Everything you need to know about LED Signs
LED signs are a new and rapidly growing medium of communication that provides businesses with an exciting range of ways to interact with their customers, increase brand awareness, increase turnover, and have a better profit margin and much more.
Our goal is to offer you details of what concerns and decision making should be addressed in order to make optimum use of the investment in LED displays.
We are looking at the following FAQs in this regard:
- What are LED signs?
- How are LED signs being used in different industries?
- What can I expect from an LED display?
- How are electronic signs different to other advertising forms?
- What are the benefits of investing in LED displays?
- Are there any proven success statistics for digital signage?
- What is the difference between indoor and outdoor LED signs?
- What are the types of available LED screens?
- What are the concerns before investing in digital signs?
- How to create content for my LED sign?
- Once the content is created, how do I manage it?
- How do I select my software requirements for content creation and management?
- How to make my digital billboard attractive?
- How to select a suitable media player?
- How to select an LED display?
- How to measure the return on investment?
- How to manage a digital signage network?
- How can I guarantee success with my LED sign investment?
- How to use LED signs the right way?
- How to overcome common pitfalls of an LED sign investment?
How to overcome common pitfalls of an LED sign investment?
What are LED signs?
Walk into any restaurant, hotel, retail store, movie theatre, health club or any such organization and it is highly likely that you will be greeted with an electronic sign that is either promoting the brand, advertising products, inviting you to interact with the display or providing you with directions inside the organization.
This is the world of digital signage – A new and powerful medium of communication that reaches out to people whether they are travelling, waiting, shopping, and going to school and more.
Retailers have successfully used LED displays by placing them at the right locations and displaying the right content. By doing so, retailers are enhancing the customer shopping experience – showcasing new inventory, informing about promotions and giving customers new ideas that drive sales.
How are LED signs being used in different industries?
Transportation – at airports, train stations and subways, digital displays inform travelers regarding schedules while also advertising relevant products and services.
Educational environments – communicating with students, replacing bulletin boards and printed calendars, and playing an important role in the emergency alert system.
Restaurants – streamlining the ordering process and allows customers to interact with electronic signs using their smart phones.
Hotels – providing guests with useful information about activities and services in and around the hotel and also providing way-finding information to guests.
What can I expect from an LED display?
It is agreed that the initial investment cost for LED Signage is quite high. However, there is plenty of research and calculations that show you how fast you can not only recover the investment cost but also increase your profits as a result of electronic signs. In fact, signs are proven to be the most effective and yet, least costly form of advertising methods for small businesses. Here is an example of a calculation that will show you how quickly you can get your ROI and see better profits.
A car dealership is estimating a 5% increase in business as a result of the latest investment in a programmable LED sign. Profit margins on the sale of new cars range from 2 – 4%. So we will assume a 3% margin for a new car that costs $30,659 = $920 per car. The estimated increase in business means that if 60 cars are sold previously, the new sales figure would be 63. Therefore, monthly profits increase by $2,760. Hence, the investment of $50,000 for the LED sign can be covered in 18 months.
How are electronic signs different to other advertising forms?
In today’s digital world, traditional advertising has many disadvantages:
- expensive and quite wasteful
- cannot guarantee that the correct target market is reached
- is transmitted based on another person’s orders and schedule. If you are on a contract basis, any urgent messages cannot be sent across.
Internet Advertising is another popular method with which targeting specific audiences is possible but also carries the risk of being collected with a lot of other unwanted advertisements. Due to this “noise”, internet users probably won’t even notice your advertisement or may have instructed their browsers to block all advertisements.
LED signs on the other hand are better in many ways:
- LED displays are not just signs; they can be embedded into almost anything – an elevator, a fuel station pump or even a vending machine.
- Electronic signs are more than just a one way flow of information – people can interact with these signs by way of touch screens or via their mobile phones.
- Smart digital signs allow to gather information such as audience analytics. Information such as age and gender can be used to create more relevant content, better product placement and store design. In fact, the content on the screen can also be changed based on the demographics of the person.
- Because LED displays are so mainstream, you can use your investment as a means of creating additional revenue by choosing to accept third party advertising.
What are the benefits of investing in LED displays?
