How to get your digital signage audience engaged (Commentary)

By Melina Politi

Marketing and Sales Manager, CyberStream

Digital Signage is very much dependent on visual content. This is something you could easily guess, as in the digital signage world sharing your content is the actual reason why you are performing a campaign. It is like telling a story as loudly and vividly as possible so that you stand out of the crowd and get its attention. Yes it's true! Compelling content can engage users, but not just by itself!

What you initially need, is to have a clear view about what you want to achieve with your campaign. So it is incumbent upon you to design your campaign carefully.

And when we say design your campaign we mean from end to end:

  • What is its purpose?
  • Who do you want to influence?
  • How are you going to select the content you going to use?
  • Where and when are you going to present it?

By answering all these questions you define your strategy!

Paying attention to consistency is good in any expression of your brand. Use whatever distinguishes your brand from the competition and makes customers easily recognize your products. Transform all your brand's attributes that provoke sensations, feelings, cognitions and behavioral responses into content for digital signage.

It is not about using just your digital signage network as an advertising medium. It is about communicating an overall coherent brand personality toward your customers. The secret is to select all the appropriate publicity channels (all "bought, earned and owned media") in a clever manner; then you will almost certainly receive some positive feedback. But how can you really engage people?

Digital displays are present in places that people walk, shop, dine, meet or work — so digital signage advertising campaigns are actually meant to persuade your audience on the spot. If they don't, they have failed. It is the marketing activity that should pay off instantly. Frequently people are just passing by without really noticing the surrounding environment. So your primary concern is to catch their eye and make them active participants in the promotional process!

Mainly it has to do with how people function. If you stimulate their interest, you engage them. It doesn't have much difference from how it was when you were really young...

Was it more fun when you were just watching other kids play or when you were participating in the game? In the first case you were a passive viewer, while in the second you were proactive and you could set your own preferences. Using the same approach, things do not dramatically change when you grow up!

By trying to make the audience part of a campaign you are encouraging them to demonstrate their true colors, what appeals to them or what is of little difference to them.

By getting your audience involved in your campaign you wake them up and captivate not just their attention but their mind as well.

The audience does not only notice that there is a display there, it appreciates its interactive purpose. In return, these people give you the most valuable feedback about your brand. And, needless to say, that positive reaction most likely improves your brand perception and hopefully your sales.

In support for such an assumption there is a recent study that correlates interactivity and OOH advertising. People do connect better when they become an essential element of an advertising campaign. Ninety-two percent of the participants of the study share the opinion that interaction makes an advert catch people's eyes more effectively, while 82 percent also say interactivity makes an ad more engaging.

Let's just give two very simple examples where interactivity could be applied. For instance, think about one very simple application: opinion polling. What do you think is more efficient and captivating? Just to display the results of a survey or to make your viewers vote about a topic and then their results would appear on the screen in real time?

In the picture above you can see visitors completing a questionnaire, with the results rendered on the screen instantly. Isn't it more engaging when you make viewers shape the outcome of a survey than when you just demonstrate data?

Another interesting interactive application in the retail industry is the one you see below for an international chain of supermarkets. The new store concept was launched with new services and for an enhanced customer experience. The digital signage system enables information retrieval, product searches, feature comparisons and commercial messages.

There are special applications delivered for white goods, electronic goods, baby care products and printer inks. There is also distributed installation with central management, using touchscreens and proxy servers for each location.

The study and these examples validated what you already suspected! Enough with just your promotional material... pass the floor to your audience and encourage them to participate.

Can you think of any better way of engaging them?

Politi is the marketing and sales manager at Athens, Greece-based CyberStream LTD, an IT company with a track record of 10 years in systems integration and application development. CyberStream provides solutions to business problems by combining leading products in terms of reliability and performance with innovative software applications.

Read more about digital signage and customer experience.

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