When executed properly and in the right context, digital signage can leverage sticky content to inform, inspire and motivate. It provides a concrete reason for viewers to return their glances again and again.
What is sticky content? The term comes from Internet lingo. It refers to content added to a website that has the purpose of getting users to return to that particular website and hold their attention longer than just a glance. This is why we commonly see such things as Internet games, weather, news and horoscopes on personalized Web portals.
There's no question that the traits of sticky content can also be useful with many digital signage applications. As many longtime operators of digital signage systems and networks will tell you, advertising loops are not very "sticky" when removed from the context of point-of-sale locations. After all, how many of us flop in front of the television and flip on the "advertising channel" for late night entertainment?
The question we explore today is how this principle of sticky content can be applied to digital signage, and because content matters, what is likely the best sticky content differs when using digital signage in point-of-wait and point-of-transit locations. It's important to know and distinguish the psychological differences between viewers' attention spans and perceptions in all three possible contexts of digital signage, POS, POW and POT. If you need to brush up on content guidelines quickly, the Digital Sign Content Best Practices guide from the University of Michigan should help you.
Basically, sticky content is about piggybacking existing content onto another medium to yield a greater value. For example, NASA scientists are considering a plan to piggyback future astronauts on — or even inside — asteroids orbiting between Earth and Mars to shield them from cancer-causing space radiation during trips between the planets.
While the proposal has some disadvantages, it offers the space agency an appealing, elegant way to sidestep problems like building a rocket big enough to boost heavy, man-made shielding into space as part of the spacecraft.
The plan draws on an ancient concept: Piggyback on — or inside — a more powerful object to get to a desired destination. Whether it's buckling up in our cars, riding an elephant into battle after traversing the Alps, or climbing into a hollow wooden horse and being rolled up to the gates of Troy, the concept of piggybacking has a track record of success.
In the world of digital signage, sticky content piggybacks on your message and plays an important role in yielding a greater viewer value because it delivers something people generally want — to be entertained. Nothing can really do this better than television.
Just as television can inform, motivate and inspire its audience to take action, so too can it enhance your digital signage message. Simply throwing a TV channel on a digital display doesn't automatically leverage the public's love affair with TV. However, when executed properly within the agenda of a communication strategy with measureable goals, digital signage content that embraces television can piggyback on its stature in our society to cut through the noise and deliver powerful messages to customers that otherwise might be ignored.
Of course there are both technical and legal challenges that make it imperative to work with professional providers who can properly set up systems, support installations and create branded playlists with an appropriate mix of content — in other words, providers who are accountable for obtaining results. And fortunately, with today's digital signage advances, this is much easier than traveling to Mars.
David serves as Keywest Technologys director of marketing and has a background in emerging digital technologies, working for more than a decade as an electronic field engineer with digital video equipment manufacturers before joining Keywest Technology.