- Increased turnover: Sale price on a particular item, countdown discounts, and cross-sell messages are the kind of content that are clear calls-to-action.
- Brand awareness: Content on some LED signs are catered only towards building a business brand and encouraging customers to have a better opinion and experience in conjunction with that brand.
- Advertising: Owners of LED screens can sell or rent part of the real estate on the screen to third parties for advertising their products in return for a price. For example, screens in public places may be funded by local attractions such as restaurants and theme parks. Restaurant LED signs may also have beer companies purchasing ad space from them.
- Engage and entertain customers: It is a known fact that if you are given something to occupy yourself with while waiting, the wait feels shorter. LED signs can accomplish this task by providing entertainment and lifestyle content to make a waiting customer feel better.
- Internal communication: Indoor LED signs used within an office, institute, or organization can thoroughly improve communications. Recognizing achievements, boosting morale, and improving organizational processes are just a few types of content that these electronic signs could host. Furthermore, by integrating business processes with LED screens, real time information regarding inventory can be displayed. Any emergency situation such as a machine break down or fire alert can immediately be displayed on LED screens in relevant departments of the organization.
- Public announcements: programmable LED displays can also be used to broadcast evacuation orders and time sensitive information in ways that cannot be ignored by the public. This benefit is most valuable in educational environments. Today’s tech savvy youth respond better to information exaggerated on a larger scale
Are there any proven success statistics for digital signage?
Of course! There are several studies with several proven success statistics for programmable LED signs. Let us look at a few…
- When electronic signs are placed in public venues, they reach more customers than advertisements on social media platforms. One in every two Americans has seen a digital billboard every week.
- Of those travelers who remember the ads they see, 71% thought billboard advertisements are more effective than online ads and 46% thought billboards are even better than television ads.
- LED sign boards motivate customers to perform an action. One study showed that only six people reacted to the message displayed on the static sign while over 600 people reacted to the message on the electronic sign.
- A recent study showed that digital signage proved to be 34% more effective in promoting specific items as compared to traditional signage.
- LED sign boards placed at POS terminals play a major role in increasing brand awareness. Studies found that there was a 31% increase in customers recalling a brand that they were exposed to at a POS LED sign board. Brands that were studied during this research have experienced as much as 30% sales increment.
- LED signage helps distract customers and keep them happy while they wait and also allows a store to manage queues effectively. By displaying useful information on electronic signs, there is a proven 35% decrease in perceived waiting time.
- Digital signage is not complicated! With modern software, updating signs is easier than ever. 90% small business owners in a survey mentioned that there was no trouble in figuring it out and 89% of them recommended the use of electronic signs to others.
What is the difference between indoor and outdoor LED signs?
Indoor LED signs are used mostly in indoor settings for enhancing customer experiences, providing product information, providing way-finding facilities to passersby and also for internal corporate communication. Outdoor LED billboards are usually placed on busy roads and highways and are mostly used for advertising products and promotions and creating brand awareness.
3 major differences in the technical aspects of outdoor and indoor LED signs are as follows:
- Display resolution: Outdoor LED signs for businesses are usually intended to be viewed from a distance and can rely on lower resolution but should not compromise one bit on brightness visibility. Indoor LED signs however should have a higher display resolution in order to achieve maximum picture quality.
- Display brightness: With outdoor LED signs, you have to consider bright sunlight which makes the display dull and difficult to read. Indoor digital displays do not have to deal with the unpredictability of outdoor weather conditions and are therefore manufactured to be less bright.
- Display durability: This is the most obvious difference between the two. Outdoor displays obviously have to be durable enough to withstand extreme weather conditions and will need extra components to protect themselves. Indoor LED signs are not exposed to such elements and hence do not require additional protection.
What are the types of available LED screens?
When investing in an LED sign, make sure you conduct your research and look at the different options available. Balance out the pros and cons of different types of LED signs and decide which one is best for your business.
Below are the types of LED signs available at LED Craft Inc:
- Church Signs
- Billboard Signs: Communicate your message to thousands of people driving by every day with an innovative digital billboard design.
- LED School Signs
- Fire Department Signs
- Auto Dealer Signs: Useful information displayed on LED signs throughout your auto dealership will not only drive sales but also work wonders in occupying your customers while they are waiting to be served.
