By Dominic Feik

Content is king. This is as true for digital signage as it is for any media. Investment in quality content to support clear business objectives (e.g. sales uplift, branding, or product awareness) is what drives commercial returns. When implementing digital signage it is critical to allocate sufficient funds to a well thought-out content strategy, otherwise the best system will be wasted.

Some high level guidelines for successful content are:

  1. Start with content schedules – Digital signage brings into play new capabilities that make content planning critical. These include multiple messages in one location (e.g. a series of three images rather than a single image); time of day displays (e.g. after school or opening hour); and the ability to frequently change displays. You should plan how to communicate over time, starting from the customers’ needs and your objectives, limited by what is manageable.
  2. Prepare content that is fit for purpose and location – Content used in other mediums rarely works well in digital signage. For instance TV advertisements typically require too long period of attention or have a message to attract people in store rather than convert to purchase; print may be too detailed and lacks the movement that differentiates digital. Content needs to be informed by the customer’s mindset (i.e. are they walking past, waiting at a counter); how long will they look at the screen, and the desired action or outcome.
  3. Integrate with other marketing communication activity – as with any point-of-sale communication, digital signage will be more effective if co-ordinated with other communication activity.
  4. Design to be cost effective – structure content so that it is easy to create and change. This is not to say you shouldn’t have more expensive, feature content (particularly for branding objectives), but this needs to be balanced with relevance – low cost content can be updated weekly or monthly, whereas high cost content may need to run for months to justify investment.

Some techniques to produce effective content include:

  • Use animation to attract the eye – whether to draw someone in store or attract attention at point of sale. Sparse animation can be far more effective in gaining attention than rich video.
  • Mixing animation with static images enables you to create movement to gain attention, but without the cost of all animation or video.
  • Managing a screen in segments can improve customer decision making – for instance keeping two thirds of the screen as a static menu, and rotating through a number of items in the remaining third.

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.