Ask the Board – July 30, 2018 | DAVE DOLEJSI


“Explore best practices in playlist size: What’s the optimal number of messages for audiences? There is no one size-fits-all solution, so how are system owners handling this?”

Long answer?  System owners aren’t…

Here is a scenario I have repeatedly experienced. A client has invested in the technology, the hardware, the infrastructure,  integration and finally the content. All of this is 90 percent of a successful digital signage network. That last 10 percent,  however, can render the other 90 percent redundant if not effectively planned and executed.

That last 10 percent is the playlist. Without proper strategy and planning around it, that fantastic content will never reach the intended audience. So how can you develop a successful playlist strategy when every DOOH network is different? Tackle the basic components and variables that need to be considered when distributing content: architecture, audience, brands, regions, zones, hyper-local, promotional, triggered, data, day-parts and languages.

Sound overwhelming? Depending on the number of variables and the size of your network, it could be. There is real value in enlisting the services of an expert in content and playlist strategy to help you and your agency partners to figure it all out—especially considering that most end-users do not have the resources to assign this task in-house. 

Architecture is also an important consideration, as you want to build a system through your Content Management System (CMS) that will allow for easy upload and near-automatic dissemination of content to the proper playlists according to the filters and triggers you have set in place. This architecture is based on all of the variables listed above. This is critical as a sound architecture and proper file-naming convention can take hours off of the time spent in content management. It will also ensure the right content is getting where it needs to go so it will be seen by the audience you intended to see it.

Yes, you can push a standard playlist to all of your endpoints, but in a national network, how does that serve the audience? What good is a snow tire ad if it is seen in Arizona? Why force English language content on a predominantly Spanish-speaking clientele? Why wouldn’t you use data to determine that a financial institution’s platinum credit card, is only of value and relevance to customers of a certain economic demographic who reside in specific regions or neighborhoods? In other words, why waste your valuable playlist space on content that isn’t right for the audience in a specific endpoint?

This is what playlisting is all about. Once all of this is considered, then comes the next rule: Playlisting, like content strategy, is evolutionary in nature. No one gets it perfect out of the gate. It needs to be evaluated, and improved upon based on learning over time for that specific network and business operation. Feedback from customers, store employees and the results of testing and data must all be considered, weighed and the strategy revisited to really achieve results. 

This is all a lot of work. It is a lot of work that in the end will generate stronger results, and actually eliminate costs, creating a savings both in time and money.


About Author

Associate Vice President – Content Strategy
St. Joseph Communications

Content Council

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