- Restaurant Signs: Reap the convenience and benefits of a digitalized menu board and offer customers a finer dining experience at your restaurant.
- Shopping Centre LED Signs: Strategically placed LED signs at shopping centres will be of great help to customers when it comes to obtaining wayfinding, product, brands and store information within the shopping centre.
- Combo Signs: Improve your brand image with expertly designed combo LED signs that are dual purpose, energy efficient and have exceptional image quality.
- Monument Style Signs: Turn your business sign into a landmark by investing in customized monument style LED signs and attracting the attention of every individual walking or driving past your business.
- Other Retail Signs: Promoting your retail business through a cleverly designed LED sign is the most profitable advertising form.
- LED Panels: Give your event a sophisticated look by installing LED panels on location
- Mobile LED Signs: Convert your vehicle into a messaging device by mounting mobile LED signs on it. Earn additional revenue with this clever investment.
- Stage Rental LED Signs: Rent large outdoor LED screens for your stage shows to provide amazing colour effects, imagery and virtual scenes that enhance the overall look of the stage.
- Stadium LED Signs: Make sure your audience does not miss a moment of action by installing massive stadium LED signs that provide top notch visual performance and have suitable structures for different stadiums.
- Video Walls
- Transparent LED Wall Displays: Make use of the glass walls in your store by installing transparent LED wall displays.
- LED Gas Price Signs: Attract traffic with a vibrantly designed LED gas price sign. It is the best solution for your petrol station to gain a competitive advantage at an extremely affordable price.
- LED Street Light Solutions: Give your city a new look by investing in new lighting technology that is not just affordable but also extremely energy efficient.
Each of these digital signs are available in different sizes and shapes so you can choose according to your requirements. Simply get in touch with us via phone or email and a consultant will get back to you to cater to providing you with the best digital signage solution.
What are the concerns before investing in digital signs?
- What is my audience?
It could be your employees, customers, visitors, or all of them
- What information am I going to communicate?
Current information such as news and weather conditions, product and service information, communicating with your organization (alerts, sales figures, production statistics, etc.), instructional messages (directions and schedules), or a combination of these.
- What is the purpose of the solution?
- Lowering Costs: if your current system for advertising relies heavily on expensive and less efficient methods, LED signs can help you save up on a lot of those costs.
- Information or Directions: wayfinding and other information regarding particular events taking place on site is a classic usage of digital signage, particularly in places like hospitals, airports, schools and large retail complexes.
- Increase turnover: with electronic signs, people are made more aware of your products and services, new offerings and promotions. This is a proven way of increasing sales. Furthermore, by linking your signage with inventory, real time stock information can be given to consumers.
- Merchandising: virtual product presentations are helpful to provide a 360 degree angle of the products, get more information and place orders through the kiosk itself.
- Better customer experiences: interactive screens provide quick access to information such as “how to” videos and other important details.
- Enhancing your brand: make use of advanced technology such as 3D glasses, HD video quality and large stage rental LED signs to create a lasting impression of your brand.
- What content will be displayed?
Having a clear cut content strategy is as important as choosing your hardware and software.
- What do you plan to show on the LED screens?
- Who will manage the content?
- How will you determine if the content is appropriate or not?
Your content strategy will play a major role in determining the success of your digital signage investment.
- Are the content contributors from multiple departments? If so, how many parties are involved and where are they located?
- How frequently will the information need to be updated?
It could be live streaming, daily updates, hourly, weekly or monthly looped updates.
- What will the end result of my LED sign project be?
Here you have to consider physical location, size, resolution, and orientation of the LED display. You also need to think about how the display will be mounted, how the power will be connected and any other such customized requirements.
- Flexibility of the campaign:
- Consumer expectations are always evolving. As a result, your content has to vary accordingly in terms of interactivity and the types of analytics used for example.
- If you are aiming at keeping the software and image quality the same for about 2-3 years, all other devices will have to cater to only a minimum specification. This means that you will be under-utilizing your entire system.
- Today your objective might be towards driving sales but a few months’ later ambience or education may be your focused objective based on the traffic flow of your brand. Your campaign should be able to deal with these changes in objectives.
