A Look at Las Vegas: Do Animated Billboards Work?

A Look at Las Vegas: Do Animated Billboards Work? The Las Vegas Sphere: a new horizon in immersive experience design | by  Blake Manzo | UX Collective

The billboard, a staple of advertising, has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent decades. The revolution in out-of-home advertising was sparked by the introduction of the first digital billboard in 2005. Since then, this technology has evolved into a dynamic platform, fostering innovative collaborations between animators and marketers.

Initially, digital billboards were the domain of large corporations with substantial marketing budgets. However, recent technological advancements have led to a decrease in pricing, making this advertising medium more accessible to a wider range of organisations.

The number of digital billboards in the United States increased from 6,400 in 2016 to 11,500 in 2023. When an advertising instrument experiences rapid growth, astute marketers pay attention. 

On that note, let’s examine the essential information on animated billboards and their influence on out-of-home advertising, specifically in regions of the world like Las Vegas, where they’ve flourished as advertising tools. 

What is a Digital Billboard?

Digital billboards are high-impact displays strategically positioned in public areas that advertisers may use to market their goods or services. The displays are often illuminated by LED or LCD bulbs, allowing for digital material such as films and animations to be presented.

Digital billboards are a very efficient and impactful technique today. Companies can promptly modify their ads to align with their marketing requirements, enhance their audience segmentation, and showcase real-time statistics.

The Difference Between Traditional and Digital Billboards

Unlike traditional billboards that display static, printed ads, digital billboards use LED displays to showcase dynamic graphics or videos that change periodically. One significant advantage of digital billboards is their ability to schedule and update content remotely, a feature that traditional billboards lack.

One could assume that advertising on digital billboards is costlier than advertising on conventional billboards, and this first impression seems accurate. The mean expense for advertising on a billboard in the United States is $850 for a duration of four weeks. The mean cost of a digital billboard is greater, about $2.1k for the same duration. You won’t be using ChatGPT to write marketing copy at that price!

Nevertheless, digital billboards provide the opportunity to purchase smaller increments of time. Blip Billboards is a service where anyone may create and manage their own digital billboard advertisements, with prices starting at $10 per day. Each “blip” lasts just a few seconds, but this may be plenty for some adverts.

The FHWA standards require a digital billboard to display changing advertising for four to ten seconds, with a suggested transition period of eight seconds. 

Digital Billboard Variations

Standard digital billboards are the fundamental building blocks of any Digital Out of Home infrastructure. They are electronic displays featuring captivating video or picture ads and are often located in bustling metropolitan areas.

Interactive Billboards 

Interactive digital billboards enable consumers to actively interact with adverts using sensors and other advanced technologies. Facial detectors can identify when a visitor is directing their gaze towards a billboard and then initiate a modification in the creative content.

3D Digital Billboards 

3D digital billboards combine many photos of an item captured from various angles to create a lifelike 3D impression. Advertisers may showcase their creativity as viewers engage in an immersive experience.

Custom Digital Billboards

Certain digital billboards deviate from the norm by providing a distinctive format that distinguishes them from others. An example is the Storm Combination installation, which consists of six screens stretching over 72 metres of one of London’s most heavily used commuter roads. 

The Las Vegas Sphere: A Look into the Future

Depending on your demography, you could have seen a colossal pulsating eyeball, extraterrestrial worlds, or a multitude of dome-shaped visual effects appearing on your TikTok timeline. These are part of the recently opened live experience venue in Las Vegas called ‘Sphere at The Venetian Resort’. The outside surface is adorned with 1.2 million LED panels, producing a 360° visual exhibition that completely dominates the surrounding cityscape during the whole day and night.

There are also a multitude of activities happening inside. U2 inaugurated the stadium last year with 25 performances. They effectively used the theatre’s haptic chairs, 160,000 speakers, 4D machines, and large wraparound screens to create an immersive and intense experience.

Advertising Dream in Sin City

As the world’s gambling capital and home to some of the best online casino apps, Las Vegas, Nevada, is no stranger to marketing tactics. However, nothing can quite compare to the Sphere in the digital billboard realm.  

The Sphere has already amassed a substantial online audience, accumulating more than 135 million views on TikTok since July 2023. It is a highly advanced digital billboard that surpasses traditional billboards in terms of capabilities and its ability to go viral.

The NBA was the first to use the Sphere as a platform for launching a marketing activation campaign to promote its Summer League. The Sphere underwent a metamorphosis for two weeks and assumed the appearance of a colossal orange basketball. This unique transformation was an ideal setting for players to strike poses in its presence.

The potential for impactful out-of-home (OOH) advertising possibilities is abundant for businesses linked with items that are not spherical. However, how these brands will capitalise on these chances is yet to be determined. Indeed, it may potentially be an ideal assignment for imaginative designers.

Previously, certain constraints limited digital advertising, but a 360-degree canvas provides a wide range of possibilities for creative storytelling and imagery. The Sphere’s integrated augmented reality (AR) characteristics have been suggested as a promising opportunity for improved audience engagement. Skilled artists and designers will undoubtedly discover ways to develop very immersive marketing experiences. 

Why Animated Billboards Work

Digital billboards offer a level of innovation that traditional billboards simply can’t match. With the ability to incorporate video, 3D effects, slow motion, and augmented reality, advertisers have a canvas for creating truly inventive and captivating ads that inspire viewers.

The majority, if not all, digital billboards are strategically positioned in areas with heavy traffic flow, allowing for a significant number of impressions to be generated. The medium is also enhanced by specialised lighting that adjusts to guarantee the visibility and readability of the creative content in every situation.

The same cameras and sensors that provide interactive functionalities on digital billboards can also enhance the precision of audience targeting. By accurately determining the age, gender, and even the mood of viewers, marketers can tailor their advertising messages to specific audience segments, empowering them to make their ads more effective.