Ask the Board – July 30, 2018 | STEVE “CHEWIE” STAVAR


“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?”

The only way to answer how many messages should be on a display for the audience is to answer the question of how long your audience will see the digital display? This obviously changes with every location and application across the industry, but it also varies on each installation of the digital signage network. At West Virginia University, we approach the bulk of our InfoStations as though they were billboards you are going to pass at 80 miles per hour. We figure we have less than five seconds to deliver our message to a viewer. If they stop to see more messaging, all the better, but hopefully we get one message delivered to them on each impression.

Because of this, our messages are scheduled to play only 10 seconds each, and we only display one type of messaging on the monitors at a time. This helps cut the fat out of the message and gets only the need-to-know information on our screens. If there is more information needed, the viewer can either touch for more information in some applications, or a website is predominantly displayed where there will be the additional information.

With a fairly diverse network of 120+ InfoStations, and with messaging inputted by more than 220 users, the types and amount of content available to be displayed on the system constantly change. We also look at each of our InfoStations as its own channel that can pick and choose what content is displayed. To do this, we have developed a prioritization model consisting of a large loop of templates made up of multiple three-template mini loops.

When a department installs an InfoStation, we figure out the types of content they want to display in a departmental template. This departmental template is played first on each mini loop. The duration of the departmental template can range from 10 seconds with one piece of content to a minute and a half based on the amount of items in their databases. That departmental template is followed by a template containing either a full page graphic or an automated notification on the status of the University’s Personal Rapid Transit system on campus, (only if there is an interruption to service), for 10 seconds. The third template we play is randomly selected from templates showing information from campus police, our libraries, Student Life, etc. All of those templates can play for the same 10 seconds to a minute and a half based on the amount of content in those databases. This mini loop repeats until all of the campus-wide templates have played the full loop of templates.

So the optimal number of messages for audiences is all based on the amount of time a person will be in front of your single digital display or multiple displays playing the same messaging.


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Digital Signage Specialist
West Virginia University

End User Council

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