What Affects the Cost of Billboard Advertising in Manchester?

Although there is an industry standard for billboard sizing and an average price, many different things still impact the cost of hiring a billboard in Manchester. Here are a few of the key factors.

The Exact Location

The right location is probably the most essential element of billboard impact, meaning success or failure. A city like Manchester offers numerous billboard locations. Here are some sample prices:-

  • 6-sheet on the roadside – £170
  • Roadside Phone Box or Kiosk – £170
  • Bus Stop 6-sheet – £295
  • Cinema 6-sheet – £170
  • 48-sheet – £325
  • 96-sheet – £625

Each location offers different footfall numbers and target demographic.

Billboard companies vary in how they structure their pricing. Some are price sensitive according to location, even down to the precise spot in an individual street. Others have a flat rate, which applies across the UK.

Billboard Hire Term

The longer you rent the space, the more the billboard will cost at a flat rate. However, there are economies of scale, and sometimes, more extended rental periods can lower the cost, especially bringing digital billboard advertising on par with conventional billboard costs.

Sometimes, a more extended rental period isn’t appropriate because the campaign is designed to be short and sharp or is date-sensitive.

Don’t confuse the overall rental period with the advertising cycle. Some billboards rotate on a two-week cycle (or the period can vary). The rental period is the overall length of time the advertisement is visible, but this doesn’t have to be a continuous exposure.

Billboard Size

The standard classic billboard is approximately three metres by six metres and is referred to as a 48-sheet billboard. The next size up is a straight double, a 96-sheet billboard, and the price doubles accordingly.

Size isn’t everything; the design format is relevant, particularly at the drawing board stage, as landscape advertisements work better on a 96-sheet board, which is a higher financial commitment.

The bigger the advertisement, the higher the rental cost and it will also cost more to produce the poster if you opt for a classic billboard promotion.

What’s the Billboard Made Out Of?

Billboards are made out of numerous different materials. The traditional paper advertisement is the cheapest, but they can suffer from wear and tear, especially in bad weather, so that they may need more frequent replacement.

Other materials include Correx, a type of 2-ply fluted plastic that is semi-rigid, strong, and weather and chemical-resistant. It’s also lightweight and very cost-effective.

Vinyl is another option; it’s more expensive than paper or Correx but more weather-resistant and durable.

Time of Year

Some periods in the year cost more than others, even if your product or service isn’t susceptible to seasonal change.

The run-up to Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day can all see a price hike as retailers want to cash in on the best billboard locations.

Production and Installation Charges

Some billboard companies offer an advertisement production service and may even have their own teams of in-house graphic designers or work in partnership with a design agency.

However, you’ll need to produce the artwork with some companies or commission a third party. If you’re using third-party organisations, always use specialist designers with a track record of delivering work for billboards – it is pretty specialist.

Installation charges are usually a set price as part of the hire package from the billboard company. Check the renewal intervals, especially if you have a traditional paper billboard advertisement, as they can suffer in bad weather.

Some companies include the cost of reprints in the upfront hire cost, but most charge for these separately.

Production and installation costs vary from company to company, so it can be hard to make accurate comparisons. It’s essential to focus on the advertising cycle and how often the billboard renews to understand what’s included in the hire price and what isn’t.

Digital Billboards

The sizing for digital billboards is the same as traditional billboards, but the price is usually higher for the former. Clever structuring with a long-term rental can bring the price of a digital board onto the same level as a more old-fashioned paper hoarding.

Unsurprisingly, digital billboards often cost more to maintain and run, but they offer distinct advantages for certain products and services. Digital billboards can be remotely controlled and provide the facility of real-time updates.

Digital billboards are a user-sensitive form of advertising as the display can be programmed to appear at certain times to target specific groups of people. Programmatic advertising allows companies to choose time slots targeting their demographic, such as school run times for products aimed at parents.

Digital billboards aren’t static by definition or exclusive and share space with other advertisers on a rotation. Advertisements appear for a few seconds every minute rather than the continuous 24-hour exposure of a classic static billboard.

