What is the most representative way to measure the impact of a digital signage deployment?”
From my experience in the food and beverage industry, the best way to measure the impact of a digital signage deployment is to conduct a very controlled pilot of the program. For example, in a sports stadium, I would look at two sets of very similar (if not identical) concessions stands. When I say “similar,” this would mean that both sets of stands would have the same menu offerings, layouts and histories of traffic and transactions. The test would be conducted at the same time where both sets of stands would experience the same variables such as weather and events. Basing a test off of prior year versus the new program in the same stand(s) can be considered, however, the data would not be conclusive if the variables were too different. For example, if the test compared the stand on a beautiful spring day with a sold out baseball game in 2015, it would need to be identical in 2016 to gain conclusive results. This is nearly impossible to guarantee.
Another way to keep this as representative and controlled as possible is to simply test one single aspect of how the digital menu boards have impact. I’ve conducted this type of test in a major NFL stadium. I decided to test the impact of the animation on the digital menu boards with two similar sets of concessions stands. One included new digital menu boards with animated visuals of promoted combos such as a “Burger and Fries for $X.” The other set of concession stands included the same exact menu and visual layout, but featured purely traditional static menu boards.
The key to measuring impact is to be able to pull concise data. In this type of example, I had the capability to pull point-of-sale data consistently from both of the stands over several months to gain a good understanding of the impact of the digital animation versus the static imagery. The results revealed a dramatic increase in sales of the combos featured in the animated digital boards over the static boards. Since this data was as clean as possible, I was able to confidently communicate this data to my organization and partners as a reliable source in their decision-making process to deploy additional digital menu boards.