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The Most Common Mistakes in LEDwalls Content Creation...Donít Let This Be You

Ad duration, legibility, motion and more can be your greatest asset, or greatest liability in LED Billboards content creation. Read on to see if youíre thinking of all the variables or not.

By Fabio Aversa

If you want to get the most out of your LEDwall (and your customers), in terms of recognition from the audience, this article will help you determine the best approach for creating a new ad.

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  • Here we go with a few tips that might be useful for you (or your designer), when creating the next advertising to be broadcast on your LEDwall. If you want to get the most out of your LEDwall (and your customers), in terms of recognition from the audience, this article will help you determine the best approach for creating a new ad.

    First of all, letís address the ad duration. Some people make the huge mistake of creating 30 to 40 seconds ads. 30 seconds? Your audience is not sitting on a sofa waiting for the next TV show! They are most probably driving by at 45 miles per hour and hopefully they are more focused on the street rather than your screen.

    Still, they should be able to see the entire ads, from start to end while passing by. So what's the point of creating a wonderful ad, if they canít read the advertiser's phone number and address at the end because the ad is too long? From my experience an ad should be a maximum of 10 seconds in length, and rarely 15 seconds.

    Longer ads are pointless because either your target sees the beginning and not the end, or vice-versa. In both cases, you didn't get the message across, and the audience did not find an interesting message on your LEDwall. Therefore your customer will have no interest in doing it again in the future because they didn't get much in return for their investment.

    Of course, there are exceptions to the "10 second" rule, such as when LEDwalls are installed in pedestrian areas where people have more time to watch the LEDwall. But as I said, those are exceptions and are rare.

    Rules, rules, rules
    The first rule of formatting when creating text (ie. the address, phone number, etc.) for a LEDwall ad is... Ready? Make letters BIG! At least 1/4 of the screen! I canít understand those designers that create super small text that might look nice on their PC or MAC monitor when they create it, but itís terrible when broadcast on the LEDwall.

    The second rule of formatting is to not apply shades or glossy effects on text. As mentioned before, these fancy effects might look nice on the monitor, but they definitely are not cool on the LEDwall. The reason is that despite its huge size, the LEDwall has actually less pixels than you PC monitor. So it is pointless to create special shining effects on a 2 inch letter that looks big on a PC but is invisible on a LED screen.

    The third rule of formatting is to use Sans Serif fonts only. If the text looks blurry on the LEDwall, you should make every possible effort to make things better. Serif fonts (ie. Courier, Times New Roman etc) are very nice on the PC monitor but they do have the serifs which add pointless "noise" to the text and makes it look less clear. Imagine this situation amplified by the "blurry" effect of the virtual pixel. Instead, use Sans Serif fonts such as Arial, Geneva, Helvetica, Verdana or Tahoma, as they appear much more readable on the LEDwall. If you absolutely have to use a "noisy" font, at least make it big.

    The fourth rule of formatting is to use contrasting colors. Over 20 years ago, Ms. Karen Claus published a table indicating the color-match with the best contrast ratio. She created the table for classic static signage, but the principle is still very valid with LED Billboards. According to her research and studies, the best matches are: black on yellow; black on white; yellow on black; white on blue; yellow on blue; green on white; blue on yellow; white on green. Use text colors in these combinations and try to avoid such things as pink on red.

    The fifth rule of formatting is that the simpler the text is, the better the text looks. On LEDwalls, you have 10 to 15 seconds to make your ad memorable. It means that if the text is not clear at first sight, people wonít give it a second chance. Remember that they are most likely driving at least 45 miles per hour and hopefully they are more concerned about the road than about a fuzzy headline.

    Other mistakes in LED screen content creation
    As you can very well imagine, the key role in the LED screen content creation is the designer. Many people don't realize how fundamental this role is, because they are too focused on selling the ad spaces. The point is, if you have a good designer, your ads will sell themselves well. If you don't have a good designer, it doesn't matter what a great salesman you are, you wonít sell much for long!

    If you installed a LED wall, youíve likely made quite an investment in that wall. I know at this point you don't want to hear about further expenses. I can understand that, but please donít make the unforgivable mistake of skimping on the content/ad designer. Having an inexperienced person creating the ads (i.e. your teenage nephew), is like giving your brand new Ferrari to a first-time driver. I know you already spent lots money, but donít be penny wise and pound foolish, by poorly managing your investment.

    Make sure you know what your designer does. Sometimes I look at ads that are so poorly designed that I actually would like to call and complain. I feel like even I could do better than that and I bet other people think the same. To avoid such situations, send your content/ad designer to view their designs in the real world and view them from in front of the screen at least one hour a week to see in person, what they are doing and how the ads appear to the final audience. I promise you that the first few times, they will change 50% of the content of each ad they created.

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    The basics
    Now that you have the designer on the right path, you must give direction on the type of content that they are creating. Here are some of the basic rules of content: First, look at the complex versus the simple. There are two different schools of thought regarding the ad content. The first claims that the ad should be as creative as possible in order to get attention. It seems to be a pretty clear and justified goal because a paying customer should get the most memorable ad possible.

    The second school of thought is that a simple version of an ad is better. This version claims that the memorable ads may boost the agency pride, but not the customer's profits. So making an ad too funny or too memorable might not be the best for your customer if it doesnít result in filling your clients goals from the advertising. Usually this happens because people concentrate so much on content and become blind to the brand or product. From my point of view balance is the best solution.

    As a final thought to consider, remember that freshness is king. You should consider always having some fresh, updated, and useful content on your LED screen. Not just ads only. Otherwise people will get accustomed to the LEDwall having just ads on it and will less encouraged to look at your board. You should provide updated content on a regular basis: ideally you should upload new useful content every day. Even basic information such as the temperature, the weather forecast for the next few days, the fact of the day, or a random quote of the day will significantly increase the stickiness to your LED screen.

    If you manage to get people looking at the LED display over time because they are curious about the next random quote, you simultaneously achieve two results: People will start commenting about the LED screen, and second, and probably most important, you will receive and maintain a strong selling point with your customers, because you can provide to them that the reason that people will look at the display and in the end why they should advertise on your LED screen.

    Fabio Aversa is a recognized LED Displays specialist and marketing manager for Euro Display, a leading LED Screen manufacturing company based in Italy.

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