What Factors Affect the Cost of 3D Advertising?

Static or LED

Static 3D billboards are cheaper than the 3D LED screen equivalent, although they will cost more than a traditional billboard and a 2D LED screen.

Indoors or Outdoors

Most 3D billboards and 3D LED screens are installed outside simply because they can reach more people. Outdoor LED panels need enough brightness and protective structures to work effectively and withstand the weather.


Whether static 3D or LED billboard, the size matters. The bigger the board, the more it costs. Most 3D billboards are pretty huge because that’s all part of the effect.

Video Production and Complexity

3D content is more complex to produce and operate than its 2D cousins. Special effects just add to the bill so that production costs can be high.

Duration of Hire

The length of the promotion or advertising run must be considered if you rent the billboard. Generally, the longer you rent, the more you pay. 3D LED billboards are costed by the hour, day, or month.


Some 3D advertising locations like the Piccadilly Lights or Times Square in New York are top dollar. Premium locations have premium rentals.

What is a 3D Billboard?

3D billboards, once seen, never forgotten! This medium creates the illusion of something popping out or standing proud of the advertisement. The key difference between a two-dimensional and three-dimensional non-LED billboard is the shape. A 3D billboard wraps itself around a building or a platform.

A 3D LED or digital billboard works on a different principle. Two images with different perspectives are combined in a single footage, producing a three-dimensional effect. Digital technology essentially creates an optical illusion that makes a picture the human eye believes is real. It’s based on how the right and left eyes view the image – slightly differently – and mimics that dimension. 3D technology exploits this to create an image that, to the viewer, appears authentic, like a car exploding out of the side of a building, but isn’t.

The difference between a 3D billboard and a 3D LED billboard is that the former uses physical structures to create the illusion, whereas the latter uses digital images.

Types of 3D LED Billboards

  • Rotating 3D LED billboards, which can produce complex visuals that turn in a continuous loop. This is an ideal design for an eye-catching, immersive display
  • Interactive 3D LED billboards allow viewers to engage with the advertisement by touching or manipulating the visual content
  • Augmented Reality (AR) 3D LED billboards offer immersive three-dimensional visuals complemented with sound and motion for a truly memorable display

What are the Advantages of 3D Advertising?

In a constant world of screens, colour, and flashing images, 3D advertising is novel and eye-catching. It stops people in their tracks. These images often go viral by people using shares, likes and hashtags. Reposting on social media gives 3D advertising an exponential reach.

Netflix brought the traffic in Piccadilly Circus in London to a standstill with a 3D billboard campaign to launch the blockbuster film, ‘Army of the Dead.’ The feature was a zombie tiger on a 20-meter-tall billboard. No wonder everyone stopped to look.

Times Square in New York has had several highly effective 3D ads, including a cascading waterfall, a massive whale, and the famous BMW promotion.

3D advertising offers a standout visual experience. To the eye tired of 2D static images and bombarded with visuals from the environment and online, the 3D advert is visually fascinating and memorable. Data suggests that 3D advertisements get 50% more attention than 2D equivalents. For the brand or promotion, this equals higher awareness and engagement.

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The Technologies behind 3D LED Billboards

Two types of technologies are in use for 3D LED billboards: multi-view and three-dimensional anamorphic technologies.

The first involves being able to see the 3D image wherever you are standing within reasonable parameters. The second is when the characters seem to approach the viewer.

If you are looking to create a 3D LED screen, then here is what you need to choose for maximum effect:

  • Brightness, over 6,000 nits
  • High resolution
  • High grayscale
  • High contrast ratio
  • High dynamic range
  • Fast refresh rate
  • Fast frame rate
  • Parallax Barrier

How to Lower Costs on a 3D LED Billboard

3D advertising, both traditional and LED, will stretch your marketing budget to the max. Fortunately, there are things you can do to lower costs and/or make your money go further. Here are some ideas.

