20 Answers to the Most-Asked Questions in Advertising

As a full-service advertising agency, one of the first questions we get is how much does (fill in the blank) advertising cost? Whether it’s television advertising, building a website, or running Facebook ads, you want to understand before you start a campaign if you can afford it or not.

Quite honestly that’s one the first questions I ask when someone presents an opportunity to us they want us to try—whether it’s new software or a media opportunity. With over 30 years of advertising experience, we have learned a few things the hard way. We believe in making it easy for our clients to get the answers they want quickly and directly. So here are some guidelines to consider when planning your advertising campaign.

Advertising on Billboards

How much does it cost to advertise on billboards?

Billboards or outdoor advertising are priced based on location, size and amount of traffic the ads will receive.It costs between $650 to $950 to print and install a billboard. Digital Billboards don’t cost anything to produce since there is nothing to print. You simply pay for the monthly advertising costs.

Billboard sizes and costs will range as follows: (based on a four-week period)

Junior Posters: Size 6' x 12 "
Cost: $250 to $1,000Benefit: Impact Urban Areas
Posters: Size 10'5 x 22'8"
Cost: $300 to $1,500Benefit: Local Market Road Saturation
Bulletins: Size 14" x 48'Cost: $400 to $25,000Benefit: Size Commands Attention
Digital Bulletin: 1400 x 400 pixelsCost: $150 to $5,000Benefit: Change Message Often

As you can see, depending on the market size you want to advertise in it will cost $650 per month for a main street in a small town and $20,000 or more per month to be on the Interstate.
It’s important to note that billboard ads get sold out for longer terms than other advertising outlets. Many advertisers lock up prime locations for a year or more. You need to be prepared to take advantage of an opening quickly. There are limited locations and usually high demand.

What’s the minimum length of time to advertise on billboards?

Usually 30 days. However, some locations have a 90-day minimum.

How often should we change creative or art for our billboards?

We suggest every 60 days. Well-crafted creative can help increase results substantially. You will also want to drive your locations to make sure the colors you are using grab attention.

For example, we had a client who wanted to use white as the background color for their billboard. However, the locations we were buying had high desert as a backdrop. The white boards completely blended in with the scenery around the outdoor ads. It washed the creative out and you hardly noticed it was there. We changed the background to black to make the creative stand out.

How do I design outdoor ads to get the best results?

Keep it simple. Limit copy to nine words or less. Use colors that have strong contrast like black and yellow, red and yellow, orange and white, and black and white. Use fonts and images that are easy to read and see. Use an image that grabs the viewers’ attention. Write copy that makes them want the product or service, and make the advertiser name and logo easy to read.
Effective Outdoor Ads

Ineffective Outdoor Ads

What types of advertisers do outdoor ads work best for?

Exit here strategy. If you have a retail location that you want people to exit for, outdoor advertising is very effective.

Advertising on Radio

How much does it cost to advertise on the radio?

Small cities and towns can be as low as $5 to $10 per 60-second spot. Mid-size cities and markets will range from $50 to $100 per spot, and large markets will go for $150 to $750 per 60-second spot. Rates vary based on demand, time of year, time of day, audience size, ranking and ratings of the station. You will get the best value on radio if you negotiate based on the audience size per average quarter hour (AQH). And remember: Don’t pay rate card.

It’s also smart to let a professional media buyer do all the negotiation for you. They do all the hard work–negotiating back and forth. You get the benefit of someone who has the latest audience ratings and insider knowledge of what the market is going for in regard to pricing and demand.

In the following table, we’ve provided sample cities, stations and planning rates. Full disclosure: Rates will vary by time of year, demand on inventory, audience fluctuations and ratings. This information is for planning purposes only, so you can get an idea of how much various markets and market sizes cost.

