Helping people understand the return on investment (ROI) of digital signage is essential for the technology’s growth. However, many people do not know how to measure it or even realize that it’s possible to measure it. There are also misunderstandings about how to maximize it with costs cut in the wrong places.
To understand the real ROI of professional-grade digital signage, you must first know the true cost of displays. Many businesses have a narrow view of the cost of ownership and only think about the upfront expense. However, you also need to consider running costs, repairs, replacements and downtime. This may appear to reduce digital signage’s ROI, but it proves the value of investing in quality. When TV screens or low-quality panels are utilized, these often forgotten costs are far higher.
Knowing the cost of signage over its lifespan ensures an accurate ‘investment’ measurement, but we can’t calculate ROI without recognizing the ‘return.’ A barrier that has prevented businesses from investing in signage is its perceived lack of measurability. Measuring out-of-home and offline media’s return has always been difficult. However, digital analytics are now improving this. Combining cost-effective investments with precise measurement of any returns ensures ROI is accurate and maximized.
How Investing in Professional Signage Panels Compares to TV Panels
Many people are surprised that Public Information Displays (PID) are professional-grade display products that reduce costs for businesses, and therefore improve ROI over the long term.
It is a misconception that repurposing a TV panel offers a cheaper alternative. Businesses are often misled and told that a commercial TV has ‘similar benefits’ to a PID but is 50 to 70 percent cheaper. However, this ignores ongoing costs.
Germany’s leading publication for engineering professionals, Golem.de, surveyed LCD technicians and leading retailers and concluded that the average LCD TV from any major brand…is built to last ‘just about three to four years’ when used for about five hours per day. If your digital signage needs are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., this is 12 hours per day and reduces the lifespan to just 15 months. If you were using it for 24 hours, you would need a new TV every seven months. To compare, a PID can have an expected useful life of three years even if used for 24 hours a day, every day. The initial investment therefore costs less in the long term.
It’s not just improved lifespan that PIDs benefit from. There are other factors that reduce overall investment:
- Design flexibility
While TVs are built to be viewed in the landscape mode, PID panels can be used in landscape or portrait mode. As these displays have dual use cases, they do not need to be replaced because of a change in orientation.
- Image quality
As PIDs are designed to meet the highest professional-grade standards, they have increased durability and longevity. The special Thin Film Transistors that Samsung Display PID use prevent image burn, but TVs do not have this technology. PID display technologies prevent black mura and image sticking – two issues that cause TVs to be replaced prematurely. They also reduce glare, improving the effectiveness of your display.
- Integration capabilities
Modern-day PID solutions do not require an external content source in most cases, and if they do, content can be run from a single source.
While price is a crucial consideration, it’s important to consider the purchase as an investment — one that could prove more cost-effective when including the total lifetime expenses.
How measuring ROI breaks down traditional barriers
A longstanding criticism of out-of-home advertising and signage is the difficulty in measuring returns. This is an obstacle that prevents new installations due to a lack of commercial buy-in. However, measurability is now possible as there is a wealth of data that can be gathered from signage analytics. Thanks to this, we can truly see a ROI, helping people realize that digital signage solutions are the right solutions for their business.
Digital signage can be used with beacons, mobile apps, facial recognition and retail analytics software to create a unified view of the customer journey across multiple touchpoints – both online and offline. Building cameras into digital signage screens collects demographic data and impressions like gender, age, attention and dwell time. When combined with other data sources, such as sales figures or even the weather, it is a powerful big data set that market insights can be extracted from.
Measurable digital signage produces data that can be analyzed and used to generate business intelligence on customer behavior. This level of understanding can be given a tangible ROI figure by using various data sets to understand the signage impact i.e. looking at the percent increase of sales in a retail outlet when attention to signage rises but all other factors remain the same.
It’s hard for people to remain skeptical about digital signage once they understand how much data can be gathered, and how ROI can be measured.
How ROI measurements improve customer experience and service … and the bottom line
The use of data benefits both customers and stakeholders.
For customers, dynamic content can respond to demographic data and engagement levels. For example, an older person may see a different display than a younger viewer. This personalization improves the content’s relevance, which encourages more interaction and also maximizes ROI.
A personalized customer journey is beneficial for ROI because it improves the customer experience. Making signage more useful for its viewers will ultimately increase the revenue that it drives. As data sets continue to grow, installations will become more useful and profitable. If dwell times are low, the installer knows they need to change how they use signage. Equally, if it’s performing well, they know they are delivering the content their audience wants and needs.
All of this data can be used to continually improve a digital signage campaign, for the benefit of customer usage as well as commercials. For example, the data gathered can be used to learn which locations are the most effective. This can help improve the ROI by reducing the spend in non-profitable areas and focusing on the places where it performs the best.
Measuring the ROI of digital signage greatly improves all aspects of using the technology from implementation to use and encourages continual improvement. Understanding both the costs and benefits helps everyone make the most of digital signage. Investing more upfront in high-quality professional panels will save money in the long term, while active monitoring of analytics will help sell the technology to buyers and improve its effectiveness.