Cutting Costs on Billboard Advertising in Manchester

  • Forward-thinking strategies – planning ahead and including billboard advertising as part of a coherent marketing strategy optimises the budget and factors in the rewards of both short and long-term billboard advertising. Critical elements like avoiding busy times of the year, such as Christmas with its attendant price hike, are all part of this
  • Research – the most popular (and expensive) billboard locations might not be the best for your particular product or service. Doing your homework and understanding your target demographic and the best advertising locations to reach them will make your budget go further
  • Extended hire – signing up for long-term commitments can reap the rewards of loyalty and may bring the cost of digital billboards onto the same level as a classic hoarding
  • Return on investment (ROI) – all marketing should be focused on the ROI to evaluate whether the particular strategy is working – this is about achieving the best value for money and return not just for billboards but all other forms of advertising
  • Barter and negotiate – if a billboard company doesn’t offer lower pricing for repeat business, then shop around and go elsewhere
  • Graphics and design – this can be a hidden cost, particularly if the billboard company does not offer the design element. Alternatively, this cost can be wrapped up as part of the hire charge, and you may be able to get it done more cheaply elsewhere. It’s essential to scrutinise the details of your hire package
  • Blue sky thinking – consider advertising your company’s appeal in unusual locations or events. This can often be cheaper at new or fledgling events and surprisingly effective

Billboard advertising should be part of a coherent and structured marketing strategy. Advertising should always be underpinned by solid market research and data plus, there must be a way of measuring or evaluating how much impact the billboard campaign has made to determine its impact.

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Other Cost Factors

Billboard advertising can be a cost-effective and productive element of any marketing strategy and should not be overlooked as old-fashioned or outmoded.

Data suggests that it is cheaper and more effective than online advertising, so it could be worth considering a change of strategy and diverting money from other parts of the budget to support a billboard campaign.

Search out billboard companies that offer rewards for repeat business and long-term hires. This is something to establish at the outset and should be part of the contractual arrangements rather than a vague promise. Don’t hesitate to move around if loyalty is not rewarded.

Billboard advertising should be considered and planned on at least a twelve-month basis; this helps avoid expensive seasonal windows and takes account of factors like visibility in the dark for a classic billboard and the impact of streetlighting if you are advertising in the winter.

Billboards can be backlit, but this will add to the costs.

Classic billboards can be just as effective, if not more so, in some scenarios than a more expensive digital billboard – it all depends on the advertisement, the product, and the location.

How to Create a Successful Billboard Advertisement

Successful billboard advertising is a real art, which is why there are specialist outdoor advertising companies. They can develop a creative design, eye-catching materials, or a catchy slogan to attract punters. The ultimate goal is brand recognition and brand recall. Here are some real headlining examples.

  • Coca-Cola – immediately, people think of the red and white colours and the slogan, ‘It’s the real thing.’ Recently, Coca-Cola used the red and white colours to encourage recycling bottles and cans – there was no wording on the advertisement, yet it was instantly recognisable
  • Kleenex – the latest billboard adverts are emotionally appealing; this is an example of billboard empathy
  • Mcdonald’s – this famous burger chain has converted its billboards into places for bees to live; the billboard is still an advertisement but also doubles as a bee hotel
  • IBM – IBM’s billboards feature a curve to create a rain shelter and ramped bench seating. This is the perfect combo of modern design and function

Whilst your company may not be in the league of these big-name, hard hitters, these examples demonstrate how imagination and creativity are often the keys behind the design, and it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Questions to Ask a Billboard Company

Finding the right billboard company is essential for the success of your campaign. Here are issues to consider and some questions to ask.

  • How much is the rental for classic and digital billboards, and what does that price include?
  • Do you offer flat rates for each billboard size, or do they reflect precise locations?
  • Do you offer discounts for long-term and/or repeat bookings?
  • Do your rates include production and installation?
  • Do I have to pay for repeat posters, or is a set number included in the price?
  • Do you have an in-house graphic designer, or should I find my own?
  • Do you have metrics about impressions and footfall for each billboard location?
  • Do you offer billboard insurance, or do I need to find my own cover?

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Final Thoughts

Billboards are the latest popular form of advertising, but they’re nothing new. Billboard advertising fell out of favour as the internet grew and grew, but now, it’s almost impossible to stand out from the crowd online, and companies are looking for alternatives.

Online advertising is complex and requires a significant financial investment and specialist support to be effective and avoid ad-blocking software. In contrast, billboard advertising is refreshingly simple and straightforward.

