Digital Signage: The Ultimate Implementation Guide for any projects (AUG. 2017 Update)
Brand advocates are created by excellent customer experiences, but there are specific things you can do to put yourself in position to deliver those experiences, and put your customer in the best position to share their story.
In the world of digital signage and customer experiences, tactics and best practices can make you lose sight of the foundation of what digital signage is for, and how to do it right.
Here is our take on Digital Signage Fundamentals:
The digital signage industry is growing fast, and the benefits of it are becoming clear. According to a recent report, the worldwide market is expected to reach $23.76 billion by 2020, at a compound annual growth rate of 8.18% between 2015 and 2020. Behind such growth is the value digital signage adds to the bottom line: significant increases in brand awareness, sales and repeat business.
Digital signage (a sub segment of signage) communicates with targeted audiences in a more dynamic, engaging and effective way than other, more traditional mediums.
Sounds simple, but it’s a key element of any digital signage implementation. Defining the purpose of your system, or “the why,” should dictate your strategy, content, hardware, software and all of the other components required to support it.
Here are some examples:
• Retail: Increase product sales or enhance the customer experience
• Banking: Increase share of wallet
• Corporate Communications: Engage employees or ignite competition among sales teams
• QSR and Fast Casual: Increase sale of high margin items or drive greater efficiencies
• Hospitals: Create a better patient experience
• Cinemas: Create an experience outside the theatre that matches what’s going on inside
• Automotive: Increase awareness of service options and give salespeople the tools they need to sell more effectively
• Transportation: Give travelers information they need to get to where they’re going quickly and efficiently
• Entertainment: Create an impression that keeps audiences coming back
Your strategy is how you carry out your purpose. Be sure to consider your target audience, their expectations, your environment and how digital signage needs to be a cohesive part of it.
Considerations around hardware vary based on the application that you’re implementing. Large-scale video walls require multiple components including media players or a video wall processor and displays. For more simple installations, a display and media player can be used. More recently system on a chip displays have reduced the need for media players. Whichever route you take, consider the impact your hardware decisions have on the type of content, interactivity and engagement. Most of the time hardware decisions are best made toward the end of the buying cycle, after content and software.
Like hardware, software decisions should be made based on the applications that you’re implementing. But for software, the complexity of your network will also come into play. Whether you have a couple locations or a couple hundred, the complexity of content management, scheduling and distribution will impact your decision. Lots of screens that play the same messages require basic features, while sending highly targeted content to any number of screens can wreak havoc on a basic software system. Again, strategy and the impact on the type of content that you can display should be front and center.
Great looking displays and high-powered media players are worthless without engaging content. Content takes all forms and depends greatly on what you’re trying to accomplish. Understand that your goals may be different in different areas. For example a retailer will use different content types to drive store traffic than they would to drive product sales or create immersive brand connections. Consider where displays are located, how viewers will engage and what your objectives are for that area. Content is a critical component and should dictate your hardware and software decisions. Another consideration is refresh rates. Creating great content out of the gate is important, but more important is keeping it updated. Think about your existing marketing programs and how often they cycle. Also consider how often people will see your displays. Content that’s shown on a college campus should be updated much more often than an automotive dealer for example. Establishing a long-term content plan that coincides with your marketing programs will provide a great starting point.
Simple data feeds can be a blessing or a curse for digital signage implementations. RSS feeds like news, stock, weather or social media make it easy to keep your content up-to-date and require little effort on your part. But when you’re considering including data feeds to drive your content, ask yourself this simple question: “Is this content fulfilling my purpose and strategy?” If you’re in transportation and you’re leveraging live route updates, the easy answer is yes! However if you’re a bank and choose to display a clock and weather on your screens, you’re likely going down the wrong path.
Network connectivity is essential for any digital signage implementation. Whether you’re pulling live data, delivering updated content or monitoring the health and status of your solution, a reliable network connection is key. Networks come in all shapes and sizes. Organizations can use their own corporate LAN/WAN, a private DSL network, satellite and an option that’s becoming more popular is wireless 3G/4G connectivity.
What happens when a digital signage screen goes black? Who are you going to call? The manufacturer, integrator, dealer, solution provider? It’s important to have a plan in place before a problem comes up. Consider what kind of technical support you need, how quickly you need resolution and what kind of impact a black screen will have. For example, a digital menu board in a quick service restaurant will require a much more robust support infrastructure (including 24x7 monitoring) than a display in your break room designed to help employees unwind.
The amount of resources it takes to manage your solution can vary quite a bit. The complexity of content management, the number of locations, the amount of local content insertion, the amount of content and the frequency of content updates can all impact the level of management required. When it comes to managing your solution, consider the complexity and how that matches to the resources you have available to support it. While some organizations are equipped to manage everything on their own, others are better off outsourcing the heavy lifting to the pros.
Analytics and Metrics
Everyone talks about analytics, but it’s amazing to see how infrequently measurement tools are actually used and implemented. What and how to track depends greatly on the purpose of your digital signage. POS data is great for tracking sales, conversion rates and lift of products promoted on your displays. Video-based analytics, like AdMobilize, can be a great way to measure engagement and viewership while understanding the demographics of your audience. WiFi based solutions can provide heat maps, dwell times, CPM rates and conversion insights.
Big data and contextual marketing
The draw of bid data is appealing and the potential integration of big data into digital signage can be intoxicating. Leveraging data to drive personalized content can increase engagement and conversions, but the truth is there is a lot more talk than there is actual implementation. What’s holding it up? Big data is still evolving and most organizations are
5G wireless connectivity is still a couple years away, but could be an evolutionary change in the way that content is delivered. Considered to rival the most robust wired networks, 5G could make it easier to design, deploy and manage digital signage solutions no matter where they’re located.
The reality is that 4K is here and is quickly becoming a normal part of the digital signage ecosystem. Display prices have dropped considerably, most media players can support it and content creators are following suit.
At InfoComm 2016 we saw a wide range of LED displays that rival some large-scale video walls. LED displays are quickly moving beyond digital billboards and into more common indoor applications. As pixel pitch size continues to drop, LED displays will soon be a real alternative to video wall displays. Their brightness and flexible form factor provide a lot of options for elevating the experience.
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