Traditional vs. Social: How Billboards & Social Media Stack Up

billboard marketing
Traditional vs. Social: How Billboards & Social Media Stack Up

Why in the world are digital billboards alive and well?

While billboards might be considered dinosaurs in the marketing industry, we the people have an ever-shortening attention span. I can’t blame businesses for seeking a captive audience and a few seconds of attention.

Put that on daily repeat, and the message will start to seep into one’s sub-conscience. SCORE!

But what about social media? It’s cheaper and more targeted. Isn’t that the more responsible way to spend your company’s valuable marketing dollars?

Isn’t the goal to get potential and current customers to see your company in their Facebook feed just when they are feeling social and susceptible to cute baby pictures and puppy memes?

Leave the billboards to Coca-Cola and car dealerships!

I’m exaggerating on both counts.

Excuse the dramatic flair and let’s take a serious look at the pros and cons of digital billboards vs. Facebook ads for businesses.

How Billboards & Social Media Stack Up


Digital Billboards:

  • Dynamic ads with cost savings over traditional billboards and multiple message opportunities
  • Location-based or directional message (i.e., turn here, 1.5 miles to nearest location)
  • Tend to be located in high traffic areas

Facebook Ads:

  • Dynamic ads include click to buy, lead generation, video views, and more
  • Location-based messages
  • Highly targeted audience
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easily accessible metrics

A distinct difference between the two is the audience. You can choose a billboard location near one of your offices or branches, but for every person that passes by, how many of those eyeballs are not your ideal customer and never ever will become your customer?

Facebook ads use demographics and interests to create a specific audience for your ad and ensure that your ad is in that audience’s newsfeed, only their newsfeed, and nowhere else. You only pay to show the ad to the people who would be most interested in your products and services.

No wasted eyeballs!


Digital Billboards:

  • Expensive – mid-level market digital billboards range from $750 – $3,000/month
  • Tough to calculate ROI

Facebook Ads:

  • Time investment – set-up, monitoring, analytics
  • Potential to waste money if managed poorly

Billboards are expensive. Especially well-placed digital billboards. Facebook ads, depending on your goal, can be run off a modest budget.

Facebook metrics are immediate and make calculating your ROI easier.

HOWEVER, Facebook ads take time and are best run by someone with expertise. Otherwise, ads may not be successful and your money wasted.


The key to any marketing plan is integration. Don’t let any one marketing channel become a silo. Integrate, integrate, integrate!

If you start your marketing plan with overall goals and put the work into a well-researched strategy, you may find that digital billboards and social media advertising go hand-in-hand.


Clearchannel Billboard Case Studies