The Hidden Pitfalls of Mobile Billboard Advertising: Why Traditional Billboards Still Rule

When it comes to advertising mediums, mobile billboards often make bold claims about their visibility and effectiveness. However, it's essential to understand their limitations, particularly if you find yourself competing for ad dollars against them. Here's a rundown of why mobile billboards often don't provide as much bang for your buck as traditional billboards.

Illusion of High Traffic, Reality of Low Impact

Mobile billboards often tout their ability to navigate through high-traffic areas, but this is somewhat of a smokescreen. Even though they may be driving on a highway teeming with 80,000 cars a day, the number of people who actually see the ad is minuscule. Only those directly behind or adjacent to the truck can see the ad, severely limiting its reach and potential impact.

Missing The "Exit Now" Factor

One of the most compelling features of traditional billboards is the "point of purchase" advantage—directing potential customers to take immediate action like "Exit Now for McDonald's." Mobile billboards lack this critical element. They can't tell a driver to take the next exit for a service or product, thus diminishing one of the most potent aspects of billboard advertising.

Cramped Ad Space Limits Messaging

Traditional billboards offer a canvas of about 672 square feet, allowing for a robust and detailed advertising message. In contrast, mobile billboards often give you only around 100 square feet. This limitation forces advertisers to condense their message, losing nuance and impact, and ultimately lessening the ad's effectiveness.

The Challenge of Readability

The principle of 'resolution' applies to outdoor advertising as well. People can only read text from a certain distance, affecting the clarity and impact of the message. The constant movement of a mobile billboard complicates this further. Only those cars at an optimal distance can actually read the ad, thereby further reducing the number of potential customers who can absorb your message effectively.


When stacked against traditional billboards, mobile billboards fall short in several key areas. Their limitations make them a less attractive option for advertisers aiming for maximal impact. So, the next time a mobile billboard rep tries to entice your potential client, arm yourself with these points to showcase why traditional billboards are the superior choice.

Frank Rolfe started his billboard company off of his coffee table, immediately after graduating from college. Although he had no formal training on the industry, he learned as he went, and developed his own unique systems to accomplish things, such as renting advertising space. Frank was formerly the largest private owner of billboards in Dallas/Ft. Worth, as well as a major player in the Los Angeles market.