Ask the Board – July 30, 2018 | JONATHAN DODGE


“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?”

Setting the playlist and determining the optimal number of messages for a particular audience is one of the most challenging aspects of digital signage content. First, you must assess your objectives and strategize your content plan and delivery. For example, here are a few scenarios and what we recommend.

Example 1

Client – Retail

Location – Entrances

Objective – Increase sales and promote awareness for the top three items per week

Audience – Weekly big-basket shoppers

Example 2

Client – Museum

Location – Exhibit

Objective – Educate visitors about a specific exhibit

Audience – Museum visitors

The four minimum factors to consider are industry, location, objective, and the end user or audience. After you’ve addressed these factors, you can implement a specific strategy. In retail, you’ll want to consider how often customers are shopping at your store, how long the dwell time is in front of the digital display and the general demographic information. After you’ve assessed these factors, the content is created based on dwell time and the three top items objective. The playlist would have to then include a minimum of three quick messages that are engaging and that address the top three items within the dwell time.

Another aspect of the playlist is to include non-promotional items that don’t overwhelm customers and keep them engaged with local and relevant information.. With all these factors included, a playlist should be at least four messages long and be updated weekly with the available promotions. This will keep the audience engaged and informed while helping meet the objective.

In the museum example, the same four factors will need to be considered. Museums typically have a longer dwell time and can keep their audience engaged for longer periods of time. This playlist recommendation could have one long informational video that explains the exhibit. This playlist could be updated less frequently as returning visitors are not as often for this industry. However, the dwell time should be factored into the content for how often the playlist should repeat.

The Process

Overall, the process is contingent on your audience and specific information pertaining to client objectives. Below is a quick overview of how we initially approach a new digital signage project and organize the playlist.

Step 1 – Industry considerations

Step 2 – Audience

Step 3 – Objectives

Step 4 -Hardware/Software

Step 5 – Dwell Times

Step 6 – Content Length and Frequency of Updates

Step 7 – Content Management

Step 8 – Playlist Organization

The Playlist

The content itself will play a significant factor in the organization of your playlist. If the content needs to be longer then the playlist, organization needs to factor that aspect into the strategy and dwell times. There is no one answer to playlist organization, but a dedicated content development and management team are always recommended to help overcome obstacles and meet a client’s objectives.


About Author

EVP, Business Development
Freshwater Digital Media Partners

Content Council

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