The power of a screen

Recently I started working with NOD, a digital signage company, helping to build out their content production services for their clients. The channel is very similar to social media except the audience is more focused. Instead of receiving content on personal devices, people are seeing content when they’re out in their community or at work.

I started to think about our fascination with screens. Why is this USD 20.74 Billion market growing so fast? Why do we have such an appetite to look at them? Is it that we’re simply attracted to the pretty colours?

We often think one screen is the same as another, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The way consumers behave in different digital environments is absolutely fascinating. More often than not it’s driven by the content.

For example, the average attention span for social media is around 8–10 seconds — because the speed we browse at is rapid. The average time spent on a website is 2–3 minutes. This shows an insight into the digital environment that we’re in.

Social media is fast and fluid with a mix of photos and videos… lots of videos. So as a user, if I’m not satisfied, I quickly flick to the next piece of content. Conversely, when I’m on a web page that I’ve intentionally visited, my expectation is to read and gather information — causing longer engagement times.

So how does this relate to digital signage?

From what I’ve seen, it’s about innovation and expectation. Innovation in looking at how the brand can utilise spaces to engage with their customers and employees. And an expectation that the world is increasingly moving to digital. So consumers expect to have digital signage that’s engaging andinteractive. Sadly though, it’s not always the case.

I’ve watched (with some amusement) a number of people walking up to digital signs in malls trying to interact with the content (swiping the screen etc.) And I think this is a lost opportunity, as I believe the user experience should lead the content.

What’s really awesome and not often realised, is the metrics that can be captured by digital signage. Through a combination of content monitoring and (anonymised) facial recognition, digital signs can now track the engagement levels of content.

Content should be measured, monitored then adjusted based on the data. Combine this with the metrics across social and web, and you can quickly see what content is giving the best performance — and where you should be focusing for future creative and campaigns.

A solid, screen strategy

Looking deeper into the digital signage arena, we start to see brands creating screen strategies — which is an emerging term from the retail space.

You’ll currently see this at the BNZ throughout New Zealand. Each branch has a number of screens that have been placed strategically throughout the space e.g:

  • an entertainment screen in a designated kids area (free from ads)
  • a screen designed to provide useful content while people are waiting in line
  • screens that display content solely aimed for BNZ Business Customers

Each screen runs individual content designed to make the branch experience more meaningful.

Multiple NOD screens display different content — making branch experiences more meaningful.

By providing interesting screen content while customers wait in line, people perceive improved wait times. It’s a simple idea, but it provides instant benefits.

Integrating digital signage and social media

Imagine your most popular Facebook ad automatically updating to your retail signage. Or, your most popular digital signage influencing the content you’re publishing on social media.

Integrated campaigns can now be based on the success of measured digital content, rather than the static billboards and posters of traditional media.

A screen strategy that connects your brand to the intentional thought of the content and placement is becoming more important. Much like a fluid social media strategy, it’s important that our approach to digital is focused on the customer and the opportunities to engage with them in meaningful ways.

It has to be more than a TV playing a looped video of your latest commercial. Think wider, deeper — and talk with your customers. The world of digital is a powerful advertising channel when it’s executed with intention.