What is the sequence of events that needs to take place for one screen to become a functional network?
To have a network start from a single screen or location, there are a number of factors that come into play, and while most of them are in your control, there are a few factors that need to work in your favor. Below, I’ve outlined a few of the key points we took into account when launching our primary network.
Location – It may seem trivial, but location is a key factor for a network. Anyone can hang a TV, light it up and call it a success. The real success is customer engagement and longevity. When selecting a venue/monitor placement, we look for convenience. Digital signage needs to be easy to find since it is an addition to someone’s visit, and not the reason.
Technology – The sure failure of any network is a dark screen. Most flat panels today will last for a respectable lifetime and failures on our network are usually associated with the player or video components. This is kind of like buying an engine that’s too big for a car, and getting a player with more horsepower than you need today will save you in the long run and eliminate downtime. Also, to minimize downtime, we rely on remote monitoring and alerts. This lets us be proactive rather than reactive with network issues.
Content – So you have a great location, and your technology is rock solid. Now you have to provide content that will keep people coming back to your screen or catch their attention in a short time span. The type of clientele and dwell time will determine your content. While a lot of flashy material may look good to you, limit the content to the most pertinent if people are just passing by your screen. Make people remember you, and they will return.
Customer Satisfaction – When you think you have everything in order, gauge the level of your clients’ satisfaction along with the viewers. A lot of our clients love what we create and all the pieces of our network only to find the end user, the viewer, is tuned out. Just because the venue likes it doesn’t mean it’s a success. Take exit interviews, or monitor customers to help perfect your content.
Consistent Revenue – Can you make money? If you are installing an advertising network, and fronting the hardware or paying back the venue via revenue share, the advertising has to work. We were approached to sell advertising on a 2,000-location network. Sounds tempting since the screens were in place and the programming cemented, but it was a bad venue with little to no viewer interaction. Here is a company that just installed more than 4,000 screens and had no idea how to make money. Advertisers do not come running just because you have locations installed. Know your demographics and dwell time before rolling out.
If you have a venue for a large rollout, test the system with the above criteria before full engagement. You will learn a lot and have a more effective profitable network in the end.