“What is the most frequently overlooked aspect of creating a new digital signage network?”
Without question, the most frequently overlooked aspect of a new digital signage network is the commitment to metrics and regularly refreshed content as part of a long-term plan. Digital signage technology is mature with a multitude of dependable players and screens that are readily available, along with great content management software (CMS), which offers proven flexible performance over robust networks that deliver plenty of bandwidth. But great content is not something easily produced.
For years, since the origin of this great industry, many have made the financial decision to move forward with digital signage based on hardware investment and installation. Organizations have consistently said, “We will figure it out” (relative to content) or “We will use our TV commercials or web content.” The end result was the launch of a digital signage network with great excitement, but the same network often went dark after the first year. Why? Because the time was not taken to establish a content strategy that would guide the creation and management of the messages the network would carry. No thought was given to how that messaging would serve business objectives, and no one put in place the metrics to measure the effectiveness of that messaging.
By far, an organization’s largest investment over time is creating and refreshing content that is relevant and timely for their audience. Investments in hardware and software pale in comparison relative to total investment when looking at a five-year commitment to provide fresh content.
You may have heard the old Yogi Berra quote “You’ve got to be very careful, if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.” Many who commit to digital signage do so because they see others doing it or they know they need to do something to enhance their communications or improve sales. So what is missing? The “what” is an upfront detailed plan on what the organization wants to accomplish and how are they going to measure it. I would suggest that, unless your organization can very clearly articulate specific goals for your digital signage network and how you are going to measure them along the way (metrics), you should not make any investment until you have done your homework and identified your path to measurable success.
There are many great sources for content. There are independent agencies that are easily found with a Google search, or you can even rely on qualified internal resources that understand dwell times and exactly what messages you want to deliver and are willing to constantly make adjustments. Digital signage is a living organism that has an insatiable appetite that must be feed at regular intervals. To make your digital signage investment successful, you must commit to the long-term provision of developing and delivering quality content that is reviewed on a regular basis (metrics) to make sure your long-term goals are being met.