The top 10 digital signage trends ahead for 2013, Pt. II (Commentary)

Jan. 3, 2013

By Keith Kelsen

Author, Digital Signage Consultant

Well, well, here we are again ... the end of another amazing year of the roller coaster ride for the digital signage industry. You gotta love it!

The hope and promise of 2012 has come and gone leaving the next chapter for our industry. What does 2013 hold for us? Here are a few more of my thoughts on how this will all shape up for this coming year.

(Click here to read part one of my top 10 for this year, and you can check here and here to see my picks for 2012 trends and see how I did at prognostication last year.)

There are two significant trends that are positive forces in the industry: stores transitioning to digital destinations and fundamental IT architectural changes to support omnichannel marketing. The big question is, "How quickly will this play out in retail?" These two trends will change in-store digital engagement forever and impact our digital world. The good news is the impact on Digital Signage in retail will be positively affected by these trends in 2013 and 2014.

6. Time for 5 million-plus screens worldwide

I love this. Just last year we hit the 4 millionth screen that was place by someone somewhere in 2012. This year the 5 millionth screen goes up. Will it be interactive? Tied to mobile? Or a passive screen? Late in 2013 it could be you and your team after a long planning and strategic phase that finally puts up the 5 millionth screen. It gives me goose bumps knowing that we as an industry no longer have to explain what digital signage is, we just have to point to a corner on any street and say, "There's one right there!"

Look for that 5 millionth screen coming to a corner near you.

7. Ad spend at an all-time high for DOOH networks

According to the Digital Place-based Advertising Association, total digital out-of-home advertising revenues grew 11.8 percent in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011; that's more than six times the growth rate for the media industry overall, which edged up 1.9 percent in the first six months in 2012. We expect to see this trend continue in 2013 with ad spending for DOOH to be somewhere in the 9-12 percent growth area. Most of the large networks are still capturing more locations within their discipline which adds to the growth of advertising.

Look for DOOH Ad spend to be one of the highlights of advertising industry.

8. Interactive digital signage

When is digital signage ... well ... digital signage? In the last year we have seen more interactive digital signage than in the years past. This trend is part of a megatrend of engagement within the digital world we now live in. As in trend No. 1, the industry is creating experiences that are fun, educational and that engage the consumer in a manner that helps drive sales. Even in this year, 80 percent of the winners in the Digital Screenmedia Association's "Crown Awards" were interactive. And as in trend No. 4, content is changing with this trend in mind. This category includes touch, gesture, mobile and tablet interactions with digital signage.

Look for even more highly engaging interactive applications that are unique and different in retail and DOOH ad networks.

9. More Realities

According to Joseph Pine's book "Infinite Possibility" we have eight realities: Reality, Augmented Reality, Alternate Reality, Warped Reality, Virtuality, Augmented Virtualtiy, Physical Virtuality and Mirrored Virtuality. It is these realities that we are now seeing applied in digital signage. Last year we saw Augmented Reality and Virtuality integrated into DOOH deployments (My No. 8 2012 Trend). This year I expect a push on the envelope to further push into new areas of reality that will drive some spectacular new and different ways that brands reach into the digital world and play.

Look for even more different type of realities to be utilized in digital signage deployments.

10. SMB the core of Growth

Growth in the SMB market for digital signage has been an up-and-coming trend for many years. This year however the small and medium businesses are looking for competitive ways to help drive their businesses sales up with limited resources. Out of the predicted $1.4 billion U.S. digital signage market ($8B worldwide) it is expected that $697 million will be attributed to the SMB market. Eighty percent of SMBs are looking for technology solutions that deliver immediate payback in terms of minimum disruption of business continuity and seamless integration with existing solutions. Seventy-one percent of SMBs say they are willing to pay a premium for new solutions with a proven return on investment. I believe several factors will contribute to this: The cost of signage hardware is down again in 2013. Software is almost free. Analytics continue to prove the value in this space.

Look for more deployments in the SMB sector in retail and hospitality.

What do YOU think will be the top trends in 2013? Let us know in the comments below!

Keith Kelsen is the author of "Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage – Content Strategies for the 5th Screen." More information about the book and the book's companion website can be found at Follow him on Twitter @KKelsen.

Read more about digital signage trends.

Topics: Trends / Statistics

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