Over the years, static billboards have been replaced by the more capable and dynamic outdoor LED signs. Case studies have shown that these dynamic displays attract 400% more attention when compared to static displays. However, you could be wondering whether this attention automatically translates to more business. Keep reading to find out.
What are Outdoor LED Signs?
Another name for outdoor LED signs is Electronic Message Centers (EMCs). They are described as digital visual communication devices for outdoor use.
This description is quite general but it gives you an idea of what they are. The term digital implies that these devices are powered electronically and have the ability to process large amounts of data. It also means that the device is programmable to display various types of content by following a schedule.
The term outdoor on the other hand means that these devices are meant to be used outside rather than in indoor environments. An outdoor environment could range from out in the open street or a temporary enclosure, such as an event. As such, outdoor LED signs fall in the category of digital-out-of-home (DOOH) billboards.
LED display technology is used to make these DOOH for its features. Some of the major properties of LED technology that make it suitable for outdoor LED signs include
- Weather resistance: Outdoor LED signs should be waterproof, dust-proof, leak-proof, anti-sunlight, anti-lightning, and anti-high temperature.
- Brightness: LED lights are bright and energy efficient, producing more than 100 lumens per watt. This is essential for outdoor conditions.
- Lifespan: LED diodes can last 100,000 hours or more.
- Resolution: Higher resolution means better picture quality in low-light conditions.
- Color: Outdoor LED signs should display vibrant colors in high temperatures.
When marketing executives saw the potential of these aspects, they adopted these EMCs for advertising. Consequently, there have been many success stories from LED billboard Ads.
The Role of Outdoor LED Signs in Business Growth
In marketing, there are channels that marketers use to convey their marketing messages. Outdoor LED signs are considered one such channel.
Like every channel, these signs have unique features that have played a specific role in business growth. Still, some of these impacts can be experienced from other marketing channels as long as the marketing objectives are the same.
Impact of outdoor LED signs on business growth
Business growth is influenced by several factors, on top of marketing. To avoid confusion, this section explores the particular impact brought about by advertising using outdoor LED signs. Some of these impacts include;
Attracting new customers
It is the goal of every business to attract new customers. These customers are quite essential in promoting business growth. Therefore, advertising using billboards brings in new customers, who in return lead to growth.
The growth being referenced here can range from expansion, product diversification, increase in revenue, and market share. In other words, these are known as key performance indicators (KPIs).
One of the objectives of marketing is attracting new customers. Marketing leaders craft messages aimed at convincing and converting prospective customers. This is achieved using strategies such as discounting prices, offers, and other forms of marketing strategies.
This is an indirect impact that comes from a mismatch of several actions. For instance, an increase in new customers results in an increase in revenue.
As you know, revenue from marketing also includes the expenditure used and total sales. This means that you need to subtract these from the revenue to realize your profit. Depending on your specific marketing plans, this will vary. All the same, business growth is highly influenced by cash flow which comes from revenue.
Improve conversion rates
Conversion rate improvement is another reason why businesses run ads. For instance, you could discover that most potential customers are seeing your ads, but they are not acting according to the call to action.
In such instances, marketers create specific adverts that compel them to take the desired action. Such actions include buying, signing up, and so on.
Common strategies that improve conversion rates include;
- Using better call to action
- Including social proof
- Offers and discounts
- Using models such as AIDA
Doing the above is guaranteed to foster a positive experience in your business. It is worth noting that doing this is not enough. You need to evaluate your messaging, improve your products and services, and so on. Essentially, conversion rate optimization depends on several factors.
Increase Foot Traffic
Foot traffic applies to businesses that have a brick-and-mortar set up, in other words, a physical store location. Outdoor LED billboards can increase the amount of foot traffic, or people coming to the physical shop. In fact, this was one of the earliest uses of outdoor LED billboards.
Most businesses have a hybrid model, that is they have a physical location but still operate an e-commerce store. This approach is quite effective since it increases the chances of making sales online and offline. On the contrary, businesses that exclusively operate from a physical location need as much foot traffic as possible. This is the only way they can make sales.