A good tip to keep in mind here is that it will be more effective to change software frequently than to change the entire hardware platform. Hence choose carefully in terms of flexibility of hardware and software.
How to create content for my LED sign?
Creative content is the key to successful digital signage because this is what people see when they look at your LED sign.
Hence a well thought out, long term content strategy is critical. How do we begin mapping this strategy?
- Content can take the form of:
- Slides – easy to create using programs such as MS PowerPoint
- Graphics – logos, illustrations, icons, etc.
- Animated graphics – modifying your graphics to make them move
- 3D graphics – facilities for 3D graphics that do not require special glasses is now available
- Video – LED signs are just like a television screen, hence people expect to see videos
- Live Feeds – live information from broadcasting networks can be streamed
- Database content – information such as event schedules, prices, stock availability and so on
- The amount of content you need depends on:
- Operating environment
- When establishing content strategies, dwell time should be considered. “How long will a typical viewer spend with the content you display”?
- A sign in the waiting area of a health clinic for example can show a content loop of about 10 minutes, considering the average wait time per patient is 15 minutes.
- If your LED sign is in the pathway of a busy mall for example, a good idea would be to display a collection of images, each lasting for 5-7 seconds, considering the average attention span of a person walking by would be 15 seconds.
- Frequency of visits is another factor to keep in mind.
Let’s take the example of a gas station:
The average customer spends 3 minutes at a gas station while his tank is being filled and visits the station once a week. In this situation, it is advisable to have a 3 minute content loop on the LED gas price signs and to make sure the loop is changed once every five days.
- Additional content factors:
- Less is more. Your audience should interpret your message as fast as possible. If it takes too long, you might lose your audience.
- Look out for ways to display you LED sign content to guarantee that viewers will notice your message at least 2-3 times.
- When creating extended loops, vary the timings of the segments and mix them into one loop. For example, one segment could be 30 seconds, the other could be a minute long, and the third could be two minutes long.
- Content for different purposes:
- Drive sales: highly focused product pitches to attract the customer
- Inform/educate: two minute presentation segments with useful and relevant information would be ideal
- Entertain: eye catching content that is also humorous and engaging. As for timing – a few seconds to a couple of minutes would be sufficient.
- Ambience: produce unobtrusive content that will be appreciated and can engage viewers
- KEY CONTENT RULE: Create a mix of content to keep customers engaged.
A collection of advertisements for example will bore customers away.
- Cater content to your audience:
- Age: the pacing and style of content will differ for older audiences compared to the younger ones.
- Gender: are you targeting both males and females? If so, create content accordingly.
- State of mind: is your audience relaxed (standing in a long queue) or focused on getting somewhere (catching a train).
- Scheduling your content based on your target market is also important. Let’s look at some examples:
- A restaurant might learn that their customers during the day are older than those during the night.
- A bank may discover that on Friday’s they have customers mostly visiting to cash paychecks.
- A retailer may have different brick-and-mortar stores catering to different demographic audiences.
- Creating and developing content is possible in two prominent ways:
- In – house: some organizations have the relevant expertise in their existing staff to create LED sign content. Someone with a photography hobby could take professional photos of the products for example. Another who has the knowledge of operating graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop can edit the photographs and create the advertisement.
- Outsourcing: if your advertising is already handled by another company, you could consult them for help with your electronic sign content (but only once you have established your key objectives).
People have been seeing screens in public places for a long long time now. You shouldn’t be sending out the wrong message by displaying beginner level content.
Once the content is created, how do I manage it?
Once your content is ready, you need to consider things like:
- Should the same content appear on all LED displays at the same time?
- Should the same content appear all day, every day?
- How is interactive digital content managed?
Managing and scheduling content is certainly a challenge. Apart from that, you also have to think about how time consuming it is to regularly come up with new and original content. But don’t fret because efficient software is available to handle these kind of tasks. This software is referred to as Content Management Systems (CMS). Basic functions of this software will include:
- Adding content to be played
- Organizing content into libraries
- Sending content to LED displays
How do I select my software requirements for content creation and management?
Content creation is as simple as dragging and dropping your content into sophisticated software programs that can come up with a playlist to schedule the content as per your requirements.
