COMMENTARY

2 keys to digital signage engagement

| by Ellyce Kelly
2 keys to digital signage engagement

This is part one of a two part series analyzing digital signage engagement

"Attention is a precious commodity," says digital analyst and author Brian Solis, and this is especially true when considering digital signage and your audience. People are moving through your facility on their way somewhere, for some purpose other than looking at your digital signs. You have to make them look, get them to slow down and pay attention, care about your message and take an action, all in the space of about seven seconds. No matter how robust your digital signage software is, if you don't understand engagement, you're wasting your efforts. Here are a few tips and tricks to help with digital signage engagement.

Make them look

The first step is attracting attention. If your viewers don’t look at the screens, you’ve missed an opportunity to engage them. Use attractors to make sure your audience is always interested in what’s on your screens.

Show something new

We all walk by that poster from six months ago without noticing it, and it’s no different with digital signs. People will look for new information, and if they don’t see it each time they tune in, they’ll eventually tune out, possibly permanently.

Change layouts frequently

Moving things around on screen is a great way to catch the eye of passers-by. This is especially important if you have a standard playlist of messages that stays up for a day or two. Even though the content isn't changing, moving it around on screen can trick viewers into believing they're seeing something new so they pay attention.

Include visual hooks

Help your audience by giving them timely, relevant data on screens that they care about. As they become more reliant on your digital signs for this information, they'll tune in more frequently to see these items, so they’ll see your other announcements as well:

  • Current time
  • Day and date
  • Weather (current and forecast)
  • News headlines
  • Countdowns
  • Social media feeds
  • Use auto-updating content

These are messages or tickers that, after a one-time set up, update all on their own. This is great for your communications team, because it alleviates the burden of having to create these messages one-at-a-time every day. It's engaging for viewers, because they always get the most current information on screens:

  • Event schedules
  • Webpages
  • SharePoint
  • Excel and XML data
  • RSS feeds
  • Curated content subscriptions
  • All items in the visual hooks list above

Make them think

Like all advertising, communications is about getting the right message to the right person at the right time. Also like advertising, a series of consistent communications works better than one-off messages. You need to think about who, how and where you want to engage your audience:

Launch campaigns

If you use a single message design to communicate something — no matter how few times you show it — it will become stale and viewers will tune out. Also, different people are attracted to different designs, so you want to use campaigns (the same message delivered in different forms) over a sustained period of time for message saturation.

Think long-tail

Long-tail theory says that around half your audience will respond quickly, but the other half will need more time to get around to taking your call to action. So, you need to start messaging early and use long-tail campaigns. Use teasers to peak interest before you launch your campaign, and try to tell a story to engage viewers, so they’ll want to see what comes next.

If you're advertising an event, start at least two weeks before the event to give people time to see the message, decide to attend and take the next step (get details, purchase tickets, invite friends, etc.). And the same can be said for benefits enrollment, charity drives – anything that has a defined time period.

Deliver on target

Consider the type of audience you're appealing to, where they are and when they'll be there. You don't want to deliver your most important messages during off hours, and you don't want to show announcements for faculty to students who don't need them:

  • Define audience demographics and interest
  • Choose locations (geographical or individual screens)
  • Plan around traffic flows
  • Reinforce your message

It's highly unlikely that you'll use only digital signage for communications. You'll want to coordinate your campaigns across all channels — screens, websites, intranets, social media and print — to be sure you're consistent. This also helps with message saturation — people will see your communications in different places, which is reinforcing.

Stay tuned for part two next week, where we will discuss how you can make customers linger and act.

Image via Istock.com.


Topics: Audience Measurement, Content, Content Management

Companies: Visix Inc.


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