Ask the Board – July 30, 2018 | JIM NISTA


“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?”

At Insteo, we build a fair amount of informational signage like menus, directories, corporate communications, wayfinding and other interactive screens. Many of these screens don’t have a playlist at all, especially directories and menus. It annoys viewers when the item they were looking at changes suddenly, so we encourage using a ticker or small image zone if there’s content that must change frequently. On those screens, we talk overall decision time. For example, when a client wants to include promotional ads on their menu board, we remind them to keep the loop of ads to 30-40 seconds, or three to four images max. Less is more in these situations, and ensuring customers see these messages allows for better A/B testing.

For “digital bulletin boards” such as corporate, resident or student communications, we recommend keeping the overall playlist under five minutes.  We prefer shorter playlists, but there’s a tradeoff for these screens because the same viewer sees them multiple times a day. A slightly longer playlist helps guarantee the screens seem fresh during the five to seven average times that viewer will see the screen each week.

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