How Outdoor LED Signs Attract More Business
Having seen the impact of outdoor LED signs on business growth, we can now look at the specific way in which these EMCs attract more business. In other words, how do businesses capitalize on the features of LED billboards to increase their return on ad spend (ROAS)?
Creating Captivating Visual Appeal
The visual perception of a marketing asset is a factor that determines how successful the marketing will be. When we are talking about visual perception, we mean how the viewer sees the advert in relation to the intended outlook.
When a marketer is designing an advert, they have to consider the appeal it will create. This is informed by using the profile of the target audience to decide the messaging, graphics, and other aspects of the advert. These tactics are meant to create a personalized advert that is relatable to a specific group of people.
Captivating content has elements such as motion and clarity. Let us discuss these concepts in more detail;
- Dynamic content and animation
Dynamic content includes videos and animation. As you can tell, this means that the content is in motion rather than being static. Dynamic content has a higher chance of capturing the attention of passersby than static content. The transition in these videos or animation makes the content stand out, hence increasing the chances of creating a captivating visual appeal.
- High-resolution and vivid content
Another way outdoor LED content attracts people is due to the high-quality content. This means that the resolution of the content is high enough. Naturally, the human eyes love clarity. Therefore, outdoor billboards attract huge attention from people.
Employing Real-Time Messaging
Time is an essential component of marketing. This means that the time a marketing message is shown determines its effect. This is why you see some adverts are shown at specific times of the day depending on the message being communicated.
One of the commonly used tactics in outdoor billboard marketing is known as dayparting. This strategy focuses on showcasing ads during specific times of the day. Dayparting is a type of pay-per-click advertising strategy.
What this tactic achieves is the ability to advertise certain products or services to a specific number of people. This approach is essential since it ensures that the adverts are seen by the people whom they are directed towards in the first place.
Using Targeted Advertising
Targeted advertising is another tactic that has been used for ages. For outdoor LED signs, the same tactics are applied to attract more business. For the most part, this type of advertising is used in online channels since it’s quite easy to target potential customers online. Marketers adopted some of the techniques used to target people for billboards and digital signage.
By definition, targeted advertising is a tactic where the advertiser crafts ads based on the interests, preferences, and traits of the target audience. As we saw with the creation of captivating messages, this approach also requires the use of customer profiles.
Here are two of the most common ways of executing targeted ads;
Showcasing Localized Content
Outdoor LED signs are limited to a specific location. As much as this is a setback, advertisers see the potential it has to advertise to a specific audience.
Localized content means that the content is tailored to the local community. This could include targeting a dominant religion, ethnicity, age group, or other demographics. Using these clusters, the advertiser creates content that is relatable to these people. This is a form of personalized content where the focus is on a local community.
This type of content also considers the personal preferences and interests of the individual. Unlike localized content that could be somewhat general, personalized content delves deeper into the target audience.
As an example, personalized content could consider specific age, gender, profession, and sexual orientation, among other nuanced details. This is done to get an almost exact description of the target audience. These tactics have continuously proven reliable since they bring in the right customers for the right products or services.
Incorporating Interactive Elements
LED display technology has improved quite a lot over the years. The inclusion of interactive elements is a major milestone in their development.
Interactive elements are added features that increase the interactivity of the display. By this, we mean that the display becomes more engaging with the audience. Some of the elements that support this engagement include;
- Audio-visual capabilities. Gone are the days when billboards just played video-only content. Nowadays, they have speakers that play audio that is integrated with the video content. This increases the attention.
- Touchscreen. This is quite self-explanatory. You have probably walked around town and come across outdoor LED signs that you could interact with as you do with your smartphone. If anything, smartphones were the inspiration for this feature.
- Call-to-action. In marketing, calls to action are quite effective, especially when executed properly.
How to Measure the Success of Outdoor LED Signs
One of the ways advertisers determine the performance of their adverts is by measuring certain aspects of the advert. This is a standard practice in most marketing strategies.
The success of a marketing channel is influenced by factors such as the environment, the nature of your business, competition, and so on. To determine these, you have to measure with corresponding aspects. Let us explore how they are measured.
