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7 Mistakes of Digital Signage Content That VARs Need to Avoid

January 05, 2017

Does this scenario sound familiar?

You, the value-added reseller (VAR), have gone through great lengths crossing t's and dotting i's so your client receives the best possible digital signage solution based on their budget and needs.

The installation is a hit with your client. Your selection of digital displays, media players, CMS software, and any other gear you've selected for them results in backs being patted and everyone seemingly happy.

Then your client asks the inevitable question: How do I best use content to get the attention of my viewers and keep them engaged? It's not a matter of if, but when you'll be asked about how to deploy eye-catching content solutions.

As a VAR, you know that content is king. If you don't, you should, because your clients will undoubtedly expect guidance on how to make their technology investment reap benefits fairly quickly.

Although each client's business needs are unique, there are a few content blunders that are standard no matter the vertical and that you'll want to avoid.

1. Using stale content

Consider the retailer whose signage still advertises a sale even though it expired days ago. The result will likely turn off more than a few customers and convince them to seek out a competitor.

End users expect content to be relevant and updated fairly frequently. The goal is to keep viewers from getting bored and ignoring your signage.

The good news is that there's a variety of content like RSS feeds and weather/traffic and social media updates that can be integrated in real time in order to give your content variety and freshness.

2. The slideshow

There is a proper place and time for a good slideshow, but it's not on digital signage. Try to avoid content with poor transitional cadence that looks too much like a PowerPoint presentation.

That's not to say that static images should be avoided entirely, but try breaking up content presentations with dynamic images, because movement attracts viewer attention better than slowly moving static content.

3. Bad design choices

There is a good reason why the trend in digital signage is toward larger display monitors?clients want their digital signage installations to be noticed.

But there is a lot more to effective content delivery besides display size. Part of the visibility equation has to do with font choice, size and background color.

Avoid overly stylized fonts that don't complement branding strategy or are hard to read. The same can be said for layout and color decisions. Most text in the Western world is designed to be read from left to right.

Unless there is a good reason to deviate from that pattern, stick with sans serif fonts that read from left to right and avoid the use of garish colors that may turn viewers away.

4. Poor continuity

In the movie industry, continuity refers to how each scene relates to the one before and the one after to produce a coherent storyline. Digital signage content should follow similar graphic principles, meaning the overall message should be engaging and make sense to many, rather than just a few.

For example, each slide in a digital content presentation should ideally have design elements that are complementary to the ones before or after. Likewise, transitions to moving images should not be jarring, but should ease the viewer in so that he or she wants to see more.  

5. Information overload

In business, the 30-second elevator pitch is said to be key to getting a job or selling a product.

Digital signage is much the same way, only shorter.

Communication should be streamlined so that each slide conveys one or two messages that can be easily understood before transitioning to the next slide.

The goal is to present the most important information up front and then follow up in subsequent slides if necessary.

6. Where's the interactive content?

By all accounts, interactivity is here to stay, which means content should be designed to take maximum advantage of this technology.

End users are already used to the technology in their consumer devices, so interaction with digital displays should be intuitive.

Almost all verticals can benefit from interactive content. Besides, interactive content provides a fun, engaging way for end users to become aware of product promotions, wayfinding, or services.

7. Forgetting the call to action

Digital signage content is meant to get the viewer to "do something" based on what you've told him or her about your product or service. But all the flowery language and lush imagery will have been wasted if there is no call to action (CTA). That could mean asking the customer to provide an email address or phone number or to try a free sample of your product. Without a CTA, there is no conversion from viewer to customer and no positive ROI because the content is ineffective.   

With the right content strategy, all of these mistakes are highly avoidable. The result will be customers who are more attracted to and engaged with your digital signage solution.