Ask the Board – April 3, 2018 | STEVE GLANCEY


What is the future of data-driven content?

Here are two aspects to the future of data-driven content to consider:

  1. The first being the value of the data for the audience (do they care?) and, therefore, the value to the digital signage network owner (ROO/ROI). 
  2. The second would be the easeof accessing and creating amazing visual representations of that data in an automated way.  

As more and more data gets tracked, there will certainly become more and more options for data to be displayed. However, at some point, there will be diminishing returns of value piping more and more data into digital signage content. 

Here are a couple of examples of diminishing value:

  1. Take KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for business communications. The very name denotes the fact that there are “KEY” performance metrics that are mostvaluable to display while others are not. “Number and size of active leads”, “pipeline close rates” and “revenue per sale” obviously make a big impact on a company. Theoretically, new data could be piped in such as kilowatts of electricity used by the company per day. That data could be argued as compelling content for those green conscious companies/customers. But, one could easily argue the value of this information is far lower as compared to displaying a company’s KPIs assuming both can’t be on the screen at the same time or rotated. In other words, every company wants KPIs, but only a small few would see their carbon footprint as a KPI. The additional data is less valuable. 
  2. Another example could be piping in data for the wait times at nearby drive-thrus like McDonald’s (yes, companies are tracking that now). Theoretically, someone could run a billboard ad advertising a “no-wait-time” drive-thru at McDonalds–Exit now for a Big Mac in less than 90 seconds. Personally though, my decision to get a Big Mac has far less to do with waiting 90 vs. 360 seconds and more to do with balancing my calorie intake with that addictive sauce they put on those stupid burgers. The new data option, in this case, isn’t all that valuable.

Point being, more data doesn’t equal more value for the audience or the network owner/advertiser like McDonald’s hoping to see a sales lift. 

Ingesting data and piping that into a beautiful design isn’t something you can assign to your administrative assistant as a to-do by the end of the week. Designers, developers, project managers doing the work and executive teams analyzing/approving the budget traditionally have to get involved when building out the templates/support for such a project. Geckoboard – in the case of displaying KPIs and my company (Screenfeed) – in the case of general interest data (news, sports, social media, financial etc.) – are two examples of companies looking to make this automated data easy to pull in and display in a beautiful way that helps side-step a lot of human capital opportunity cost for such a project. These companies and others will continue to make the process easier to pull in additional valuable data sources, license them (if licensing is required for commercial use) and deliver them in a beautiful way for Digital Signage networks. 

There is scale that can happen here when a network considers the advantages of outsourcing aspects of data-driven content creation. That said, needs and business objectives will be network specific so consider the option of keeping things in-house or leveraging some features inside of your digital signage software such as an app-store or template, or even using a custom creative agency like OpenEye Global or Freshwater working in the industry. 

In summary, don’t just add more data for the sake of adding more data if it isn’t valuable, and research your options for working with a partner in industry, with experience, to make the data visualization easy and effective in reaching your ROO/ROI.   

About Author

Vice President, Business Development
Screenfeed Content

Content Council

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