|Electronic Billboard Pros, Cons and Safety Information|
Electronic Billboard Pros, Cons and Safety Information
After more than my fair share of trips to Las Vegas in 2004, I started to think about the role of digital signage systems for outdoor advertisers.
[UPDATE]: Scroll down to try our new LED billboard cost estimator, which will generate a PDF of all the major cost components (LED modules, structure, installation, etc.) and operating expenses (electricity, connectivity, etc.) based on your project requirements. While costs have fallen dramatically since this article was first written, so have comparative CPM rates, so while a positive ROI is still very much attainable in many cases, it's not necessarily the home run that the nearly 10-year-old CPM rates below would make it out to be.
[UPDATE #2]: As of December 2013, LED billboards have become more or less ubiquitous, and the US Department of Transportation has released details from an extensive study demonstrating that electronic billboards do not distract drivers (any more than anything else they might be doing, anyway). The study shows that, “On average, the drivers in this study devoted between 73% and 85% of their visual attention to the road ahead for both [electronic billboards] and standard billboards." The amount of time spent looking at each type of billboard was basically identical as well (an average of 379 milliseconds for electronic billboards versus 335 milliseconds for conventional ones), and thus well below the, “currently accepted threshold of 2,000 milliseconds.”
The report, provided by the Federal Highway Administration, can be found here.
I'm sure that at least part of it is the high up-front cost of the screens, which can easily pass a quarter of a million dollars.
On the other end of the spectrum, outdoor advertising firm BPS Outdoor has done some research of their own on the overall effectiveness of roadside digital signage.
"Sign Code Issues
24% of states in the United States prohibit moving or animated signs.
Electronic billboards cost more than standard billboards.
Billboards with LED's are rented by minutes and each ad is shown for 8 seconds.
However, there is some good news, especially when considering that the aforementioned cost issues will decrease as new (and less expensive) display technologies become available:
"Studies have shown that LED's are six times more effective than traditional billboards.
Another reason they are so effective is that people don't get tired of these ads since they change every few seconds.
Research has shown that 94% of people passing mobile billboards can recall them while only 43% can recall non-moving billboards.
Similar results were reported in a recent Harris poll about electronic signage by Silicon View.
I think it's reasonable to expect that over the next decade we're going to see more and more of these electronic road signs pop up -- first along the most heavily trafficked highways and near major urban centers, and then gradually spreading out to less populous areas from there.