Can Smaller Markets Support Digital Billboards?

Small Town Billboard

Watchfire Signs

Verde Capital Ad 1

While the answer to this question may be dependent on a variety of factors including vicinity to larger markets and sales practices, we have a lot of data showing favorable outcomes to installing digital billboards in smaller markets. We’ll look at a few real examples provided by billboard companies to see how they perform. We’ll leave the company names and locations out for competitive reasons.

Case Study 1
City Population: 2,310
Digital Billboard Size: 10’6″x24′
Traffic Count: 15,000
Live Since: 2011
Approx. Lifetime Occupancy Rate: 98%+
Advertising Rate: Same as the companies larger markets

This is clearly a high performer. But, what makes it this way? One huge factor is that this board is located on a highway that connects two states. So the advertisers come from a large radius around the billboard from both states. It is also the only digital billboard within many miles, making it more lucrative. Many of the advertisers on it have been on it since day one.

Case Study 2
City Population: 9,199
Digital Billboard Size: 9’x35′
Traffic Count: 28,000
Live Since: 2015
Approx. Lifetime Occupancy Rate: 70%
Advertising Rate: Same as the companies larger markets

This case study shows us that traffic count doesn’t necessarily equal popularity. While it is still bringing in decent revenue and staying occupied the majority of the time, there is still some room for sales growth. One downside to this location is that it is several hours out of the company’s headquarters, making sales trips harder to accomplish.

Case Study 3
City Population: 2,263
Digital Billboard Size: 10’6″x24′
Traffic Count: 9,900
Live Since: 2016
Approx. Lifetime Occupancy Rate: 98%
Advertising Rate: Same as the companies larger markets

We’ll call this billboard location a win-win situation. A very low population and traffic count, yet it has been sold out since it went live. It’s a very small town between a few medium-sized cities. It is also close to a major interstate, but not visible from it. Some of the advertisers on this board are companies from surrounding cities trying to advertise to this smaller town.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Target long term advertisers that have the budget to afford digital. For example… banks, hospitals, real estate companies, utility/communications providers, etc.
  2. You need a decent sales staff WITH capable tools (like Tasty Ad) to get your advertisers.
  3. Programmatic sales will likely be lower in smaller towns with lower traffic counts.
  4. Locations with larger surrounding cities are ideal.

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