What does this mean?
Highly programmable software allows sign owners to schedule their content based on daily or minute-to-minute needs. For instance, breakfast specials could be displayed in the morning hours while snacks can be advertised in the evening or late night hours. Hot beverages can be promoted when the temperature is dropping and vice versa for cool beverages. If for example, the weather changes unexpectedly and rain/snow appears, you can promote rain gear within just a matter of minutes.
It is very important that billboards display the latest and up-to-date information, particularly when displaying news, schedules, timetables, weather updates and so on. With advanced software, sign owners can update their signs, change playlists and also analyze the readiness of a sign through an internet connection.
LED signs for businesses come with very easy-to-use, yet sophisticated software that lets you control your digital signage. The screen contents can be split individually and designed based on your requirements. Furthermore, integration of content is possible with this software, a variety of interactive features are available and the bottom line is that it makes content management very easy.
How to make my digital billboard attractive?
A person driving by a digital billboard has only 7-10 seconds to view and absorb the content displayed.
If your ad is effective, viewers should be able to consume it in a glance. When designing content make it simple, bold, brief and legible.
Visual Creativity Principles
- Composition – defining the layout and hierarchy
Layout is what determines the end look of an advertisement. In this case, hierarchy of communication is very important for retention of information. You cannot expect viewers to read and understand five different messages at once. Define the items in levels and give priority to what is important. Also, display your information in logical order – across and down. Overlapping visual and written information will take more time for the reader to process.
- Typography – arrangement of text on an LED display
Using large, bold and easy-to-read fonts is critical here. All caps text is advisable only if your message is very short. Sticking to restricted amounts of text will increase readability and comprehension. Color combinations, viewing distance and lettering size are other factors that must be considered.
For best legibility on billboards, research shows that the width of a letter’s vertical strokes should be about 20% of its height, while horizontal strokes can be a little thinner. These proportions should be considered for both upper and lower case letters.
Things to avoid when deciding font styles:
- Too much contrast between thick and thin elements.
- Font styles with strokes that are too thin.
- Bulky font styles become blobs from far away and cannot be read.
- Overly fancy font styles are often illegible at a distance.
By using rich and vibrant colors you can take maximum advantages of the color capability of your LED sign. Bright and heavily saturated colors are a better option than low contrast ones. Some colors appeal to specific emotions and hence these need to be carefully chosen. In addition to appealing to emotions, color choices also affect distance factors. Color charts and wheels are available to guide you on which colors should be used in which situations.
As for background colors, avoiding white and light colors is preferable because these may not attract the eyes. And this is not something you would want in advertising. Making use of your LED billboards color capabilities is recommended as it is more pleasing to the eye. If white or light backgrounds must however be used, it is advisable to only display that content during the day-time.
How to select a suitable media player?
A media player is the backbone of your digital signage system. It provides processing power for your LED screen to display content and keep it playing. The market serves a wide range of media players. Some of the main differences between the types are:
- Processing power
- Operating system compatibility
- The ability to connect to a number of networks
- The ability to connect to a number of digital screens
- Form factor: storage box type or embedded devices
- Commercial and consumer grade – former one is able to operate for long hours
- Remote management facility – operate the player off site (remotely)
- Audio support levels
- Noise support levels
How to select an LED display?
- The display screen you choose is the fact of your digital signage solution.The hardware and software you chose is all hard at work in the background to ensure that relevant content is seamlessly played on your LED screen. These displays come in literally hundreds of different types, sizes and shapes. The criteria in choosing your LED display is as follows:
- Commercial or consumer grade – businesses should stay away from consumer screens as they are not designed for heavy duty work. Your display choice should be dictated based on how the screens will be used:
- Content: will you be displaying static images, HD videos, text or 3D graphics? Size, resolution, sound and connectivity are some of the aspects that will be decided based on these answers.
- Interactivity: single touch or multi touch requirements?
- Placement: free standing on the floor, mounted on a wall or embedded in another device (LED gas signs, vending machine signs).
- Environment: is the temperature, lighting, air quality and such factors going to affect the durability of the screen?
