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A Complete Guide to Digital Signage

A Complete Guide to Digital Signage

Digital out of home advertising is one of the fastest-growing segments of the marketing industry. Globally, advertisers are expected to spend over $4.1 billion on DOOH  in 2014 alone. The shift to digital signage presents a huge opportunity for advertisers.

Digital Online AdvertisingA Quick History of Digital Advertising

Digital advertising, also known as “online advertising,” originated around the early 1990s as the internet swept the public consciousness. The first clickable online ad was run in 1993 and by 2000, juggernaut Google had launched and today serves billions upon billions of search results a day. The advertising opportunities online were unparalleled.

After furious initial online spending, internet-based digital advertising spend leveled off and has declined slightly over the last few years as marketers increasingly look for more targeted, more measurable ways to engage with consumers. Enter: Digital Out of Home Advertising.

What is Digital Out of Home Advertising?

Digital out of home advertising (or “DOOH” as it’s known in the industry) is a broad category that includes various mediums and delivery methods, but the goal of digital signage advertising is always the same. Digital OOH is flexible, it’s cost effective, and it’s highly-engaging.

bar caddy with chargerHere are a few of the most common forms of digital out of home advertising seen today:

  • Digital billboard advertisements such as along highways and in urban areas
  • Public transportation ads such as subway banner ads
  • Kiosks displaying digital messaging placed in malls and public areas
  • Portable digital displays that serve a purpose such as charging phones or weather updates
  • Gas pumps with digital screens that offer specials and news

And those are just a few of the many, many ways advertisers are harnessing the power of digital signage content. If you’re looking at a digital display and you’re not in your home, you’re experiencing a digital out of home advertising medium.

The statistics surrounding this industry are staggering. Study after study proves that digital out of home advertising directly increases purchasing behavior, creates more captive audiences, and invites higher levels of recall weeks and even months down the road. The question isn’t whether digital OOH ads are effective, it’s how you can get involved.

Measuring the Effectiveness of DOOH Signage

Advertising is notoriously difficult to quantify. Words like “impressions” and “behavior” don’t mean much unless they’re backed by pure, hard data. DOOH advertising is relatively simple to measure compared to other more traditional mediums like radio, TV, and print.

What terms are commonly used to determine the effectiveness of a DOOH ad?

busy streetIMPRESSIONS: Impressions are a metric used in nearly every segment of advertising but they’re particularly important for DOOH since digital ads change frequently. Impressions are usually measured by the hour and the more impressions your ad gets, the better.

DWELL TIME: Dwell time, in a nutshell, is the amount of time the average ad viewer is expected to remain in the vicinity of the ad. It’s usually measured in minutes and varies widely among DOOH vehicles. A digital roadside billboard, for example, may have a dwell time of <1 minute while a Media Caddy tabletop display averages 52 minutes of dwell time.

RECALL: Recall is essentially a measurement of the effectiveness of an ad and it’s determined by a consumer’s ability to recall portions of the ad after a specified period of time. Digital placed based advertising has a high average recall, with 47% of people recalling some portion of the ad after a month’s time.

Where Digital Signage Really Shines

It’s important to remember that all digital advertising venues are not created equal. Some populations are more likely to notice and absorb digital signage and they’re also more effective in specific locations than others.

Indoor DOOH ads have the highest recall numbers, at around 63%. Retail digital signage venues include restaurants, bars, gyms, shopping malls, and even airports and physician waiting rooms.

Hovering around 25%, public transit DOOH ads have the lowest level of recall. Advertisers speculate this is because there are so many competing stimuli present and that people using public transit are usually preoccupied with stops, timing, and staying out of the way.

Young adults in the 18-24 age bracket are the most likely of any group to respond in some way to a DOOH ad. They’re the most mobile of any segment and advertisers are finding new ways all the time to entice them to engage with ads on the spot.

No matter where the ads are placed, consumers have a generally positive perception of DOOH. 78% of consumers say digital signage content is “attention grabbing” and a full 63% say it’s “entertaining.”

It’s true that with change comes pushback. In some communities, particularly historical ones, some people have fought back against the installation of digital out of home ads like billboards and banners because they say they’re incongruent with the theme of the area. There have even been a few cases of lawyers accusing digital OOH billboards of distracting drivers and causing accidents.

In general, the best digital out of home ads are in places people are already expecting to be advertised to. Advertising vehicles that can bridge the gap between entertainment and promotion are the holy grail of marketers, and DOOH solutions are getting close. Particularly in captive indoor arenas such as restaurants, consumers are really responding to well-thought-out retail digital signage.

It All Hinges on Digital Signage Content

With new opportunities in digital marketing mediums come increased options for advertising content. It’s no longer enough to purchase a glossy stock photo and slap together a slogan. The digital signage network of today is often looped and it requires advertisers to think specifically about what message they’re sending with their digital ads.

Infotainment:
Smart advertisers are realizing the value of “infotainment” which is broadcast material with the common goal of entertaining and informing. Consumers don’t mind being advertised to as long as they’re getting something useful and being able to get news updates, weather reports, and purchasing information will keep them engaged for longer.

Branded Ads:
Interspersed within a good digital signage network is branded advertising. These can include anything from local ads to point-of-purchase specials to national branded promotions but this type of content should never stand alone. DOOH advertising is most effective with a blend of marketing, infotainment, and other engaging content.

White Label Media Channels:
There’s a whole cottage industry devoted to creating and producing white label media content for DOOH vehicles. Companies sell this content to brands who can repurpose it as their own or mix in their own ads to flesh it out. If you’ve ever watched a closed-loop TV station in a doctor’s office you’ve probably experienced a white label media channel.

Who Should be Using Digital Signage Advertising?

Digital out of home advertising is one of the most flexible types of advertising in the business. Since DOOH is adaptable and often manageable right from a customized interface it’s a great choice for small business owners.

beerHere’s a short list of the kinds of advertisers who are well-suited for the benefits and high-tech flexibility of digital signage advertising:

  • Consumer brands
  • Hospitality industry
  • Restaurants, bars, and sports bars
  • Service providers (lawyers, personal trainers, accountants)
  • Charities and philanthropies
  • Sports marketers
  • Food and beverage brands
  • Transportation and taxi services

…Just to name a few. Of course, different geographic areas, different sales cycles, and different target markets all require special consideration. The good news is, DOOH advertising is one of the most niche-oriented mediums in the world which makes it a smart choice for lots of different brands and businesses.

Getting Started with Digital Signage Advertising

Digital signage can land you customers. It can raise your revenue and give you a huge ROI but it’s only as good as the ad you put out. Consider the ways you want consumers to absorb and engage with your ad and what you want them to do with the information. Do you want them to buy your product right now? Should they text your brand to get coupons?

Knowing your goals is crucial to the success of your marketing campaign, as is knowing your customers. Digital advertising is one of the least expensive ways to market your business and it’s available locally and nationally, too. Whether you want placement on a Media Caddy advertising channel for only pennies a day or you need an interactive display in a major international airport, DOOH is a smart move to make for the health of your business.

Digital signage is the wave of the future. Are you ready?