Digital Billboard Content: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly



Gina Kuck, Daktronics Commercial Services

Today, our guest blogger is Gina Kuck. She has optimized LED displays for more than a decade by providing content and industry best practices for OOH solutions.

“Digital billboards in the OOH space have an unmatched ability to impact consumers. The ability to create a connection comes from leveraging the characteristics of the technology with best practices as a foundation,” says Gina Kuck.

 Good and bad content

We created the industry’s content guidelines for LED optimization nearly ten years ago. It’s still an important topic. Content is your direct path to consumer engagement; it needs to be good. This medium allows for some of the most sophisticated design there is in advertising.

There’s a fair amount of LED advertising creative that is exceptional, but there’s still plenty that’s bad. The question is why. What causes bad content? The answer is complex.

Even with best practices in hand, I believe that ineffective content happens when advertisers don’t have a clear objective for their message. National brands and advertisers with marketing support might be shaking their heads at this, but I’m not referring to them when I suggest advertisers aren’t dialed into their objective.

I’m referencing the trend of startup and small business owners who’ve adopted this advertising medium. They recognize the impact digital OOH has in the advertising space, but may lack resources to help them shape their advertising message. Good and bad content co-mingling on a display is entirely plausible in this scenario. There are expectations from advertising. Most generally, advertisers are looking for a return on their investment and consumers want information that’s relevant to them.

 What return do you expect?

It’s not enough for advertisers to say they want a return anymore. We need to ask what kind of return is expected. More specifically, is the expectation a hard or soft ROI? A soft return on investment is all about branding, raising customer awareness of your brand and perhaps your location (brick and mortar or/and online).

If a hard ROI is the goal, your content will be expected to generate actual store traffic or transactions. Your messages should influence people to buy something. Giving true consideration to what is expected is step one in creating good content.

Know the technology

Step two is being mindful of the technology’s characteristics. Digital billboards use emitted light; it’s not a traditional print or broadcast medium. For instance, the application of color is distinctly different than how it’s used in print. Color, on LED technology, is how we create an emotional connection with consumers. Take advantage of that fact.

There are other considerations as well.  Without up-front planning, there’s a greater chance of using graphics, fonts and text amounts inappropriate to the medium. We encourage creativity and stretching the limits. But it’s important to understand digital best practices before you break the rules.

One Tip

People often ask me what is the #1 rule for creating good digital content. I used to say, focus on contrast. But really, the most important step of all is to know your audience. To be successful, you need to shape a message that’s meaningful to them. Then apply the important principles of contrast, hierarchy and color, while using text that’s legible and brief. View Digital Billboard Content Guidelines.

Content and data

What about content and data? Data will continue to play a part in OOH. Digital owners feel pressure to keep up with technology used so commonly by consumers.

Bear in mind that content using data must also have a set purpose. Running real-time data, such as weather updates and count ups and downs can help you remain relevant in the advertising space. People expect dynamic content regardless of market or region.

Of course, the beauty of digital billboard content is the flexibility. You’re never locked in to the same message. Discovering what works and what doesn’t with the push of a button allows advertisers to dial in on good content.

Hear more about digital billboard content from Gina Kuck.



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