In the 1960s, philosopher Marshall McLuhan championed the theory that “the medium is the message,” claiming that every communication medium influences how a given message is perceived by the viewer. Although McLuhan’s theories are now more than 50 years old, they still hold true today, especially in the world of digital signage.
Today, value-added resellers and their customers must carefully tailor their content and messaging to the digital signage platform through which it will be displayed. Your content shouldn’t simply be a digital version of a static sign; with today’s technology, you have an opportunity to truly harness the power of digital signage by providing content that actually suits the medium.
To get started, keep these five key questions in mind when working on each customer’s digital signage content:
1. Is it relevant to the audience?
This is one of the core guiding questions when designing or sourcing any piece of content: Is it actually relevant to your intended audience? Will it capture their attention and actually get your message across?
While it may feel overwhelming to consider all the various types of content available today, it would be helpful to let relevance guide your choices. In the long run, your digital signage installation will be much more successful if you do.
2. Is there enough of it?
Ideally, you’ll have enough content to keep each customer engaged—without getting to the point where the message is being repeated. The amount of content you need depends upon the application and the environment of the digital signage.
For example, visitors walking through a lobby will likely only see about 10 seconds worth of content, so it could be repeated fairly often; however, those waiting for a doctor’s appointment may see up to an hour of content. Be sure to plan accordingly so your viewers aren’t seeing the same content repeated on a loop—something that can get quite annoying after a while.
3. How often do we need to refresh the content?
Consider how frequently the same visitor might view your content. (Daily, weekly, once a year?) It’s important to keep a steady stream of new content so that return visitors don’t view the same information again and again.
Also, think about how timely your content needs to be; for example, “infotainment” used in a waiting room may last six months or more. However, certain locations may require content that is refreshed on a weekly or even daily basis. This is often the case for restaurants and bars, airports, and other applications that frequently display news, weather, and other timely content.
4. Does the content fit the display and environment?
Keeping in mind the above factors, ask yourself if the content is well-suited for both your technology and the surrounding environment. Today’s manufacturers offer such a wide array of digital signage technology; it’s important that your images and audio are optimized for whatever devices you’re using. Consider resolution, audio quality, advanced features such as interactivity, and more.
In addition, be sure that any environmental factors are taken into account. For example, screens that experience periods of direct sunlight may not be best for dark, hard-to-see content, and interactive content may require more “elbow room” for viewers than typical digital signage would.
5. Are we achieving our end goal?
With all these other questions in mind, ask yourself if the digital signage and its content are achieving your end goal. Whether your motivation is to increase sales, improve brand recognition, decrease perceived wait time, or any other goal, you should continually assess if your content is helping you get there.
Luckily, digital signage content is dynamic. Unlike traditional static signage, digital content allows you to make mistakes, learn from them, and easily make improvements without investing too much time or money. Digital signage is a powerful medium—you just have to make sure that you’re getting the right message across.
What other factors come into play when you’re planning or assessing your digital signage content? How do you typically determine the success of a particular digital signage installation?