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How To Create Effective Digital Adverts


What if I told you that digital signage can reach more consumers than the internet? You’d think I was pulling your leg. But it’s true.

According to research by SalonSense Media a whopping 70% of people aged 12 and older remember seeing a digital signage display in a public place over the course of a month. This is compared to 43% on the internet and 41% on Facebook.

A digital signage screen captures 400 more views than traditional static signs.

Part of the reason for these figures being so high is that unlike ads on social media feeds, digital signage advertising cannot be skipped or blocked, nor does the viewer have to be motivated to click play to watch the advert. It simply is always in sight.

However, just being on a digital screen is not enough, you need to make sure your advert is compelling, entertaining and effective to drive engagement. So, to help you, Madfrog have put together some quick tips for designing effective digital signage adverts.

Know Your Goal

What do you want your advert to do? Is it to raise brand awareness? Promote a product, an event or an offer?

By having a specific goal and knowing exactly what you want your advert to achieve you can keep the message clear. Try to focus on one key message in order not to overload or confuse your audience.

Keep It Short

The average attention span of a human has dropped from 12 seconds in the early ’00s to just 8 seconds!

With this in mind, you need to make an impact quickly to keep your audience engaged. You have very little time to capture attention so an arty slow opener is less likely to work. Instead go for something bright with movement.

Typically, most digital signage adverts run between 10 and 30 seconds.

The length you choose would depend on the location of the screens and the dwell times of your target audience.

For example, Madfrog have screens onboard all of the Wightlink ferries. The audience here is captive. Unless they fancy a swim they aren’t going anywhere until they get to the other side of the crossing! As a result, longer running adverts (20 – 30 seconds) work really well and dwell times are uniquely long, so great opportunities for people to see your advert. You can afford to tell more of a story if you are advertising to a captive audience.

Alternatively, we also have some screens in the terminal buildings. In these locations the viewer has more freedom to come and go and the average dwell time isn’t as long. Therefore, shorter 10 second adverts work better here.

Keep It Simple

Viewers won’t read text heavy adverts so try and use short, catchy phrases that conveys the information as clearly as possible.

According to Buffer, limiting your digital signage to 250 characters or less boosts engagement rates to 60%. Think of it like the old Twitter messaging when you were limited to 160 characters. It makes you simplify your message and thus increases impact.

Make sure the captions are on the screen long enough to be read and highlight main points that you don’t want the viewer to miss.

Who Are You?

You want the viewer to remember your name so try and keep important info such as your brand logo and, if possible, your business name on the screen throughout the advert. Your contact details; website, email, phone number can be displayed at the end of the advert but ensure it is on the screen long enough for people to take note of it. Including social media tags is always a winner and encourages a good response.

Many companies have great success with using QR codes to increase engagement. They are easy and free to create and you can set up a dedicated landing page for the code so you can monitor the traffic it produces. They are also great if you can offer discounts or special offers. Most smartphones now can scan QR codes directly from the phones camera without the need for an app.

Choose Fonts Wisely

Make sure that you choose your fonts, and font size, wisely. Remember that the majority of your audience will be seeing your advert from a distance rather than close up. Therefore fonts should be simple and easy to read.

Rise Vision conducted some research and found that Sans-Serif fonts were easier to read at a glance. These include Arial, Helvetica and Verdana. Ensure the font size is large enough to be visible. If its too small it won’t be seen from a distance and your message will be lost.


If you aren’t using your brand colours, or they won’t work too well on the big screen, try and choose visually attractive colours that compliment each other. Those opposite each other on the colour wheel are a good combination. Just be careful of using too many colours as it can be off putting.


Human eyes are naturally attracted to movement. By using animation, live action video and creative editing in your advert you can capture viewers attention more effectively than in static print. Did you know that 83% of viewers can recall something they have seen on a digital signage display? That is almost double the rate of retention of traditional advertising methods.

Call To Action

A clear call to action tells the audience exactly what you want them to do after watching you advert. The “Do This because Of This” formula is most effective – giving the customer a benefit to their action generally results in higher engagement.

Start with strong action verbs like “Buy”, “Order”, or “Get”. For example “Get 10% off when you sign up”.


The best thing about advertising with digital signage is it allows you to change your advert frequently and easily. Business is fast paced and so your advertising should be able to keep up.

Madfrog’s digital signage is your perfect advertising partner.

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