Ask the Board – December 16, 2019 | DR. ELIZABETH CORNELL


“What are some best practices in content creation to attract and connect with Millennials and Gen Z?”

It’s crucial that your campus’ digital signage content be tailored to reach Millennials (born between 1980-1994; aged 25-39 years) and Gen Z (born between 1995-2019; aged 0-24 years). Many Millennials hold faculty and administrative positions or attend graduate school. Most of the undergraduate student body is comprised of members of Gen Z. These populations share many similarities, but they also have some significant differences.

Here are three ways your digital signage can capture the attention of both groups:

  1. Keep messages simple and engaging

The attention span for Millennials is 12 seconds. For Gen Z, it’s eight. Your digital signage content needs to be scanned and absorbed in even less time – about six seconds! Millennials have been called the “Motion Generation.” No doubt, that’s a euphemism for “short attention span.” Save the details you’d like to cram into your OOH advertising for another channel such as your website. 

Simple doesn’t mean basic, however. Use humor. Incorporate eye-catching still images and video. Draw attention to screens with pictures of your students. Avoid messages that depict stereotypes. And make sure there’s a variety of types of messaging. 

Millennials and Gen Z use social media to connect not only with each other, but to engage with your school or organization. Add a social media feed to your screen that includes posts from your community. They’ll look at the screen to see their messages, and yours.

  1. Be authentic

Find a true, real story, and you’ll find your audience’s attention. Millennials and Gen Z really want to feel part of something. Fortunately, most of your students, faculty, and administrators already feel connected to your institution – that’s why they’re there. Their bonds with friends, colleagues, the location, and those special elements that make your institution unique, grow deeper every day. 

Therefore, your digital signage content should convey the stories, messages, and aspirations that reinforce how your population already feels about your institution, and it should nurture those feelings. Share success stories of individuals and groups. Post your team’s latest sports scores. Remind everyone about what sets your institution or organization apart. These kinds of messages may support student/employee retention (and, in the case of higher ed institutions, those future graduates are also your institution’s future donors).

  1. Reinforce

One advantage to digital signage content is that it can’t be skipped, blocked like a pop-up ad, or quickly scrolled past for other content. If you have multiple screens, your content will follow people around on campus, exposing them to the same information several times. Even so, it’s a good idea to spread messages across different channels, such as email, texts, the school website and mobile app, social media, and videos.

Associate hashtags with your messages, and use them with the school’s accounts on Instagram or Snapchat (these posts can also stream on your screens). Analog strategies, such as word of mouth via your key spokespeople and influencers, will also help get the word out and back up your digital signage content.




About Author

Director of Internal Communications
Fordham IT

End User Council

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