Businesses evaluating use of digital billboards as part of a marketing strategy should weigh not only the pros but the cons of this method of advertising. Some residents fear this new advertising technology may result in driver distraction, and the Federal Highway Administration is reevaluating legislation and regulations for controlling outdoor advertising due to this concern. Costs for advertising using this medium may also be significantly more than other established forms of advertising.

Public Outcry

Many organizations and residents decry the use of DBBs as excessively distractive to motorists. Even though digital billboards number around 2,000 out of 450,000 billboards total as of 2013, they have been banned in several states. If you're evaluating adding your business's name to the roster of advertisers on a DBB, consider whether your business would be able to weather opposition to the use of this type of media for advertising. Digital billboards are considered more of a distraction than their traditional counterparts because of the fact that their luminance and animation may hold the attention of motorists far longer than a static billboard.


Advertising on a DBB may cost your business anywhere from $1200 to $10,000 a month or more, depending on the sign's size and location. This can be a significant chunk of any business's marketing budget when compared to other less expensive forms of advertising like print or social media marketing. As the digital signs gain in popularity, the cost of advertising on the units has been on the decline. However, companies still need to consider the investment required to create multiple marketing advertisements for this type of medium, especially if changes in promotional messages will be made throughout the year.

Message Transfer

Unlike traditional billboards, the information on DBBs is constantly changing. This means that you run the risk of viewers missing your message because they are not able to read its contents fast enough or because your message was not displayed when the viewer was looking. On a traditional billboard, your advertisement is normally the only one that is displayed over an assigned period of time. This means that you don't run the risk of viewers missing your message because it was replaced by that of another advertiser's after a few seconds.


While digital billboards may spell more money for the sign's owner because of the ability to cram many more advertisements onto the displays, this does not always equate to a better return on investment for the advertiser. A more eye-catching advertisement preceding your company's may erase all memory of the message that your business worked hard to develop. With traditional billboards, you don't have to share display space with any other companies. Prospects thus have no choice but to focus on your message exclusively, giving you a much better chance of earning the viewer's attention and money.