Digital signage has come into its own as a highly efficient and effective communications medium. Digital signage leverages demographic efficiency, viewer familiarity and even interactive control to communicate marketing, advertising, informational and promotional messages in a manner that is effective and growing in popularity. It offers those with something to say a way to convey their messages in a targeted, effective manner that cuts through the noise of distraction and focuses the attention of a sought-after audience on a specific action, concept or mood, and its content can be every bit as powerful and persuasive as actual television.
Digital signage relies on the same graphics, animation, text and video that TV delivers with the added benefit that it, unlike TV, can be used to target specific messages to very specific groups of people. Thus, it is the ideal medium to narrowcast a specific message to a target audience, thereby avoiding the expense of paying for a mass audience when only a small percentage of that audience is of any interest to the communicator.
Three key advantages of digital signage are timeliness, availability and strategic placement. Digital signs, unlike printed signs, can be updated within minutes to take advantage of special opportunities or circumstances. Such timeliness is simply not possible with print.
The tendency to not want to change printed signs is understandable. Printing is expensive, both in terms of money and time. The processes involves creating the message and the design, assembling the pieces and handing off the project to a printer, who puts it in his queue of jobs.
Once printed and displayed, the new sign has a brief life as a fresh communications tool. Soon it has been seen by customers and prospects numerous times and it fades into the background — somewhere between the pictures on the wall and the paint. At that point, the cycle begins again.
Contrast the effort, time and expense of creating static printed signs with the timeliness of digital signage. Adding scrolling text, animated clips, motion graphics, video and sound, all effective components of a well integrated digital signage message, can be fast and easy using digital signage software.
Another key advantage is having complete control over the strategic placement of individual signs as a means to reach desired audiences. Strategic signage placement, reaching the right people, communicating timely messages and doing so at the right time of the day contribute to the overall effectiveness of digital signage. Digital signage possesses an inherent ability to respond to changing audience demographics throughout the day to maximize the effectiveness of communications.
The most common applications of digital signage:
- Public information – news, weather, directions, emergency alerts and local (location specific) information such as fire exits and traveler information
- Internal information - company messages, health & safety, news, etc.
- Menu information – pricing, photos, ingredients, and the other food information including nutritional facts
- Entertainment – event schedules and video footage
- Advertising – either related to the location the signage is in or just using the audience reach of the screens for general advertising; promotions and product features
- Brand building – in-store digital signage to promote the brand and build a brand identity
- Corporate – branding, employee communications, education about corporate mission, vision and values and reinforcing corporate identity
- Influencing customer behavior – directing customers to different areas, increasing the dwell time on the store premises
- Enhancing customer experience – applications include the reduction of perceived wait time in restaurant waiting areas, bank queues, etc., as well as recipe demonstrations in food stores
- Enhancing the environment – with interactive screens (in the floor for example) or with dynamic wayfinding
Digital Signage can be broken down into three types:
Point of Sale – Digital Signage that consumers encounter close to a product or service for sale. These are usually comprised of in-store or retail digital signs. The power of this type of signage is that the call to action is immediate—the screens are placed where shoppers make their buying decisions. The content is attention grabbing, relevant to product and brand, while the consumer is focused on buying. The content for these screens are usually helpful and useful to the shopper’s mindset in making purchases now.
Point of Transit – Digital Signage that is placed where people are always on the move. These are the “live posters” of the industry. They work by grabbing the attention of passing consumers for a brief period of time. These screens are mostly focused on establishing brand identity or value, and parcel out visually attractive or active content in short bursts. An example of this type of signage is the digital screens installed at airports or train stations.
Point of Wait – Digital Signage targeted to consumers waiting for a product or service for at least a few minutes. You often see these in office buildings, healthcare and hospitality locations, as well as corporate lobbies. Some of this variety are interactive such as screens facing passengers riding inside taxis. In those cases, the viewer has more “wait time” and can take in a longer message or series of messages. In office buildings one may encounter displays in and around elevators which have editorial content along with advertising. The common thread is that consumers viewing Point of Wait signage are both receptive and have sufficient time exposure to allow for longer messages and several repetitions.
A typical digital signage project includes:
- Large Format Display
LCD is most common; plasma is good for high quality video with fast moving action.
- Digital Media Player
Often a small form factor PC or appliance that runs content and displays to the screen.
- Mounting System
Most often includes wall, pole, ceiling or movable cart.
- Content Management software
To manage media, playlists, schedules and manage each screen/player.
Standard IP networking is most common, and management over the Internet, cellular or even satellite is available.
Perhaps the most important element! A strategic messaging campaign with media such as video, flash, HTML, jpeg/gif graphics, live TV, RSS and more are common.
Digital signage deployment requires addressing three distinct steps in the planning process:
- Location - Where your sign is positioned should help determine what type of content it should play. If it is a walk-by location, your information should be brief. If it is a lingering area, such as near an elevator, your content can contain a little more text, but should not be long. If it is a sit-down area where people may be looking at your sign for 15 or 20 minutes or longer, then videos or more in-depth content is appropriate.
- Screen Real Estate - How to divide your sign into regions, i.e., layout, and what type content to show is very critical to optimizing the potential of your sign.
- Scheduling - With the proper software, you can choose when your sign plays different content and schedule it to play based on the time of day or day of the week. You can instantly update your sign(s) or play content for one-time events with definitive start and stop times.
Key Questions when discussing Digital Signage
THE QUESTIONS BELOW WILL HELP YOU DESIGN A DIGITAL SIGNAGE SOLUTION QUICKLY AND EASILY
• What is driving your need for signage? e.g., corporate communications, improve customer experience
• Who is driving your need for signage? e.g., Marketing, Sales, IT
• How many locations do you anticipate for posting displays?
a. How many displays per location?
• Have you considered ROI or determined how to measure ROI?
a. Are you planning to run a pilot or proof of concept?
• Where is screen placement? (indoor/outdoor/break room/customer facing, etc.)
a. Will the screens need 24/7 run time?
b. Will the screens be placed in landscape or portrait mode?
• Who will be managing content? --- Note: We (SCR) can assist you with this, too.
a. Content managed local or off site
b. What type of content do you plan to display?
c. Are you considering interactive (touch) screens?
• Do you currently favor a specific manufacturer?
a. Is Quality and Warranty support a key consideration?
b. What Brand do you currently use for Commercial TV’s/Monitors?
c. Do you have any specific features you are looking for?
d. Do you have any current equipment?
• Have you determined a Budget?
a. Would you consider financing or leasing?
b. Do you have an estimate of your current marketing spend?
• What is the expected roll out schedule?
• When will you be making your decision?
Show your students school event schedule or important announcements while showing them educational videos or news simultaneously.
While your patients watch TV in the waiting area, deliver important health related information such as health tips or health warnings. Show them that you care while you entertain them.
Display meeting room schedules, upcoming events and much more while your guests check for local weather or news on TV.
Perfect for showing daily food or drink specials to bar & restaurant customers while they watch sports.
Travel agencies can improve product communication with dynamic digital signage rather than spending large amounts of money on big posters and other window signage as in the past.
Improve communications and increase attention in board meetings.
Create a richer in-store experience with digital signage. Retail sales will increase; return on investment will be undeniable with highly persuasive content.
The global digital signage market is one of the fastest growing marketing channels and is estimated to have generated $3.95 billion in 2011 and will generate $13.2 billion by 2016 at an estimated compounded annual growth rate of 27.29%.