Market FormatDaypart60 sec. rate each(25 Spots per week)
Weekly Investment
Abilene TXCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$12$300
Akron OHAdult HitsM-F 6am to7pm$25$625
Albany NYSportsM-F 6am to7pm$10$250
Albany NYUrbanM-F 6am to7pm$10$250
Allentown PACountryM-F 6am to 7pm$40$1000
Anchorage AKClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$15$375
Asheville NCTalkM-F 6am to 7pm$15$375
Amarillo TXCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$7$175
Ann Arbor MICountryM-F 6am to 7pm$30$750
Atlanta GAMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$75$1875
Atlanta GANews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$50$1250
Atlanta GAMexicanM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
Auburn ALUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$5$125
Baton RougeMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$35$875
Beaumont TXHit MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
BirminghamSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$50$1250
BirminghamUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Bismarck NDNews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$13$325
Boise IDSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$12$300
Bridgeport CTMix MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$125$3125
Bryan TXClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$10$250
Buffalo NYClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$45$1125
Cape Cod MASportsM-F 6am to 7pm$11$275
Cedar RapidsAdult Stand.M-F 6am to 7pm$2$50
Charleston SCUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Chicago ILMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$150$3750
Chicago ILNews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$200$5000
Chicago ILUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$75$1875
Cincinnati OHRockM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Cincinnati OHA/CM-F 6am to7pm$62$1550
Col. SpringsMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Columbia MOMusicM-F 6am to7pm$13$325
Dallas TXSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$60$1500
Dallas TXNews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
Dallas TXSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$50$1250
Davenport IANews/TalkM-F 6am to7pm$16$400
Dayton OHCountryM-F 6am to7pm$5$125
Des MoinesCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Detroit MITalkM-F 6am to 7pm$150$3750
Detroit MIUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$45$1125
Erie, PARockM-F 6am to 7pm$12$300
Eugene ORAlternativeM-F 6am to7pm$7$175
Fayetteville ARMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$15$375
Fayettville NCMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
El Paso TXTalkM-F 6am to 7pm$22$550
El Paso TXCountryM-F 6am to7pm$5$125
Flint, MIA/CM-F 6am to 7pm$18$450
Flint, MITop 40M-F 6am to 7pm$10$250
Ft. Smith ARCountryM-F 6am to7pm$7$175
Ft. Walton FLActive RockM-F 6am to 7pm$13$325
Fresno CATalkM-F 6am to 7pm$42$1050
Fresno CACountryM-F 6am to7pm$25$625
Fresno CATop 40M-F 6am to7pm$26$650
Gallup NMHit MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$10$250
Grand RapidsClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$24$600
Green BaySportsM-F 6am to 7pm$19$475
Green BayMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$21$525
Huntsville ALTop 40M-F 6am to7pm$22$550
Huntsville ALUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$11$275
Kansas CityMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$60$1500
Knoxville TNCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$49$1225
Knoxville TNTalkM-F 6am to7pm$23$575
Lafayette LAMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$15$375
Little RockMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$14$308
Los AngelesNews/TalkM-F 6am to7pm$50$1250
Los AngelesRockM-F 6am to7pm$150$3750
Memphis TNUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$29$725
Mobile ALUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$29$725
Modesto CAMusicM-F 6am to7pm$49$1225
Nashville TNUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
Nashville TNMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$95$2375
New YorkNewsM-F 6am to 7pm$250$6250
New YorkUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$45$1125
New YorkCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$95$2375
Okla. City OKHip HopM-F 6am to 7pm$12$300
Peoria ILRockM-F 6am to 7pm$8$200
Peoria ILClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$10$250
San FranciscoNews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$65$1625
San FranciscoAlternativeM-F 6am to 7pm$32$800
San DiegoSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$14$350
Sirius XMComedyM-F 6am to7pm$50$1250
Sirius XMNewsM-F 6am to 7pm$150$3750
Sirius XMSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$22$550

There are about 6,000 radio stations in the United States. This table provides general prices based on market size and format.

How much does it cost to produce a radio spot?

$0 to $500 depending on talent and script elements. Some radio stations will produce at no charge.

How much do host endorsement radio ads cost?

The talent gets a weekly fee on top of the cost of your schedule. Typically, that’s $250 to $5,000 per week, depending on talent and market size.

How many words are in a 60-second radio spot script?

165 to 170 words. 30-second spots should be 80 words max.

How many local radio spots should I run each week to be effective?

25 to 45 spots per week, Monday through Friday, 6am to 7pm.

How few is “too few” spots to be effective on radio?

Nine to 12 local radio spots per week. Save your money if you can’t afford at least 15 spots per week.

What if I have limited radio budget?

Buy fewer days of the week and fewer weeks of the month, but don’t scrimp on frequency. Focus your spots on Wednesday through Friday or Saturday and Sunday. But make sure you have at least four to eight spots per day.

Advertising Online

How much does it cost to build a good website?

$2,500 to $3,500 for 10 to 15 pages. This pricing does not include a shopping cart function.

What’s the average cost per click on Facebook?

In the US, the average cost per click on Facebook is $1.17. CPC will vary by target audience and quarter.

How much does it cost to produce a video for social media?

$500 to $3,000 depending on elements, animation, voice work, and talent.

Advertising on Television

With cord-cutting does television advertising ever work anymore?

Yes. It’s harder than it used to be. But you only pay based on the audience that’s left. It still works. Especially for audiences that are aged 45-plus.

How much does it cost to produce a television spot?

Depending on the elements of the spot, it will cost $1,500 to $50,000 or more. Some cable outlets will produce at no charge.

How much do television spots cost?

Local cable spots can be as cheap as 75 cents to $5 per 30 seconds, per network, per zone. National networks will run $500 to $12,500 per 30-second spot depending on daypart, audience size, audience ratings, time of year and demand on inventory.

When is the least expensive time of year to advertise?

January. Most companies spent their budget on Christmas advertising. The networks don’t have as much demand on inventory and are more willing to negotiate.

What are the most expensive months to advertise?

May, October, November and December.

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