10 Tips On Designing The Most Effective Digital Billboard Content
Digital billboard is a digital display that helps businesses in reaching a target audience effectively. While a digital billboard offers many advantages that most traditional displays cannot provide, the digital display itself does not guarantee a successful digital campaign automatically.
It is true that a digital billboard is a powerful tool. However, a powerful tool can turn useless if it is not being used wisely and skilfully. The content and the business strategy are more important than the tool.
Digital billboard is all about content. It is nothing more than a meaningless giant screen if the content is not legible or attractive enough.
In this article, we will look at the 10 tips on designing the most effective content for a digital billboard campaign.
- Use contrast colours.
- Highlight only one or two main messages.
- Use large bold, and easy-to-read typefaces.
- Use a limited amount of texts and elements.
- Use visual priority in your composition layout.
- Use visual cues to direct attention.
- Avoid white backgrounds.
- Use the right images.
- Play with creativity and imagination.
- Test your content.
1. Use contrast colours.
Digital billboard content is all about legibility. Legible content is content that is being clear enough to read from a far distance. Using contrast colours can help to make your content easier to read.
Using contrast colours is about achieving the best colour combinations. Normally, white can work well with dark colours while black can be used together with brighter colours. According to the modern colour theory, contrast can be achieved using complementary colours – the two colours which are on the opposite sides of the colour wheel.
Another reason for using contrast colours is to separate your main elements or artworks from the content background. If your artworks or texts are filled with non-contrasting colours, your elements will fail to stand out. As a result, the audience cannot focus on your main messages.
2. Highlight only one or two messages.
While digital billboards can display video content with a longer duration compared to images or static advertisements, you still want to aim to relay your message in the shortest possible time.
Attention span is getting shorter nowadays. It is always better to keep your audience informed and to understand your message with just a single glance. Another reason is that digital billboards are always targeting a moving audience outdoors. Your audience could be boarding a moving train or driving a car. They have only few seconds to notice and read your content while moving.
Whether it is an image or video content, you need to identify what is the most important message you want to deliver. What is your call to action? How can you include your call to action and message as simple as possible in your content?
For example, if you are displaying an advertisement on a digital billboard next to a highway, do you think it is a great idea to include a phone number in your content?
Always remember to keep things simple. Simplicity is the best way to deliver meaningful content.
3. Use large, bold and easy-to-read typefaces.
An easy-to-read typeface is one of the most important legibility factors. Your audience can be viewing your content from a very far distance. You should always use a text height of at least 20 inches for a headline. Body text can be kept at a height of 12 inches. However, never use any text height that is shorter than 4 inches. It is extremely hard to read small texts at a long distance.
Typography is a design principle that will determine whether your text is easy to read or not. An easy-to-read typeface depends greatly on its arrangement, styling, and spacing.
While we are not going to give a detailed lecture on typography here, there are some simple guidelines that you should follow when designing digital billboard content.
- Use bold fonts. Avoid thin and fine strokes as they will become less obvious at a long distance.
- Long sentences with all capital letters are hard to read.
- Close letterspacing is hard to read.
- Avoid using too many different types of fonts.
4. Use a limited amount of texts and elements.
The audience has very limited time to read your content. Keep your content simple by using lesser texts and elements. A headline should be kept at 7 or fewer characters.
If you are displaying video content, each shot should be kept as simple as possible. Avoid cluttering your content with too many images or graphic elements.
For example, Apple used only a photo captured by its iPhone to highlight its core message. A single image is sufficient enough to tell the audience that its iPhone has a superior camera performance.
5. Use visual priority in your composition layout.
You could be using images, texts, and graphic elements in your content. However, if you are having too many elements within your content, the audience might have a hard time determining which element is the most important information. They do not know how to move their eyes across the content – where and which element to look at first.
Using visual priority can provide a sense of hierarchy in your content. Normally, you will want your most important message to appear as the largest element within your content. Less important elements such as terms and conditions should be kept smaller when compared to others.
Humans read and scan lines from top to bottom. Hence, always put the more important elements or messages on the top of your content.
6. Use visual cues to direct attention.
There are times when you need to disobey the visual priority rules and place your most important messages somewhere else due to some design factors. You can use visual cues in this situation.
Visual cues or directional cues are elements that can help to direct attention to important areas such as call-to-actions, products and main messages. Some of the most common cues are arrows, face or eye direction and colour contrasts.
Visual cues are important. If your design sucks, the audience can never pay attention to your message effectively even though you have the greatest content in the world.
7. Avoid using white backgrounds.
Digital billboards are made up of multiple LED screen panels, and these LED screen panels contain many tiny LED bulbs or packages. Most LED bulbs or packages come in three colours – red, green and blue.
All red, green and blue LEDs need to be turned on to their maximum brightness levels to produce white lights. As a result, the power consumption of the digital billboard is increased greatly.
Besides, a full-white background can appear very bright especially at night. A bright background can make your content hard to read. Moreover, it can also distract road users.
8. Use the right images.
An image is powerful enough to tell a story. Some even agree that image is a lot more effective than texts and other elements in engaging audiences. Thanks to the vivid display screen of digital billboard, vibrant and colourful images can capture attention easily.
When using images in your content, always pick the images that can tell your message effectively. Avoid using images for decorative purposes. It is meaningless to clutter your content as audiences have very limited time reading your screen.
9. Play with creativity and imagination.
One of the reasons that businesses are switching to using digital billboards is the ability of the digital screen to display a wide range of digital media formats. Some of the supported media formats are videos, texts, images, and animated graphics.
Unlike traditional billboards which creativity can be limited, you can choose to display almost anything that you want by using the digital billboard. Find the best format that suits your business nature and engage your audience in the best possible way.
For example, businesses are now using digital billboards to display glasses-free 3D content. The content is usually targeting pedestrians in busy areas with heavy foot traffic. The 3D content can provide an exciting viewing experience, and it is so unique that pedestrians are willing to stop what they are doing to watch the content.
10. Test your content.
Buying an advertisement space or slot can be expensive. A poorly-planned content can ruin your digital billboard campaign.
Although you have followed all the basic guidelines and have been working hard to create the best ever content you can come out with, it is still crucial to test your content before launching your campaign.
Get some friends or outsiders. Show them your content and ask for their opinions. You can simulate the real-life situation by showing the content for not more than 5 seconds. Then, check with your friends how well they can understand your message.
Digital billboard is an effective tool in outdoor advertising or digital out-of-home (DOOH). The right tool is crucial in producing great work, but how you use the tool is important too. With the right digital billboard design and content, you can improve the effectiveness and ROI of your digital campaign.