How Long Does a Billboard Stay Up? All About Campaign Durations

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How long should a billboard be up depicted by a billboard with a blue question mark. A grid appears around it with icons for the four seasons.

The best marketing campaigns have timelines so that you can analyze the effectiveness of your efforts over a set period of time. Too short of a campaign and you may be missing out on engagement. Too long and you may be wasting ad dollars, time, and/or energy. 

When planning an outdoor advertising campaign, one of the central questions is the duration your billboard ad will be on display. How long a billboard stays up can significantly influence the campaign’s effectiveness and return on investment (ROI)

Keep reading to learn about optimal length for a billboard campaign, minimum contract terms, requirements for different markets, and more. For information tailored to your specific campaign, we invite you to submit a form to get connected with one of our Account Executives right away.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this post:

Outdoor advertising campaigns are typically available in four-week increments, though it will vary from market to market. To achieve the best results from your billboard advertising, we recommend a minimum duration of 12 weeks.

A 12-week campaign ensures repeated exposure, which is crucial for brand recognition and message retention. While it might be tempting to opt for shorter campaigns to save costs, the extended duration provides a more solid foundation for your marketing efforts. Not to mention, 12 weeks is the minimum exposure for effective ROI.

Screenshot of Alluvit Media campaign RFP form

Why 12 Weeks?

  1. Visibility and Recall: This length ensures that your message is seen by drivers, commuters, and pedestrians multiple times. Repetition aids in memory retention, making it more likely that potential customers will remember your brand when they need (or the ad creates a need for) your products or services.
  2. Behavioral Impact: Consumer behavior studies indicate that repeated exposure to advertising messages can influence purchasing decisions. A 12-week campaign aligns with these findings, offering ample time to move your audience from awareness to consideration and, ultimately, to action.

Benefits of a Longer Billboard Campaign

Beyond just visibility and recall, longer billboard campaigns offer several additional benefits:

Consistent Brand Presence

Static board for Pennsylvania CASA Association. Campaign by Alluvit Media

A prolonged presence in the same location helps build a sense of familiarity and trust with your audience. Consistent exposure reinforces your brand message, making it a staple in the minds of potential customers.This also increases your frequency of exposure, driving the likelihood of action (e.g., visiting your website or location, or giving you a call).

Enhanced Creative Opportunities

With more time (and depending on the contract terms), you have the flexibility to rotate different creative messages on the same digital display, keeping the content fresh and engaging. This approach can highlight various aspects of your product or service, appeal to different demographics, or align with seasonal promotions. It also allows you to perform A/B tests and see what messaging garners more engagement.

Competitive Edge

Maintaining a longer campaign can also help in outlasting competitors. While others may have short-term campaigns that come and go, your sustained presence keeps your brand top-of-mind, giving you a competitive advantage.

Minimum Contract Terms for Static Billboards

For static billboards, the minimum contract term is most often 4 weeks. This duration is designed to provide a baseline level of exposure, allowing your advertisement to start making an impact. 

However, while 4 weeks is the minimum, extending your campaign beyond this period significantly enhances its effectiveness. A 4-week campaign can be a good starting point for testing new markets or messages, but it typically won’t deliver the same level of impact as a longer-term commitment.

In the first few weeks, your audience will start to notice your billboard. However, it takes time for the message to sink in and prompt action.

Special Requirements in Smaller Markets

In some smaller markets, a longer commitment may be required. A 12-week commitment is often the standard in these areas. This extended duration helps to maximize reach and frequency in markets where the audience might be smaller or more dispersed.

Why Smaller Markets Need Longer Campaigns

  1. Audience Reach: In smaller markets, the population is less dense, which means it takes longer for the same number of people to see your billboard compared to a larger urban area.
  2. Market Penetration: Achieving significant market penetration requires more time in smaller markets. A 12-week campaign ensures that your message reaches a broader segment of the community.

Digital Displays and Flexible Contract Terms

Digital board for Livonia Comfort Care. Campaign by Alluvit Media

Digital displays can offer greater flexibility in contract terms compared to static billboards. For select larger markets, contracts shorter than 4 weeks can be negotiated. This flexibility allows advertisers to run shorter, more dynamic campaigns that can be adjusted quickly based on real-time data and performance.

Advantages of Digital Billboards

  1. Dynamic Content: Digital billboards can display multiple ads in a rotating schedule, providing the opportunity to present different messages throughout the day.
  2. Real-Time Updates: The content on digital billboards can be updated quickly, allowing for real-time marketing strategies. This is ideal for time-sensitive promotions or events.

Check out our blog post, What is Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) Advertising?, for more on the topic.

Your Billboard Campaign Duration is Up to You!

Choosing the right duration for your billboard campaign is essential for maximizing its impact. While the minimum contract term for static billboards is 4 weeks, we recommend running for at least 12 weeks for better results. Generally, optimal results can be achieved in longer campaigns of 6-12 months.

For more information or to discuss your next billboard campaign, contact our team by filling out this brief online form. We are here to help you make the most out of your outdoor advertising efforts and achieve your marketing goals.