Marketing Considerations for Digital Signage
Digital signage is a relatively new advertising medium that plays by completely different rules than ads before it. While mediums like sign painting, posters, window decals and colorful menus have been around for over a century, digital signage offers a host of new opportunities. Leveraging the advantages of digital signs — their immediacy, their dynamism, their eye-catching backlit colors — can lead to more engaging and convincing marketing messages than ever before.
The only key to unlocking all this potential is following marketing best practices for digital signage. Master the medium, bring in more revenue and engage your audience like never before using these digital signage do’s and don’ts:
Don’t Overload, Remember to K.I.S.S.
Some of the most effective ads are also some of the most direct, simple and subtle. Consider this humorous video from around the time that the iPod second gen version was created. Sure, the whole thing is a gag, but it illustrates the tendency for marketing goals to override common sense aspects of design clarity.
Put another way, never overstuff your digital sign slides. They should be highly readable up close and from a few feet back. They should also have a balanced, appealing look from several feet back, so zoom out on your slide designs to see if the look clear or messy from this distance. Not all elements will be readable, but this distant view can allow you to assess your composition choices as a whole.
File this design philosophy under K.I.S.S., or Keep It Simple, Silly! Dense ideas or messages can be split up into new digital sign slides, after all, so always go for more slides and less content per slide when faced with the decision.
Every Slide Has a Purpose
For traditional ads, the “call to action” (CTA) is the primary focus. At the end of the ad, all elements become secondary to the one action the viewer is strongly urged to take next.
While many of your slides will have a CTA, others will serve a different purpose. Some may be there to brand, others to entertain, and still others to inform in a way that adds value to the viewing experience. No matter what the purpose is, it should be clear and distinct, similar to the message about visual simplicity above. Test your slides with a variety of market demographics and see if they can sum up the effect in just a few words. If not, you may need to hone in on clarity and specificity, especially when an actual CTA is being used.
Remember That Color Compels
Take a look at this 3D background image and notice how the tentacles of the anemone seem to jump right off the screen. This effect occurs from backlighting, the neon tubes lined up behind the LCD pixel grid to make everything bright and visible.
Digital signage can have the same effect, and it has the power to enhance vivid primary and neon colors, making them stand out from many feet away. Take advantage of this power by using deep, bright colors in your digital sign images. Just imagine a tropical scene full of striking green hues encouraging restaurant patrons to try the new line of blended tropical drinks. A colorful salad can likewise send across beautiful images rich with ripe, colorful vegetables to lift sales on certain menu items.
Always consider how color and contrast can enhance the appeal and engagement of your slides as a whole.
Motion Motivates, Too!
Just like bright colors, subtle use of motion in digital signage can draw people in. Envision the following: a frothy head of beer delicately spilling over the side of a glass after a generous pour from the tap; a plate full of nachos with one chip being lifted, stretching a line of goopy melted cheese; and plates full of steaming red hot wings. Images like these evoke hunger and thirst on a subconscious level, motivating people to order even if they weren’t quite in the mood beforehand.
Other moving images, like a table full of happy customers receiving their food, connect with audiences on a pleasure-seeking level, impelling them to think, “That can be me!”
Once again, balance is key with the use of motion. Try not to overload your audience with too busy of slides or too many moving slides in a row. Instead, have one to two in the group that serve as a “video clip,” a handful more that show more isolated motion — like a bubbling beer or steamy burger — and around half that are completely static. Too much motion can oversaturate the senses, but a few still slides followed by moving ones draw in curiosity.
Keep It All Fresh
Anyone who works in a restaurant should remember FIFO — first in, first out. This principle prevents items from expiring by replacing or using up items that were the oldest first. The same idea applies to digital signage campaigns, where elements that are repeated for too long can become stale, lose effectiveness and fade into the background.
Instead, keep changing your content with new slides. Temporary promotions, recent news or sports scores and announcements can all keep a portion of your slides up-to-the-minute. Others should be retired after a few months or a year. That way, regulars won’t get sick of seeing the same slides endlessly.
Make a Connection
Humor, tips, information and trivia questions all engage audiences and keep them paying attention to digital signage while adding variety to the messages that are marketing-focused. Try to mix in elements like these as a way of offering value in the midst of advertising.
No Comic Sans!!
Just, please, don’t do it! It looks like a fifth grader made a flyer. Spare your audience and your brand image at the same time.
Find the Perfect Location to Exhibit Best Practices for Digital Signage
The optimal location for digital signage is a central place that is highly visible and where people will be captive viewers for several minutes at a time. Placing digital signs near the waiting area can fulfill these goals, but having a digital sign on a Bar Caddy ensures that your audience is never more than a few feet away. They also linger long enough to get the full effect of all or most of the slides.
Learn more about the power of digital signage and how Media Caddy can provide the perfect, flexible solution by taking a look at our digital signage Bar Caddy products.