When It Comes to High-end Digital Signage, Content is King
It seems, almost daily, we are regaled by technological developments that promise our customers richer, more enhanced experiences. That’s definitely true in regards to digital signage. This technology has been shaking up retail for over a decade. Screens continue to get bigger, clearer, and more affordable. We have astonishing LEDs that span city blocks and 8K displays that stop us in our tracks with never-before-seen clarity and vividness.
While retailers are rightfully intrigued with this technology as a means to attract attention and provide customers with an improved shopping experience, fancy screens aren’t the primary driver in achieving differentiation. The content is.
Beautiful screens are only as good as what’s playing on them
I recently saw the latest 8K screens at a trade show in Las Vegas, and they were a show-stopping spectacle. Large crowds gathered around to witness brilliant videos of cityscapes and natural wonders. The problem is all this sizzling video was created specifically to display these screens at these shows. If you’re a retailer looking to deploy a fleet of gorgeous displays to wow customers, keep in mind that 4K and 8K content is in short supply–extremely short supply for 8K displays. In order for an 8K to shine, you need 8K content which likely means you’ll need a hefty budget for original content production.
As you consider investment in some new snazzy screens, remember the journey should start not with a purchase but a strategy—a keen attention to objectives, the content mix, and measurement. From there, evaluate the right hardware options and ensure you have budget for original content production. Shoppers are turned off today with stale content, so you must feed the beast.
Let’s quickly outline the best practices to creating the most effective digital signage content.
Great content starts with a solid strategy
The first step: Identify objectives
You need to define a measurable objective that the screen should achieve. This will help you measure success and give you an understanding of the ROI (which you may need to justify the purchase of an expensive piece of hardware). Examples of objectives include telling your brand story, incenting store visits with compelling offers, highlighting products to increase basket size, and providing entertainment to reduce perceived wait times. Whatever the objective, remember that every screen should have a purpose.
The second step: Develop a content strategy
After the objective of the screen is defined, it’s time to concoct your top-secret formula: the content strategy. The strategy is the guiding instrument for content creation. It outlines key factors like the mix of content types (educational, promotional, entertainment, etc.), playlist duration, measurable calls to action, and the frequency for refreshing content.
The third step: Create great content
Whether it’s from an in-house creative team or an outside creative agency, there are many avenues to creating great content. Most brands focus on content for the traditional touchpoints like broadcast, print, digital, and social media, and they plan to repurpose assets for the digital signage channel. Unfortunately, sometimes the available content doesn’t fulfill the objectives of the digital signage network or connect back to the content strategy. It’s imperative to factor in the digital signage component during the asset planning phase. That will ensure you capture images and videos in resolutions that will look the best on your screens, plus you can factor in other requirements like the runtime for your video clips.
The final step: Measure results
Based on step one, you’ve likely defined what success looks like. Now it’s time to dig in and see if your digital signage is delivering the results you hoped for. If so, great. Tweak elements of the content to see if you can further optimize your results. If you’re not yet meeting the success measures, closely evaluate the content and ensure it connects back to the strategy. If it does, you may need to revisit the strategy. Make sure the program isn’t self-serving; it needs to reduce friction and enrich the experience of your customers.
Today’s screens come a variety of shapes, sizes and resolutions. You’ve got HD, 4K, 8K, and beyond. The flash and bang that you get from these modern displays can be enticing. With clearly defined objectives and a robust content strategy in hand, you’re can intelligently select the right hardware for the job.
Contributed by Mason Page, EVP Strategic Business Planning for Reflect Systems, a Dallas-based provider of digital signage solutions.