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The 5 Stages of the Digital Signage Journey

March 10, 2022
5 mins

Digital signage reaches 135 million people a week, granting a recall rate of 83%.

The numbers don’t lie - digital signage is changing the game when it comes to advertising, marketing, retail, restaurants, and even how people communicate in schools or in the office.

Implementing digital signage into your business or organization can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. By following these five stages of the digital signage journey, you'll be ready to implement digital signage into your business in no time.

1. Planning

Goals & Objectives

The first thing you want to do before anything else when creating a digital signage strategy is to figure out what you want to accomplish.

Starting first with content goals and objectives is important because they can help drive hardware and software decisions to make sure that you are purchasing the right components that will perform well without unnecessary expenses.

Some common goals that companies set out to achieve with digital signage include:

Increasing Brand Awareness

A great way to increase brand awareness with digital signage is to pull in content from social media feeds or display reviews.

People love to be acknowledged, so they’re more likely to interact and engage with your brand if they know they have an opportunity to be featured.

Improving Internal Communication

Using digital signage in the office is a great tool to improve internal communication.

Organizations and institutions have used digital signage for meeting room scheduling, featuring employees, and visualizing data like key organizational metrics.

The possibilities of what you’re able to do with digital signage in the office are endless.

Upselling and Cross-selling

Utilizing digital signage makes it simple to implement cross-selling or upselling techniques in any industry. The content on your digital signage can be updated as often as you want, making it simple to run limited-time offers.

Make eye-catching graphics and use your digital signage to show off things like sales and special promotions.

Engaging Customers

Engaging your customers is easy with interactive digital signage.

Your customer engagement will go through the roof by integrating tools like RSS feeds for real-time updates, pulling in social media feeds, and deploying interactive digital signage either with a touchscreen or external IOT sensors.

Interactive and dynamic digital signage is changing how customers interact with brands around the world.

Now that you have decided what direction and outcomes you want from your digital signage, it’s time to get the hardware and software needed to support your goals.

Hardware

Your digital signage goals and outcomes will play a key role in determining what type of setup you need to achieve those objectives.

68% of Americans have bought a product or service at least once due to the influence of digital signage, so it’s worth it to carve out some time to explore your options.

Media Players

To run digital signage, you need a media player. These portable computers receive, store, and deliver digital content and are connected to the content management system (CMS) and display.

Media players can be internal players within the display itself (typically commercial-grade displays) or external small form factor devices that can be connected to any display, monitor, or TV via an HDMI cable.

Important factors to consider when selecting the right media player are: cost, reliability, and performance (based on the content you plan on running).  If it is only basic loops, a cheaper media player might be fine. Alternatively, the more complex the content, the more advanced media player you will need.

It’s essentially the heart of your digital signage network.

Screens & Monitors

The most common route for broadcasting your digital signage is through an LED or LCD screen, but depending on your predetermined outcome, you might want to consider a video wall, projector, or a plasma screen.

Because the quality of your display affects your digital signage success, investing in a high-quality LCD or OLED screen would be ideal.

Here are some recommended options:

Digital Signage Mounts

The final piece you need in your hardware ecosystem is the correct mount to place your screen either on a desk, wall, ceiling, or even the side of a building. 

Having a mount with extra durability or allowing a professional to install the mount is a great idea. The last thing you want to happen is to have your amazing display fall apart due to improper mounting.

Here are a couple of recommendations:

Software

You have your strategy in place, and you've chosen your hardware, now is the time to determine what software you're going to use to achieve your goals.

Software controls what is displayed on-screen at any given time by distributing content to signage hardware.

Choosing software that matches your content needs is crucial. If you're planning to create interactive content or integrate a specific data source, make sure it allows you to do that.

Content complexity and content management are also essential factors to consider.

If you need to easily edit content, automate the process, or utilize dynamic data and content layers, ask how the specific software can do that.

Free Software

There are a few options out there to create free digital signage. PowerPoint, Google Slides, and Canva are the most common free options for this purpose.

Using free digital signage software is great because it’s free, but there are numerous limitations to utilizing one of these tools.

  • Lack of support: Microsoft and Google aren’t digital signage companies, so if you’re running into an issue or want to do something a little different, you will have to search the internet for answers.
  • Compatibility issues: If you’re using free software, chances are, it wasn’t created specifically for digital signage purposes. That’s why you’re likely to run into compatibility issues when using different file types or data sources.
  • No remote management or scheduling capabilities Free digital signage software is impossible to use to scale your digital signage network as it lacks critical content management features.

Loop Players

Loop players are CMS products that allow for remote management and ability to playback simple media like full screen images and videos.

However, they lack all of the advanced functionality of the premium software which ultimately delivers value in the form of more dynamic content and content management automation features.

Premium Software

Premium digital signage software is a specialized program designed specifically to create, distribute, and manage digital signs. Some features of premium digital signage software include:

  • Built-in content editor: This enables you to create content inside your signage software rather than having to bring it in from an outside source. Keeping everything in one place helps streamline your process and keep your content fresh.
  • Interactivity capability: Premium digital signage software allows you to leverage the power of Interactive digital content to attract more leads and grow your audience.
  • Data integration tools: Pulling data from integrated sources like Google Sheets, XML, SharePoint, JSON, and iCal is a great way to showcase KPIs and keep your signage fresh and engaging.
  • Cloud-based software for content management and scheduling: We live in the age of the cloud where managing your content from anywhere is the norm. Choosing cloud-based software is excellent if you're managing multiple locations and have a large team.
  • Enterprise-grade security and role permissioning: Seamlessly scale your digital signage network as you grow with granular access control.

