As we continue converting our making great digital signage content articles into YouTube videos, today's episode delves into the complex world of copywriting. Since the words on your screens do the heavy lifting of communicating complex ideas to viewers who often have very short attention spans, we'll be focusing on a few tips and techniques for maximizing the impact of your most important phrases.

Writing Great Copy: Power Slogans and Reading Bottlenecks

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Here's a transcript of the video

Whether you use digital signage to advertise, educate or inform, the content on your screens needs to connect with your viewers and deliver a clean, clear message. But as critical as content is to making a digital signage project a success, many still struggle to produce attractive, efficient segments to show on their screens.

Fortunately, making great digital signage content is as much science as it is art, and with a few simple tips and techniques you can supercharge bland, ineffective clips, making them into memorable, efficient delivery mechanisms for your messages.

And in these videos, we're going to show you how, one step at a time. Tip #4: Writing Great Copy: Power Slogans and Reading Bottlenecks.

If you were to ask a graphic designer who has developed content for digital signage what the most important element of any spot is, they might tell you about visual design, the presence of branding or the best way to use animation. If you ask someone who has actually looked into the science of what makes content perform, though, they'll tell you that far and away, the words on the screen (or spoken via a voiceover) do the vast majority of the "work" in any spot, whether it's meant to advertise a product or promote an event.

And if you stop and think about it, that should come as no surprise. After all, many of the greatest ad campaigns in history boiled down to no more than a few words -- no more than a sentence at most.

In fact, back in 2000, some high-minded advertising folks got together and identified the 115 best slogans, straplines, taglines, and headlines that they could come up with.

Then, a few years later, the authors at A List Apart, a popular weblog, dissected these 115 items to find out what makes great copy. They were able to distill out 6 simple rules:
  • Be five words in length
  • Don't mention brand name
  • Be declarative
  • Be grammatically complete
  • Be otherwise standard
  • Contain alliteration, metaphor, or rhyme
Most of the guidelines are common sense -- for example, short phrases are quicker to read and easier to remember. But how do these rules play out on the digital signage screen?

As it turns out, some of them can have pretty significant consequences. Take message length, for example. After hundreds of hours of research comprising tens of thousands of impressions and viewer surveys, we're confident that:
  • Each message should be no more than 5-6 words long. 3-4 words is better.
  • There should never be more than about 22 characters worth of messages on the screen at once.
  • You should put no more than one or two messages on the screen at a time.
  • And of course, make sure text is on-screen for long enough to actually read it.
Every message in your content is important, but none is more important than the call-to-action -- that critical notice that compels your viewers to take action. Next time, we'll talk through some important techniques for making high-performing calls-to-action to turn your viewers into doers.

If you'd like to take a deeper dive into today's topic, or if you'd like to learn more tricks about making great digital signage content, visit and do a search for "Making great digital signage content."


+1 # Mike Parham 2014-08-14 13:47
Very useful blogs for Digital Signage Insider. Thank you very much for helpful tips. [[|Digital signage Canada]]
+3 # Mike Parham 2014-08-15 09:22
Very useful article about digital sign. I got important tips. Thanks. [[|Digital signage]]

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