Ask the Board – January 3, 2017 | LYLE BUNN


What do you find is the most effective and accurate way of measuring dwell time?”

Managing dwell time or perceived wait time is so very important to a quality customer experience, and measuring it is a key step toward improvement. But measuring must provide actionable insights.

The analogue approach at student or part-time worker cost is simply to have someone observe with stopwatch at the ready. This is also a way to capture viewer reaction, and intercept interviews can be useful in gaining other metrics (such as brand perception and recall) toward content optimization. Interviews are especially valuable in capturing perceived waiting time. By asking the patron how long they think they waited and comparing this to observer stopwatch reading, the value of the digital signage in reducing perceived wait time is established. Data entry and analysis tools are required so the economy of this approach can be quickly lost. Digital signage typically reduces perceived wait time by 40 percent when the content is relevant.

Security cameras or webcam views offers more data. Anonymous Viewer Analytics (AVA) can capture presence (people in the vicinity), notice (those whose eyes turn to the display) and dwell (viewing duration at the display) and can link this data to the content spot playing at the time. Data capture over a longer period will suggest not just what content spots capture and hold attention, but how this applies in different day parts. The additional AVA data points of gender, age range and ethnicity of the viewer offer insights to better audience targeting. 

Measuring dwell time is the first step toward providing a better customer experience in areas where waiting is common, and where digital signage cannot just reduce perceived waiting time, but can add value to that waiting through branding, educational or promotional messages.

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Advisor, Analyst, Educator

Industry Consultants Council

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