What Is a Digital Billboard?

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  • Written By: Geri Terzo
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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As technology advances, new ways for companies to advertise their businesses emerge. Digital billboards are freestanding signs that demonstrate how far the industry has come from painted advertisements and cardboard notices. Either static signage or changing advertisements are made possible through the use of digital billboard technology.

A digital billboard is more expensive than a traditional painted sign. Charging rent to approximately six advertisers for one sign can make the investment worthwhile. These electronic signs can be used not only for business advertising but by local news agencies to display recent sports scores and more.

Billboards are signs that are located outside the confines of the business being advertised. A high-tech form of signage, a digital billboard uses LED display technology to create video and animation to enhance the effectiveness of a message. Due to the technology inside this type of sign, the display may change so that several messages can be communicated in a short amount of time. Some communities rely on digital billboards heavily, while others argue these signs are an eyesore and need to be more highly regulated.


Often, a digital billboard can be spotted atop a major highway or busy intersection. The objective, of course, is for advertisers to reach as many people as possible. Unfortunately, a changing message could divert the attention of a motorist in a sudden way. Luckily, the operators of these signs must adhere to some regulation designed to reduce the chance for traffic accidents as set forth by a federal or local authority.

Laws surrounding billboards are designed to promote traffic safety in a city. Flashing lights or sudden and abrupt changes to an advertisement are distracting, and as a result, regions including the U.S. do not allow those features in a digital sign. Lights may be used to illuminate a digital billboard, but the brightness of the sign must remain reasonable. Messages on a digital billboard can remain stagnant or change every six to eight seconds or so.

Communities may come to rely on a digital billboard for business advertising and public safety. Technology in a digital billboard allows the message to change in a moment and from a remote location. Law enforcement personnel take advantage of the technology and use these signs to help locate criminals and missing children, for instance. The Amber Alert, which is a nationwide way for law authorities to locate missing children in the U.S., has been used on digital billboards across the country.


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