Define clear objectives
A marketing strategy includes a section where the objectives of the campaign are. These objectives are supposed to inform the advertiser whether their advert was successful. Also, it helps them remain focused and have specific goals they are working towards.
An example of a clear objective would be ‘gain 300 new customers every week for the next 2 months’. The reason this objective is clear is because it defines time constraints. Also, it includes a specific number of targets. These are important because the advertiser can measure whether they are hitting the target or not.
Objectives like this one are also essential since they help you identify the effectiveness of your strategy. For instance, if you fail to reach the set targets, it could be an indication that something is not working. Subsequently, you could change or overhaul the strategies for you to hit the targets.
Have a comprehensive strategy
Advertising without a strategy is not recommended. Strategies are supposed to guide you on how to create, execute, and maintain an advertising campaign. This involves everything from the ideation stage to the end of the campaign and beyond.
The importance of a strategy is quite apparent. It helps you have complete control of the whole process. In return, this helps you improve because as the adage says, what gets measured, gets managed. Therefore, if you want to be in full control of the advertisement, ensure that there is a comprehensive strategy defining all involved aspects. Check out these best practices for outdoor billboard advertising.
Conduct tests to refine the implementation
Testing is a standard practice in any project. It helps you understand the mechanics of what’s happening from a deeper standpoint.
There are several tests that are conducted when executing advertising campaigns. Some of these tests include;
- A/B tests – Also known as split testing, A/B tests are conducted by comparing multiple versions of a marketing copy to gauge the performance of each. This is done to identify the most suitable version to use. While it can be challenging to do this for offline adverts, advertisers can adapt it and make it work.
- Location tests – You can show different ads in different locations and collect data that can help you understand how each location responds to the ads.
Most of the tests that you can conduct for outdoor LED billboard advertising are not limited. This is because this form of advertising is not controlled by factors that control online advertisement. So, identify aspects that you want to improve and test them.
Gather Feedback from the Audience
Feedback is essential in advertising. As much as people do not generally like adverts, you can understand their sentiments by gathering and analyzing feedback. You can collect this feedback with surveys, online forms, and other relevant means. The feedback can help you redefine your advertising strategy and also improve it over time.
Metrics to Measure the Success of Outdoor LED Signs
In an advertising strategy, another component that is quite crucial is the metrics. Metrics are defined as measurements that are used to derive key performance indicators. In other words, these are indicators that tell us whether the advert is working or not.
Some of the common metrics include;
The number of people that have seen an advert is referred to as the audience reach. This number can also be calculated in percentages. In this case, you can express it as a percentage of the population that saw the advert.
Calculating audience reach for an outdoor LED sign can be challenging. This is because you cannot really tell how many people have seen an advert since these signs are located in public places.
Frequency is another metric that is related to reach. For frequency, we calculate the number of times a particular person or group of people have seen an advert. This is equally important since it informs you about how frequently your ad is getting seen.
In marketing, impressions are calculated as the number of times an advert has been seen by people, regardless of whether they are the target audience. This is different from audience reach and frequency.
Impressions are also known as view-through. It is calculated as a fraction of the number of viewers in relation to the number of people it is exposed to. Online advertising channels such as social media track impression metrics quite effectively. There are tools, in the form of software, that are dedicated to this. Similarly, an LED display would be able to collect this data.
Of all the impressions that the advert garnered, how many people engaged with it? Did they take the desired action? If yes, to which extent? These are pertinent questions that billboard advertisers ask themselves during an ad campaign. High engagement has a high chance of increasing the conversion rate.
The number of interested people who turn into customers is what conversion represents. Note that conversion is not automatic. It will depend on the level of need, your ability to convince, and the overall impression rate.
Conversion is calculated as a percentage as well. This is called the conversion rate. In other words, it is the percentage of people who take the desired action. For instance, if you are looking for people to sign up for an event, you will look at the conversion rate to check how effective the sign-up advert was.
This one is quite essential for billboards. It is a metric that is highly influenced by the location of the advert. Visibility refers to how well the advert can be seen by the target audience. This is why strategic location is quite important. You want your outdoor LED sign to be in a place where there are a lot of people. The Shinjuku 3D billboard is an example of well-located signage.
