View Distance of Board


#1

Hi

Investigating a couple of highway boards for sale on a 65 MPH highway. Looking for ideas on how far away in feet you should be able to see a 14x48 board at 100 feet high and another at 60 feet high to top of signs based on 65MPH so you don’t get a blur as you drive past. Is there any standard that on a highway a good board can be seen for xxx feet as a vehicle approaches it before crossing past the board? I would think advertisers are looking at some minimum # of feet even before the sign can be read with the eye? I know that the longer distance the better but what is considered an average # of feet that would still represent a good location? The flip side, what amount of distance viewing in feet would be to short at 65 MPH in that advertisers would stay away from?

Thanks


#2

That’s a tough question, because there are way too many variables in your example. The standard is that a sign needs to be seen from at least 500’ to 1,000’ back. But the most important thing is the “quality” of the read, and the “quality” of the traffic. If you have a sign behind a tree with only 100’ of read – but it’s in Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills – you can rent that space. If it has 5,000’ of read on a two-lane highway only used by hillbillies to buy potato chips, then you can’t give it away. You should have, just as an individual, a gut instinct of what a decent sign is from what a lousy sign is. But it is VERY subjective. What do you think of the reads? I’ll go with your opinion, since you’ve seen them. You might also get a second opinion by paying someone who works at a local ad agency to drive by them. But you’ll only know the truth when you go to rent them.

Never rationalize how a sign is good when your gut instinct tells you that it’s lousy. Always go with your instincts.


#3

I actually think that this is something that not enough attention is paid to. It seems like sometimes billboard companies are so anxious to just put steel in the ground that they often don’t investigate read times, “V” widths, obstructions, etc. enough. In my local market, for a while Lamar was just building awful locations for what seemed like the heck of it. Boards you can see only half of due to sound barriers, boards behind trees on non-lessor property that can’t be removed, structures built back-to-back that should be big “V’s”, the list goes on. They’re all unrented now or have those ubiqutous “foundation for life” gratis vinyls. Some return on investment that is.

Here’s another thought about view distances and good “reads” that came to me. When someone in the billboard business is driving around their market looking at structures, they are PURPOSELY looking at them, purposely taking their eyes off the road because they know that sign is there. If the sign is built too high, they’ll purposely shift in the driver’s seat so they can read it. The average driver doesn’t do any of this in my opinion. The sign needs to naturally appear in their field of vision. They aren’t going to go looking for it behind a tree, they don’t have the local billboard inventory memorized like we would.


#4

Thanks for the input.

I have not visited the location yet so I’ll see how the read looks when I can get there.

I also asked the question as sort of a generic standard not only in rating these boards but in looking at some 65 MPH highway development on another decent interstate highway but due to road right away I would be back in about 100 feet off the road.

So before I think about building a board I am hoping to make an educated guess.
Here is the problem - the land, size of trees, neighbors trees and contour of the road. Did some testing and basically at 500 feet view, sign might be 60 feet high. At 1000 feet view, sign might have to be 85 feet high. At 1500 feet view, top of sign might have to be 110 feet high.

So it boils down to a possible standard that on a 65 MPH highway a good board can be seen for xxx feet as a vehicle approaches it before crossing past the board? I would think advertisers are looking at some minimum # of feet even before the sign can be read with the eye?

The key here is based on your average interstate road - this distance # might help drive which sign height I would need and thus allow a better understanding of sign costs to different viewing distances and is the project really worth it.

Based on the comments it sounds like a 65 MPH standard is that a sign needs to be seen from at least 500’ to 1,000’ back? Are most advertisers on average location really concerned over this #?

Hard to know how high to build based on this read distance.

Thanks


#5

George,

Great points! I agree 100% with you. I have seen some incredibly poor judgement by Lamar and others in building structures that you could only lease to someone out of state who has never seen them. Total tree blockage and about 500’ off the right-of-way are common traits of these lousy units. These signs are so bad that you do a double-take just to believe that someone was stupid enough to build them.

Mike,

The lower the sign, the better – assuming that there are no obstructions. You can see a sign longer in your windshield when it is lower. You can sometimes see tall signs farther back, but you can’t read the copy at that distance. Advertisers do not think in terms of a certain number of feet of read. They think in terms of if the sign will work for them, and they want it to be seen clearly and for a long time. If you are worried about the visibility of a sign, then you are already in trouble, and should not build it – because you are a lot more forgiving than your advertisers will be. In that case, flip the lease to a national company that can rent the ad space to a generic account that is even less picky.


#6

frank Wrote:

George,

Great points! I agree 100% with you. I have seen
some incredibly poor judgement by Lamar and others
in building structures that you could only lease
to someone out of state who has never seen them.
Total tree blockage and about 500’ off the
right-of-way are common traits of these lousy
units. These signs are so bad that you do a
double-take just to believe that someone was
stupid enough to build them.

A couple of times a week I drive by a recently built structure where one face is only visible for about 2 seconds if you’re driving in the far left lane of the interstate and driving a high-riding truck. It is leased out to a national advertiser. They’re based 1,000 miles away and probably have never seen it, like you said. I almost want to call that advertiser and prove to them how they are getting ripped off and would be much better served on a sign of mine. I’d probably even give them a better price.

Oh, and the major billboard company spent about 3 years and $40,000 wrangling with the municipality just to get the permit to build this structure. It’s a very tall full flag 14x48" which isn’t cheap in itself. Even on the good face they are bringing in $2,000/mo. max. I have no idea what they are paying the lessor, but I know the lessor is a pretty sophisticated investor, so it can’t be cheap.

Just goes to show that the small-timer really needs to be smart and consider all factors before putting steel in the ground. Every number and variable must be considered.


#7

It’s also an example of how you can lose focus of the goal. Some large sign companies think that the only goal is to build new units. The real goal is to build profitable ones.