6 motorway.

Developer Wildstone Estates Ltd applied to place two large digital billboards next to the elevated section of the M6 in Witton, also overlooking Birmingham’s largest cemetery.

Wildstone Estates contested the decision on appeal, but the government inspector refused permission for the billboards to go ahead on the basis that this section of the M6 is generally greener and tree-lined because of the cemetery and should stay that way.

There were safety issues, too. As a smart motorway with overhead gantries at regular intervals, drivers need to focus on changing road signage and not be distracted by advertisements. Smart motorways do not have a defined hard shoulder for vehicle breakdowns and emergencies and have been the subject of criticism by the police and road safety groups.

What Questions Should You Ask a Billboard Company?

Asking the right questions of any contractor is essential to finding the right company, and billboard hire is no different. Here’s a handy checklist.

  • Which billboard services do you offer? Some billboard companies only offer installation and maintenance services, whereas others provide a complete design and printing service
  • What types of billboard signs do you install? Most companies offer a mix of traditional static billboards and digital billboards, but some only offer one or the other. It’s essential to have a clear idea about which one is best for your needs before embarking on the search for a provider
  • Do you have examples of previously successful advertisements? This is an essential question if the company is going to design and install. Previous campaigns should help you get a feel for the quality and effectiveness of their work and help you understand whether or not this company has the right experience to promote your brand
  • Do you have a billboard creation and installation process? Understand the timeline they will offer; this is particularly important with date-sensitive advertising
  • In which geographical areas do you provide billboards? Perhaps this should be your first question if you know the location you want to advertise. However, this may be open-ended, and the billboard company might be able to demonstrate some metrics that help you choose a site. Just remember they will want you to hire them, so they might present data to favour their own billboard locations
  • Do you offer installation and maintenance? Always know what you are paying for. Understand how often the advert will appear and how often it is refreshed if you are opting for a classic static billboard. What’s the fallback position in the event of vandalism or damage from bad weather?
  • What are your charges and rates? Rates vary from one billboard company to another, partly because the service offerings may be different. Some companies charge a flat rate for hire, others reflect location, with some sites more expensive than others. Some companies charge a separate fee for design, installation, and maintenance, whereas others roll everything up into one price
  • Is insurance included in the price? Different kinds of billboard insurance offer protection in various scenarios. A professional and reputable billboard company won’t overlook this at the point of hire

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Final Thoughts

Digital marketing has skyrocketed in recent years, but billboard or OOH (Out-of-Home) advertising is still a core focus for many businesses. Billboards can boost the brand, capture audience attention, and deliver impactful messages to almost any demographic of people.

Around half of UK residents see at least one billboard advertisement every week. However, billboard advertising in Birmingham has a bit of a reputation for being expensive, but in reality, it compares favourably to the cost and complexities of online advertising and is a worthwhile element in any marketing campaign, particularly in a population-dense, diverse, and busy commercial city like Birmingham.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main advantages of billboard advertising?

The main advantage of billboard advertising is being able to establish a presence away from the crowded and noisy spaces of digital mediums. Billboard advertising is also an excellent way to build brand awareness with engaging messages and impactful visuals. Billboards are perfect for time-sensitive campaigns and are also an ideal way to target an established demographic.

What are the drawbacks of billboard advertising?

Location, location, location! Location is king when it comes to billboard advertising, so a significant drawback is your advert ending up in the wrong place. The way to avoid this is good research and choosing the right billboard company with appropriate sites for your brand or campaign. Some billboards are enormous, so damage is always a possible problem, either deliberate vandalism or destruction caused by bad weather to boards in exposed locations like on the side of a motorway. Sometimes, it can be hard to gauge the impact and effectiveness of billboards. Digital billboards  offers the possibility of engagement and interaction by using a hashtag or social media link. However, this isn’t available with a static hoarding and a traditional advertisement. This puts some companies off compared to advertising online, as it’s much easier to evaluate the impact of an advert or campaign in a purely digital context.

Is there a perfect hire period for a billboard?

It’s impossible to calculate a perfect hire period as so much is individual to the brand or campaign, the time of year, and the billboard location. If the right metrics are in place to support the advertising in the first place, then these should suggest an appropriate hire period based on all the available information. Remember, the hire period differs from the viewing period. You may rent a billboard for a total of twelve weeks, with an advert running in blocks of four weeks during the next six months.

What is billboard insurance, and what does it cover?

A property policy insures the physical structure of the billboard; this is usually something the billboard company will deal with directly, as advertisers are only renting the space, not buying the billboard. Loss of income insurance covers any reduced or disrupted revenue if the billboard is damaged and the advertisement cannot be shown. This interruption may also extend to power outages. Liability insurance covers any damage that occurs caused by a billboard; most common are injuries created by a piece of hoarding coming adrift, perhaps in bad weather. Gordon Kaye, the famous British actor who played Rene Artois in the sitcom ‘Allo Allo,’ was seriously injured by a piece of billboard hoarding that smashed through the windscreen of his car during a storm. A nail from a piece of wood pierced his forehead. Kaye survived the incident, although required five hours of surgery and a lengthy spell in hospital. A good billboard company will handle the insurance elements for you and credit back any day when the advertisement is not visible.

What does the abbreviation DEC mean?

DEC means Daily Effective Circulations and is shorthand within the billboard industry for the number of pedestrians and vehicles passing the billboard site every day.

Isn’t billboard advertising old-fashioned in the modern digital age?

No, it isn’t! Remember, the latest and most interactive billboards are also digital billboards. Digital billboards just keep getting better with new technologies creating high-res visuals, and some companies are deploying AR or augmented reality, QR codes, and hashtags to bring the audience they want to their online presence. There remains a perception that billboard advertising is expensive, and most businesses are pleasantly surprised when they learn that it isn’t and stands up well when compared with the costs and input of advertising online.

What are the key things to focus on in a billboard advertisement design?

The four critical tenets for good billboard advertising design are the font, colours, background, and content. The font is usually consistent with the rest of the brand’s presentation, but don’t be frightened to change it if it is not easily legible. Bold colours can catch the viewer’s eye but not at the expense of the chosen design or image; there must be a holistic balance. There’s plenty of data on using different colours in advertising and the impact on the viewer. The average time a person looks at a billboard is only four seconds, so it’s essential to use design agencies with experience in the field; the requirements for billboard advertising are pretty different from other mediums.

Is Birmingham a good location for a billboard?

Located in the heart of England, Birmingham is home to world-class businesses, two renowned universities, and a commercial sector characterised by innovative entrepreneurs. The city also has one of the youngest populations in Europe and is situated at the centre of the UK’s Road and rail network. Birmingham is an advertiser’s dream, with a vast choice of traditional and digital billboard locations that would suit a wide variety of brands and businesses. As with any billboard advertisement, the type of advert and the specific location are still crucial, but there’s a tremendous amount of choice within the city and the outskirts.

Mike Alexander
I’m Mike, a seasoned professional with a decade of experience in the dynamic realms of marketing and advertising. My journey has been fueled by a passion for staying at the forefront of outdoor advertising trends. I look forward to helping you to realised your advertising ambitions.
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