By Dominic Feik

Digital signage provides great capacity to change messages. Compared to traditional signage, it offers the accountability improvements comparable to that from online over traditional media. Short trials of content, measured against performance (e.g. sales; customer response) can accelerate ROI, so a key part of your digital signage planning should be how you will measure performance.

There are two key categories of measurement – investment justification, and performance management. Investment justification is about determining the return on investment from digital signage. Typically this is done through either before and after testing for upgrade sites, or by comparisons across sites. For instance, in one trial stores with digital promotional boards saw a 2 per cent uplift in sales of a particular product category, while comparison stores without digital signage saw a 0.55 per cent fall.

Of potentially greater value is measurement for performance management – determining which content and which schedules deliver the greatest value.

This is easily managed in a seven step process:

  1. Define your objectives (which should be done before you invest in digital signage)
  2. Define metrics for these objectives and how they will be measured (e.g. sales or size of basket through POS, customers in store, presentation of loyalty cards, qualitative feedback, comparisons between stores showing different content).
  3. Identify variables which can affect performance, and which of these you wish to trial. For instance, the performance of 
    a.    animation versus static content;
    b.    category promotions versus specific products;
    c.    playlists of one or two messages compared to playlists with many messages;
    d.    promotions which display price against those that don’t;
    e.    position of portable displays (e.g. point of sale displays which can be placed on shelves or near registers);
    f.    time-of-day specific  communication (e.g. between 3:30 pm and 6:00pm); or
    g.    day-of-week specific communication (e.g. Monday messages; weekend messages).
    4.    Plan the test schedule – this should be designed so that the impact of an individual change can be isolated. As with any test regime, results should be repeatable in order to have confidence that cause and effect are taking place rather than some other factor being at work.
  4. Implement and measure
  5. Review results
  6. Repeat this process to further refine your use of the system until you are achieving consistent results at the level you want.

While taking such a structured approach to managing your digital signage can be time consuming, it will generally produce returns that more than justify the investment. It is this sort of approach that will help unlock the value that digital signage can deliver to your business.

Dominic Feik is General Manager, Digital of Sumo Visual Group, one of Australia’s leading visual display and digital signage providers. He brings to digital signage extensive experience in applying emerging technologies to innovative business strategies, and large-scale IT service delivery.