How do you avoid your content becoming “white noise?”
In order to answer this question, you have to first define “white noise.” Also called white sound, it is a steady, unvarying and unobtrusive sound, as an electronically produced drone or the sound of rain, used to mask or obliterate unwanted sounds.
Therefore, I might translate the question to say, “How do you keep your content from becoming unwanted, unnoticed and annoyingly redundant?”
Let’s solve each one at a time:
Keep your content from becoming unwanted by creating a content loop that is desirable by the audience. With the exception of the Super Bowl, no one wants to watch ads all the time, unless that ad is contextually relevant and valuable. So you better make sure there is other content in the playlist that engages your specific audience based on demographics, location, interests, context, time of day, etc. You could also build in your ads or sponsorship within the infotainment — “Local Sports Update brought to you by Nike.” Craft the content to your audience.
Keep your content from becoming unnoticed by making it look amazing. Hire someone who knows and understands the context of digital signage and has some experience. Bad typography, complex layouts, clip art and pixelated images/video are like a big sign screaming at your customers to look elsewhere. Make sure your content looks amazing.
Keep your screens from becoming annoyingly redundant by keeping the playlist fresh. A playlist can become redundant in two ways:
- The content begins to repeat during the audiences first time watching the playlist. This is why everyone talking about a playlist strategy will ask you what the dwell-time is — how long do people stand in front of the TVs, 10 seconds or two hours or somewhere in-between? It is possible to argue that ads can be repeated once or twice in that playlist during the dwell time (effective frequency) but it shouldn’t repeat the same news story or healthy living tip.
- The other way for content to be redundant is to have the same playlist playing the next time a viewer returns to your screen. I call this the “return-rate.” Again, the same principle for effective frequency for ads could be argued, but it definitely shouldn’t be playing the same infotainment content. Keep your playlist fresh.
In summary, make sure your content is fresh, tailored to your audience and looks amazing.