Choosing an all-in-one, end-to-end solution for your digital signage like Wallboard is the best route.

You’re never left trying to figure out how to do something, with someone ready to help you at all times.

2. Deployment

Now that you’ve planned out the basics of your digital signage strategy, it’s time to set up your network. The deployment step is about setting up the canvas before you start painting.

Ensuring your new digital signage environment is set up correctly, and everything is working is an essential step before you start creating your content.

Depending on the complexity of the digital signage network being deployed, it is important to pick the right AV integrator or digital signage installer with experience deploying digital signage.  If you don't know, ask the hardware/software vendors for references/options.

Knowing how to use your hardware and software may seem silly to mention, but they’re key players in your digital signage journey. Ensure you know how to turn on your hardware, connect it all, and ensure that whoever set it up for you shows you the right way.

Your software will be your best friend during your digital signage journey, so it is crucial to know how it all works, how it communicates with the hardware, and how to edit and create your signage.

3. Content Creation

The next stage in your digital signage journey is to create your content.

It’s time to dig into the details to support your overall goals and objectives from stage one. Are you going to use templates or start from a blank slate? What data will you integrate if you choose to do so? Who is going to create the initial content? What’s the focus of your content?

There are two types of content that people utilize for their digital signage.

Static Content

Static digital signage is everything you set up and leave running without having to change it manually.

Common types of static signage:

If the content can run on its own without needing updates, data integrations, or much maintenance, the chances are that you’re dealing with static digital signage.

Dynamic Content

Interactive Digital Signage in Mall

Dynamic digital signage displays content that changes in response to a predetermined condition. Dynamic content is often able to be interacted with and elicits a response.

Common types of dynamic signage:

Examples of dynamic content include wayfinding and integrating social media feeds.

Best Practices

You don’t need a degree in graphic design to create great-looking content. There are a few best practices to follow when creating great digital signage content.

  1. Align your designs to your brand: Stick to your branding guidelines when creating digital signage. You want your content to be recognizable and easily identifiable – especially if you want your customers to engage more with your brand.
  2. Experiment with different designs: While still staying true to your brand, don’t be afraid to experiment with bold designs and bright colors. Remember that digital signage is easy to change, so swap out the text and colors if they’re not working. Ensure that your font is still legible and can be seen from 5-10 feet away. Your graphics should be eye-catching, crisp, and clear.
  3. Keep it simple: Keep your copy short and simple. If you include a call-to-action, make sure that you make it clear and concise. Tell your customers and visitors exactly what you want them to do. 

4. Content Management

Automation

Automation is a great tool to keep in your toolbelt when managing your content.

Automating your content allows you to push new content to different locations, at different times, without having to do it yourself manually.

Automation also helps keep your messaging consistent and fresh. Some ways to automate your content include:

  • Scheduling new content
  • RSS feeds
  • Data integration from programs like Google Sheets, iCal, and Microsoft SharePoint.

Content Freshness

If you have forgotten what is on your digital signage in the lobby, the chances are that your guests have as well. Keeping your content fresh is simple and an often overlooked step in a digital signage strategy.

By regularly changing your content, you will keep your audience coming back for more.

There is more to content management than just ensuring that your digital signage is working.

  • Clearly define roles for your team: Having clearly defined roles and responsibilities for your team will help alleviate any confusion and prevent things from slipping through the cracks. Decide who is responsible for what content, who will update the content, and when to refresh it.
  • Leverage user-generated content: You can use automation to keep that content updated by integrating data or social media feeds. Utilizing user-generated content from social media is also a great way to freshen up your content.
  • Keep it organized: Have efficient and straightforward naming conventions if you have more than one digital signage player. Ensure that your files and images are appropriately named for easy sorting and organizing. Creating a content guide to keep branding and content consistent across all channels is a great idea to streamline the content creation process.

5. Reporting & Analytics

You've made it through four stages of your digital signage journey, and now it's time to continue to evolve and adjust using reporting and analytics tools provided by your CMS.

Don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy based on the findings of your analytics analysis. Asking for feedback from customers and consumers is also a great way to modify your strategy.

Some digital signage KPIs to track are:

  • ROI: Tracking your ROI is important to ensure the optimal performance of your digital signage strategy.
  • Screen traffic: If your screens are in a retail establishment or used for advertising, tracking how many people pass by your screens is a great metric. Knowing when high traffic times are will help you understand what content to put on your screens.
  • Impressions: Measuring impressions is a great way to know how many people have seen your digital signage. 

Digital signage is all about the evolution of technology and the evolution of your content.

One of the greatest benefits of utilizing digital signage is updating, adjusting, and evolving in a simple manner versus traditional signage.

The Wrap Up

After reading through this, you may feel overwhelmed and a little lost; that's okay. Wallboard’s digital signage software is an end-to-end solution to fit all of your needs.

Our incredible team is dedicated to pushing the envelope when it comes to digital signage capabilities.

Get started with Wallboard today, and we'll walk you through a demo of how we can make your signage dreams come true.

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