  • If you’re opting for LED, choose technology and accessories that are low-energy and consumption. This is also important for brands and promotions with an environmental message
  • Shop local if you are buying panels to fix the screen in place – this saves haulage costs
  • Stay as lightweight as possible – these are easier and quicker to install and so require less labour
  • Choose LED panels that offer high protection so there is less repair and maintenance, especially in bad weather

Top Tips to Ace Your 3D Advertising

  • Always test-run your billboard in the landscape it will appear in – there are plenty of software packages that can create a mock-up
  • Test variations in a software mock-up using 2D and 3D billboards, two different creative concepts in the exact location. Tools like Expoze can highlight subtle design changes, which can turn a promotion from an also ran into a winner. It could be as simple as changing one element, like the background colour. Subtle changes can have a significant impact on the viewer, and in high-footfall areas, this can make all the difference
  • Grab attention with contrast – in high population-dense areas, there will be a lot of competition for people’s attention, not least the lure of the screen on their own devices. Use colours that have high contrast with the surrounding environment and stand out against all the visual clutter. That may mean using predominantly dark or light colours depending on the immediate area around the board
  • Create a central point or easy focus for the viewer. People don’t go out intending to look at billboards, so the timespan they will give a board is often just three or four seconds. Keep the design simple with as few visual elements as possible. Expose will highlight ‘attention blobs’ on your heatmap, and if you see more than two, then it’s time to alter the design
  • Use faces as part of the design. Research consistently suggests that faces grab the attention of the human eye on an instinctive and subconscious level. The eyes of the face must be pointed towards the product, brand, or whichever element you want the viewer to focus on because our gaze tends to follow that of the face we are looking at
3d advertising costs

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Final Thoughts

Billboards still have a prominent place in modern advertising, but in the colourful, over-stimulated screen-driven 21st century, new measures are needed to catch people’s attention.

The development of 3D technology in advertising is just part of the more significant move into AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality), cleverly hijacked by marketing agencies to take billboards and LED screen promotions to the next level.

As technologies continue developing, billboards will become increasingly more clever and attention-grabbing. However, all this comes at a price, and so far, only the biggest brands have embraced 3D advertising.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need 3D glasses to view a 3D LED billboard?

No, you don’t. These billboards are referred to as 3D LED naked-eye billboards, so the technology works without any intervention. Unlike other mediums requiring equipment to work, the 3D effects are integrated into the production so will catch the eye of a passer by.

Should I buy or rent a 3D billboard?

Buying a 3D billboard is a considerable investment, but renting one isn’t that cheap either. Monthly rental can range from £1,000 per month to nearly £12,000, with the difference in price reflecting the exact size of the billboard, its location, and other specific add-ons. Most companies rent a 3D billboard because they don’t have to worry about the difficulties of operating it plus, rental allows businesses to more easily move to other sites and change where the advertisement appears.

What Makes Up The 3D LED Billboard Price?

When you rent a 3D LED billboard, you’ll just be presented with a packaged price, but it helps to understand where the costs fall as it helps with budget projections and identifies where cost savings can be made if possible. The front-end costs are for manufacturing, producing, and designing the screen content. There are some significant and pricey distinctions between a standard 2D LED display board and a 3D LED billboard. Operational costs will depend on whether you buy the 3D LED display screen or are renting it. With purchase, you’ll need to pay for the ongoing cost of the power and software management for the 3D content. In rental scenarios, the price is rated per hour or per day, and there are lots of different factors that influence this, including the location of the screen, the period of rental, and the size of the display.

What is Parallax Barrier?

Parallax Barrier is a technology that forms part of the optical illusion of 3D imaging, which means you can look at the display without needing 3D glasses. Two versions of the same content are filmed from the exact angle the human eyes would see it. Parallax Barrier uses a series of linear strips in front of the display, which blocks the light from each image from being seen by the opposing eye. This mimics how the human eye would combine the two views from the left and right eyes to create an accurate picture. Parallax Barrier is an essential element of any 3D LED advertisement.

Are 3D billboards more Effective and Better Value than old 2D style Boards?

It’s an important question as there is a significant cost hike between the two formats. Even though it’s early days, data suggests that 3D advertising does leap out at the viewer and is far more effective than other formats. However, as with any emerging technology, the price tag is very high and currently beyond the reach of all but the big-name brands.

Do I need a Specialist Agency to design a 3D Advertisement?

Whether you opt for a 3D static display or a 3D LED, the design process is complex and technical. The two options are to hire an independent agency to produce the content for you or work with the service offered by the billboard provider, which will either be in-house or contracted out. Always choose a company with specific experience in the type of advertising you want to produce.

What are the Environmental Considerations of 3D LED Advertisements?

Even if a business isn’t directly involved in the eco-market, green practices and sustainable behaviour are something no company can ignore. Brightly-lit designs have received criticism and condemnation from environmental campaigners in a time when people are being encouraged to switch lights off, not on. Fortunately, 3D LED displays have lower energy usage than old-style 2D advertisements, which are more environmentally friendly and use energy-efficient production and operation.

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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