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Digital Displays for Advertising

The advertising industry has benefited greatly from digital technologies. Take digital displays, for example. Digital display and LED Billboard advertising (also known as digital-out-of-home, or dooh) are used by more advertisers and brand owners than ever before, and their popularity is on the rise.

Let’s consider what’s behind this trend.

  • Advertising revenues for print magazines and newspapers is down, and there are no signs of print ad sales bouncing back anytime soon. Most of the lost revenue is going to digital advertising (online ads, dooh, etc.)
  • The same can be said of broadcast TV advertising revenues. TV audience numbers keep decreasing as more and more specialty channels hit the air. This is partly due to the popularity of streaming content sources like Netflix, Amazon and other similar sources.

In the meanwhile, US digital-out-of-home revenue reached almost $3 billion US in 2015*. This represents almost 41% of total out-of-home spending for the period, and it’s predicted this number will increase to 53%, or $4 billion US by 2018.

Increasing dooh ad revenues are helping to drive digital display sales, which is why you can expect to see more screens popping up in airports; subway, train and bus stations; shopping malls and convention centers; government offices and libraries; and other public spaces.

There are other factors at play.

  • The cost of LED panels used in exterior billboards has dropped steadily over time making these types of displays more cost effective. While many traditional billboards and exterior wall mounted posters have already been replaced by LED panels, the majority are still print based so there are plenty of opportunities for growth.
  • LED panels can be used in
  • LED panels now come in a range of pixel densities. The denser the pixel count, the higher the resolution. High resolution panels are ideal for interior applications where viewers are closer to the display. Low resolution panels are used mostly in exterior applications, like road side billboards.
  • There are more ways to connect media players to the Internet. The proliferation of Wi-Fi access points and 4G wireless data means displays only need access to a reliable power source.
  • Digital displays come with many features.
    • Thin and ultra-thin bezels (less gaps between displays for building video walls).
    • Wide range of sizes for most types of applications. Some specialty displays are available in “non-standard” sizes.
    • Smart displays that use System on Chip (SoC) technology. No external media player required.

The advantages of digital display advertising

Digital display advertising offers significant advantages over traditional print based advertising, and these advantages have been proven in many independent studies.

  • Digital display ads get noticed and the rate of recall is measurably higher than with print media.
  • Viewers spend more time looking at digital displays than they do with printed signs. Therefore, it’s important to keep content fresh and interesting.
  • Ads delivered on digital displays receive more impressions than ads delivered through printed signs. Print ads get a lot of impressions on the fist day they are shown, then the numbers drop off quickly while digital displays generate consistent impressions over a longer period.
  • Digital display advertising stands out more than print ads. Motion is an attention grabber so it’s best to use videos or animations on your displays.
  • Digital display advertising is better at promoting impulse purchases than traditional advertising methods. The higher recall rate makes these ads more effective.
  • Digital displays generate more sales lift than traditional point of purchase methods. The difference is significant, and has been proven time and again

 

How to get optimal results

Digital display advertising is worth the investment, but ads must be well crafted to be effective. It’s important to always invest in good content and rotate the content periodically. Otherwise campaign results won’t match advertiser’s expectations.

Consider the venue where the ads will be shown. Don’t just recycle old TV ads in your digital-out-of-home campaigns. Fifteen and thirty second clips won’t be effective in high traffic areas so it’s important to adapt the content, or better yet, create original content that is specifically designed to produce optimal results. Content lasting more than seven seconds won’t be effective in high traffic areas, so it may be preferable to show a short animation or even static content, and rotate the message often. This will increase the number of impressions, and help drive up retention.

The opposite can be said for advertising content intended for locations with higher dwell times. Think of a doctor’s waiting room or the queue at the local motor vehicle office. In these types of locations, 15 second clips may be more effective than short ones because viewers have more time to absorb the content. In these cases, a lower number of impressions is acceptable, if not preferred.

 

How about targeted ads?

Digital displays have one huge advantage over traditional print advertising. They let advertisers adapt and tweak their message for specific viewers on the fly. Ad campaigns can be optimized based on a range of parameters such as location, time, event type, demographics (sex, age, etc.) and more. Results are analysed over time and messages revised as necessary, all at very little cost.

There is no shipping and handling charges every time you change your ad. With digital displays, it’s basically point and click. Changes in strategy can be implemented in real-time which is much more efficient than with traditional methods. Mistakes can be corrected instantly. Different versions of the same ad can be tested in different markets, and the results analyzed to improve future campaigns.

 

Automating the ad delivery process

There are many technologies that have been developed to push targeted ads on-demand.

Video cameras and sensors mounted on digital displays can trigger specific content based on the viewer’s demographic. These systems let advertisers set very detailed parameters (men, 50+, etc.) so ads are only shown to a receptive audience. Specialized signage software applications handle the rest.

These camera based systems only track visual information. They don’t retain any actual video footage to respect privacy laws. The camera acts only as a sensor and nothing more. Audience interaction data gets recorded and delivered to advertisers for analysis.   These reports provide a demographic profile about who looked at the screen, and the duration of each interaction.

Content can also be triggered using RFID, proximity sensors, beacons and smartphone apps. The concept is basically the same. Detect some interaction and trigger content accordingly. Stores that use RFID tags to track products can also use them to trigger unique ads when a shopper carrying the matching product approaches the display. For example, someone holding a pair of pants walking by a digital display can trigger an ad for socks. This level of targeted advertising can be extremely powerful because it attracts viewer’s attention, and delivers information that is both actionable and relevant. Stores who run these types of campaigns will track ad impressions and match this information to sales data to determine how each ad is performing. Ads that don’t produce sufficient lift can be edited or replaced as needed.

Displays that “speak” to the audience have a much greater retention rate than any other form of media, including online ads, because the information is available right at the point of decision.