Billboard advertising: The advantages of digital

As an alternative to traditional billboards, animated ads can have a strong impact. Here is the process explained.

Apart from being immobile, traditional paper posters can be ripped or even tagged by graffiti artists. Digital advertisers can avoid these disadvantages. Since the early 2000s, several of these agencies have in fact been offering digital ads in train stations, malls, gas stations, kiosks, post offices, etc. Agencies rely on the novelty of these animated ads. By creating an element of surprise, they believe the message will be better memorized.

In Switzerland, there are very diverse distribution media and projection locations for animated ads. For example:

  • eBoards. These are high-quality digital advertising media in landscape format, which can be up to 60 m². They are installed in major stations in Switzerland. They can show one or more video sequences, animation or a fixed image. The ideal duration of an ad is 10 to 20 seconds. Ads are shown every three minutes (up to 400 times a day) on all media at the same station.
  • ePanels. This medium is for HD animated or fixed ads in portrait format in train stations, on the street, in malls, in stadiums and even in ski resorts. The authorized duration of an ad is 10 to 60 seconds.
  • Rail Beamers. These projectors show ads on a surface area of 12 m². Located in platform waiting areas, they are good at catching the eye of passengers, especially commuters who take the train from the same spot every day. The authorized duration of an ad is 5 to 76 seconds.
  • AdScreens: These screens in 16:9 format show HD ads lasting around 10 seconds in Swiss post offices.
  • Neo Advertising Screens: Distributed around airports, these very high definition (4K) 84-inch screens adapt their advertising content according to flight arrival and departure times, destinations, etc.

Key points

The elements to be taken into account when renting a billboard are the same as for traditional advertising: location and clarity. For information on producing a video ad, see:

But remember that digital ads do not have any sound. You therefore need to consider making an ad which is understandable only through imagery. The ad needs to be more dynamic than for a TV commercial, given that the viewers are passersby and are not sitting comfortably in their living rooms. If the ad is not eye-catching, they will look away. Ideally, they need to be able to get the message and brand name without having to stop.

New possibilities

While paper advertising is static, digital ads allow for plays on originality. A clothing store can, for example, produce an ad with a mannequin who winks at passersby. To promote new shampoos, a chain of Swedish pharmacists set up an interactive panel fitted with a sensor monitoring train arrivals in a Stockholm metro station: when the metro came into the station, the ad was animated and the model’s hair moved as if blowing in the wind. In London, the airline British Airways designed a digital ad on an external screen showing a small boy who would point up to the sky whenever a real plane flew overhead. The mechanism was localized using ground radar.

Sources: APG SGA / IG DOOH / GOLDBACH MEDIA (2016 statement).


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Last modification 20.07.2018

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