- Size – this depends on:
- The size of your environment
- The proximity of the viewer to the screen
- Other considerations:
- Orientation – landscape or portrait
- Heat dissipation
- 3D (glassless technology)
For further information regarding selecting an appropriate LED display, our friendly team of experts at LED Craft Inc will be glad to help. You could email us, or have a look at the rest of our website for detailed information, or simply call our hotline and we will explain the available solutions to you based on your requirements.
- Commercial or consumer grade – businesses should stay away from consumer screens as they are not designed for heavy duty work. Your display choice should be dictated based on how the screens will be used:
How to manage a digital signage network?
While digital signs can be deployed almost anywhere, managing the network can be a huge challenge. What happens if your screen suddenly goes blank or your media player stops functioning? It can be expensive and impractical to send people on site to figure out and solve the problem.
The best way to handle such issues is to manage the network remotely. Remote management is very important in a digital signage network. There are many options for managing a network remotely and some of the things to look out for are as follows:
- Centralization: monitoring and controlling all the devices on your network from one central location should be possible. Cross checking information will give you an idea of the overall network performance and can identify if any individual device has failed.
- Easy to use interface: the interface should offer full control without having to manage each screen of technical data individually.
- End-to-end: devices can fail anywhere and at any time. With the right management solution, you can track media from its point of origin to its final point of destination.
- Performance proof: your management system should give you proof that the scheduled content was actually displayed on the particular LED screen.
- Flexibility: the system should be able to easily adapt to new devices and new business processes.
How can I guarantee success with my LED sign investment?
- Extensive planning: you should know the exact objectives you want to achieve with your investment and what kind of content will get you there. Technology such as LED panels and media players are just a means to get to your objectives. Getting the content right is critical in the success of your investment.
- Aligning stakeholders: many different stakeholders of an organization want to have a say in the final solution of the digital sign investment. Align the following segments carefully:
- IT – maximum integration with other systems should be possible
- Marketing – support in terms of branding and product rollouts
- Line of business – solution should address the specific needs of your business
- Customer service – make sure customer engagement is done perfectly
- Finance – layout the measures for determining ROI
- Facilities – getting the overall design of the system just right
- What to look for in an LED display solutions provider:
- Make sure they have the A/V and IT skills set that is needed for your solution.
- Your partner should have plenty of experience in deploying a signage network on the scale that you are looking at.
- It is critical that your partner has experience in the industry that you are in. this will put you ahead of the curve when determining industry-specific content.
- Efficiently being able to design the look, feel and functionality of your user interface. This is particularly important when your LED displays are interactive.
- The importance of content cannot be stressed enough. Plenty of resources for content development should be allocated.
How to use LED signs the right way?
Let us discuss a few features that can be obtained with LED signs but cannot be made use of with static signs:
- Quality of text, resolution of images and videos are very high, which helps to attract consumers.
- Content and design of your advertisement can be customized solely for your business.
- You can save an entire library of different artwork so as to continuously keep your message interesting and fresh.
- The schedule of how messages should be displayed can be set automatically so that a person does not have to be there every time the advertising message has to be changed.
- If you are unable to operate your LED sign properly, you will not be able to take advantage of the features offered by LED displays.
How to overcome common pitfalls of an LED sign investment?
- Bandwidth: will your data network be able to transmit HD videos and continuous live streaming of data? Evaluate the readiness of your network to figure this out.
- Cooling: the most common cause of hardware failures is heat. For this reason, it is important to choose high quality hardware components and provide necessary ventilation.
- Electricity: no technological device will work without electrical power. Make sure there are appropriate power outlets close to where your screens will be located.
- Visibility: while you are evaluating the placement of your screen, lookout for obstruction and lighting issues as well.
- Wiring: you could go for wired or wireless connections between media players and screens. Wired is more reliable but wireless would work just as well for short distance. For a spacing of more than 25 feet, a video extender will be required.
- Wall quality: the wall where your screens will be mounted should be strong and durable. Even if your LED display is a thin and small one, it can be surprisingly heavy.
We have addressed several issues on this page with regard to your LED sign investment. If however, you still have any questions unanswered or need more information regarding our products and services, please feel free to contact us via phone or an online inquiry and we will be glad to assist you to the best of our ability.