Many companies assume the cost is out of their reach and billboard advertising is only for big businesses, but classic or digital hoardings can deliver outstanding results for almost any type and size of business.

However, there is an art to billboard advertising, so specialist help with design is essential to achieve maximum results. If the billboard company doesn’t produce your design, then you’ll need to use an expert design agency for the graphics.

Affordable, cost-effective, and without the noise of the internet, where any advertisement campaign can get lost in the crowds, billboard advertising costs in Manchester are cost-effective, good value for money, and deliver results.

Do the proper research, and your company’s name could soon appear in lights in this vibrant northern city for millions to see.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there disadvantages to billboard advertising?

One of the main drawbacks of classic billboards is that they can be subject to weather conditions and vandalism. However, vandalism is a double-edged sword and sometimes makes the billboard stand out even more! A lot depends on whether the vandalism distracts the viewer or enhances the original message.

Another issue is that static billboards lack interactivity, a feature of digital billboards or digital advertising on social media. Lack of interactivity makes it harder to gauge the advertisement’s impact and success.

What is the crucial advantage of billboard advertising?

The main advantage of billboard advertising is that companies can ensure a captive audience with the correct location. Think of the number of people travelling in trains, cars, and buses. Even with the distraction of handheld media or in-car infotainment, these are still idle periods for many people. Billboards are in-your-face advertising!

What is the best hire period for a billboard?

That depends on the location, the advertisement, and the marketing plan, so it’s a very individual answer. It’s essential to be as strategic with billboard advertising as with any other form of advertising. The strategy should suggest the correct timeframe. If the billboard is time-sensitive and focuses on an occasion or an event, it’s easy to work out how long to leave the advertisement in place.

How do you track the effectiveness of a billboard?

The primary way to understand the advertisement’s reach is to know the traffic in the location surrounding the billboard. Some companies will do the legwork for you using government data, census information, road traffic counts, and manual logging procedures. There is also online monitoring from the brand name, a slogan, a strapline, or a tag. Analytics data can evidence how often these words or phrases appear in search engines – it’s a bit like keyword research. This data can monitor trends both pre-, during, and post-billboard advertising. A hashtag is the easiest way to promote active engagement and help companies bring in business and monitor the effectiveness of both the advertisement and the location. However, if you’re looking for easily accessible hard and fast data with a direct link from billboard traffic to engagement or sales, then that doesn’t exist. But, it doesn’t mean that billboard advertising isn’t anything other than highly effective with the right promotion in the right place.

What is DEC?

Billboard companies refer to DEC, which means Daily Effective Circulations. This refers to the daily number of pedestrians and vehicles passing the billboard site.

Are digital billboards really relevant in the modern digital age?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes. The concept of the digital billboard is reaching new heights in terms of creativity and interactivity using dynamic displays with high-resolution visuals that are both eye-catching and engaging. Some digital billboards now incorporate augmented reality (AR). Digital billboards attract people’s interest when they’re usually not online, often travelling as pedestrians or passengers in vehicles, trains, or buses. They may not actively promote a product or service but can reinforce brand messages and drive brand recall. Digital billboards embrace all the latest technological concepts, including QR codes and links to social media profiles, creating a connection between the online and offline worlds.

What are the four key things to focus on when designing a billboard advertisement?

Focus on colours, font, background, and content. The right font increases readability, and a bold font can grab attention. However, the font should be consistent with other elements within the marketing suite. Use images that connect strongly with the audience – remember, a picture speaks a thousand words. Deploy pleasing colours that work well together and contrast with the background; colours invoke different emotions, and there is plenty of solid data on this. The colours should also resonate with the message. Keep text short and straightforward; most experts recommend seven words or less, as the average view time of a billboard is only four seconds. For brand recognition and engagement, the advertisement’s layout, styling, and colour should be in keeping with the rest of the company’s presentation in other areas. However, the text message could be an opportunity to try something a little bit different.

Is Manchester a good location for a billboard?

Manchester is widely regarded as the UK’s second city, underpinned by data from numerous polls conducted during the first two decades of the 2000s. Also, Manchester’s population has grown by 20% in the last ten years, and it is becoming an increasingly popular location for advertisers. There is a varied demographic with certain key notables, like a student population of more than 80,000, one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the United Kingdom, and a thriving tourism industry with attractions like Old Trafford.

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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