Build on the basics: translating great ideas into effective digital billboards

Since July 2013 when the first permanent large format digital billboard was installed in Auckland, various networks have been established through rapid investment by various outdoor media owners.

This investment follows a global trend with digital out-of-home (DOOH) driving strong growth for the OOH channel, with digital spend now exceeding 60 percent of all OOH spend in New Zealand.

What’s particularly amazing about that share percentage is that OOH revenue has also more than doubled over the last six years since that first digital billboard was switched on here.

What Lumo hasn’t seen yet is any significant change in the way advertisers use the burgeoning medium.

Of the hundreds of different digital billboard ads, almost all of them are static ads making absolutely no use of the dynamic and interactive capabilities the digital platform has on offer.

Limitless potential

And why are agencies and creatives not taking on these opportunities and capabilities that digital billboards offer?

Lumo thinks most advertisers and agencies fall into one or two of the following camps:

1.They simply don’t think about digital billboards any differently to printed billboards

2.They think it’s too hard to be more creative

3.They think it’s too expensive

4. OOH is planned and booked far too late in the process, leaving little or no time to be creative.

Lumo’s latest initiative The Pixel Awards – which officially launches on September 24 – is designed to overcome these mindsets and hopes that in time, the creativity that comes out of The Pixels excites and inspires more advertisers and agencies to think about the role DOOH has to play and start planning, and booking, the media with much longer lead times.

Start with the basics

The inherent attributes of digital media offers agencies and advertisers incredible opportunities to create more impactful, effective and relevant brand messages than ever before.

Digital billboards are large versions of other more familiar screens like mobile phones, tablets, laptops and television monitors.

Operators access their screens remotely via the internet which allows immediacy and more flexibility from a content posting perspective.

Creatively speaking, advertisers should be thinking about digital billboards like they do digital online.

There are so many different opportunities – you can change message by day, day-part or location. You can use changing weather or temperature as a trigger to change messages. You can take a feed from a website and arrange it so text or images change on the billboard ad as they change on the website page.

You can use social media feeds, news headlines, countdowns to launches and clients can even access specific ads remotely and change content themselves. Almost all of these actions can be arranged quickly with little fuss and minimal cost.

Then there are more complex dynamic ideas that may require bespoke software or code to be written.

There is literally a myriad of digital creative solutions within reach. The industry just needs creative thinkers to apply themselves, dream up ideas and so long as its suitable for the medium, Lumo will play them.

Get designing

Large format digital billboards play a certain role in the media mix. Like their print cousins, digital billboard’s primary purpose is to offer big reach for brands wanting to broadcast a message quickly, efficiently and with impact.

But unlike static billboards, one doesn’t have to print vinyl skins nor wait days for installations.

A few things to remember:

1. Simplicity is key – you have just a few seconds to get your message across so make it easy to read

2. Create a single-minded proposition or idea

3. Use few words and make the font large and legible – avoid decorative, italic, or serif fonts

4. If an image is important, make it high quality and large. Lumo recommends three visual elements or less, total. For example: one image, one logo and one headline

5. Be clever – humour may not always be appropriate but a pithy one-liner will likely linger longer in people’s memories than a lazy piece of text

6. Use strong, contrasting colours in hue and value – try it on your laptop screen, if the font colour is hard to read against the background colour, you’re lacking contrast

7. Brand identity – don’t be shy, make your logo large enough to be recognised

8. Test your idea – a digital billboard is not a print ad so there is far less cost to test the idea in reality. A good test is to show the design to someone from a distance for five seconds and then ask them about it.   Did they understand it?  Who was the advertiser?  What do they think the advertiser wants them to do? Lumo can also test designs on its 86 inch test monitor inside its mobile Lumo Labs.

9. You have flexibility with digital, no print or installation costs – make use of this opportunity and use a range of almost unlimited content options to tell your brand story

Transparency and technology

As digital OOH technology evolves, so does the ability to personalise the content on-screen based on who’s looking at it, where they’re located, what they might be doing, and how they might be feeling.

Crucially it’s about humanising real-time data to drive dynamic, updatable and relevant content to an active audience.

This is where Lumo comes in with options and opportunities to help make creatives, clients, and their campaigns, shine.

To find out more contact Lumo at [email protected] or visit https://pixelawards.nz/inspiration

This story is part of a content partnership between Lumo and StopPress.

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