In most places, outdoor LED billboards operate 24/7. For one, outdoor LEDs are durable enough to run for extended periods without breaking down. Secondly, this level of functionality is essential since it ensures that the audience reach and impressions have a high chance of increasing throughout the day.
Returns on Investment
This one is self-explanatory. The success of your outdoor LED sign is informed by how much revenue you generate from the advert. An advert is considered to have a positive ROI if the sales revenue is higher than the amount spent on advertising. Also, it has to generate profit for it to be considered positive.
KPIs for Measuring the Success of DOOH Advertising
KPIs are quantifiable metrics that measure the performance of an Ad campaign. The keyword here is quantifiable, meaning something that can be measured numerically. KPIs are used to track performance over an extended period. In that case, they do not change as much unless the advert is totally different from the norm.
It is said that all KPIs are metrics, but not all metrics are KPIs. Therefore, some of the metrics we discussed can be considered KPIs while others not. With that in mind, let us discuss the common KPIs in advertising.
Brand Awareness and Recall
One of the most critical indicators of brand success is recall. Top brands such as Apple and Google have a high recall. This is because they have positioned themselves such that they create a good lasting impression on new customers. You can also adopt this strategy to maintain dominance in your niche.
What is the likelihood of a certain customer purchasing your products? This is what purchase intent refers to.
Purchase intent is also dependent on the willingness of the customer to buy. By this we mean are they capable and in a position to. Also, do they have the desire for the product? These are essential factors to consider when coming up with an advertising strategy.
Dominance in the market is informed by share of voice. This KPI measures how popular your brand is among your competitors. The one thing is that in most cases, you are unable to control the share of voice directly. This is because this KPI is controlled by your customers.
In theory, people recommend brands that they have a positive experience with. Therefore, you can consider this brand advocacy. This is what leads to a share of voice. As such, if you want to have a high share of voice, provide stellar results to your current customers.
Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
This is more like ROI, but specific on ad spend. Ad spend is the amount of money you spend to acquire customers using paid advertising. ROAS is expressed as a ratio of how much money a company spends versus the revenue this expenditure brings for the company. You need to be strategic enough to maximize your ROAS.
Advantages of Outdoor LED Signs over Other Forms of Advertising
If you have yet to try outdoor signage advertising, there has never been a better time. With better display technologies coming up, this form of advertising will only get better. At the moment, the are many reasons for this, including;
When something is considered cost-effective, it means it has value for money. In our case, outdoor LED signs are cost-effective for the same reason. For one, they are low maintenance meaning that you will not have to spend so much on repairs and replacements.
Secondly, you can rent signage if you do not own one. This helps you capitalize on the existing infrastructure of outdoor signage. The advantage of this is that you will not have to endure the stress that comes with purchasing, installing, and running an LED billboard. Clearly, this is quite a cost-effective approach.
You have a lot of flexibility with this form of advertising. For one, you can choose the time you want your adverts to display. This helps you manage expectations since you make these choices based on data such as traffic level. This would not be possible with other forms of marketing since your control is limited.
Billboards are quite effective at advertising to a local community. This is why you find that outdoor LED signs are usually situated in areas where the local community converges. For instance, New York Times Square has many billboards since most New Yorkers converge at this location.
Strong Adaptability to the Environment
Another advantage of outdoor signage is that it adapts quite well to the environment. To clarify, these digital billboards can be integrated with the existing architecture. For instance, you will find them installed on buildings, streets, and highways. This means there is no need to construct new structures to install them, unless for special cases.
Convenient Content Update
The content that is displayed on an outdoor LED sign can be changed as frequently as possible with so much ease. This is supported by the remote capabilities of the siggage. The personnel in charge of these EMCs can control them easily from their offices.
The question of whether outdoor LED signs can attract business forces us to think of the potential impact of these advertisement mediums. In this article, we have explored ways in which an outdoor sign can improve business. Regardless of what business you are in, billboard ads have a huge potential to transform your business.