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When you know whether your campaigns work, it becomes much easier to manage and improve them.
Digital signage analytics is something we’re super interested in. In fact, it’s something we’re working hard to implement. Right now, it’s incredibly difficult to see if your digital signage works. Sure you might get a nice comment here and there and yes we have had a deli customer who began to sell out of a previously untouched product as soon as it was shown on their digital signs. But those are the exception rather than the rule. Then, because digital signage is so hard to measure we end up with a “set it and forget it” syndrome where the same content sits on loop for months on end.
If no one knows how well the content’s doing anyway, why bother to change it?
Those are just a few of the reasons why we think digital signage analytics are so important to the future of the industry. Here are some others:
When objects become smarter (the internet of things or “IoT” as it’s known) you begin to connect up different parts of the experience which inform your digital screen content. For example, say you have sensors on store doors that measure footfall. The busier your store gets, the better you can adapt your digital signage displays to say, show special offers or direct customers better, to help reduce wait times and relieve busy staff. These analytics can then also inform future campaigns. If the sensors measure that your peak period is always between 12 and 1pm you can use that time to only display your key messages. Then, when things quieten down, you can share more ambient content such as social media feeds and news information.
When you have more refined analytics on who is looking at your screen and when, it becomes much easier to manage your corporate and internal communications. If you know that staff view the screens in the morning but rarely in the afternoon, you can shake up your playlists and schedules to match. If your content gets a high amount of views and interactions when it’s first launched, but then tailors off throughout the month, you may need to refresh your playlists more often.
In a commercial sense, having analytics on who uses your digital signage and why, could help with better management of your team and store. For example, if multiple customers are searching “where is the ladies department?” you’ll know that it’s not easily accessible or visible within the store. Similarly, if staff can see what customers are searching for then they are better equipped to help them and can become more agile about how and when to offer assistance.
So much time and effort goes into creating the perfect digital signage display. But then what happens? It goes up on screen and there’s no real feedback or analysis on how the campaign is doing. When it’s time to create a new campaign it either doesn’t happen because we think well this one’s doing okay, or we create one based on the same principles of the last which may or may not be working. When you have more digital signage analytics you can tell what works and what doesn’t. If your social media feeds are doing really well and people are looking, then going straight to their phones to follow, you can double down to extend reach. If people are zoning out when you play news feeds, perhaps that’s not content they really want to see. Even testing elements as simple as color, font and layout becomes easier when you can track the amount of footfall or eyeballs on the screen at any one time.
As well as making our lives easier, better digital signage analytics actually make it easier to discover what your visitor wants to see. It’s easy for us to make assumptions about the needs of our customers but digital signage is still rarely utilized and actually, the results may often surprise you. Take Merchant Taylors’ Schools as an example whose original aims were to create a digital signage feed for the English department to share what’s happening within the department, mixed with general news from around the world to spark debate and topic discussion in class. The screen was so effective that every subsequent department then wanted to implement their own feed; one digital signage display wasn’t enough. When you can measure and track content and individual screens, it makes it much easier to see where there are gaps and where you should create more campaigns.
How often should you leave a digital signage playlist running before you change the content? It’s a question we’ve pondered more than once. From our research into the optimal playlist, each piece of content should play for eight seconds or less and the viewer should have chance to see the content seven times before it is edited. But when you have better digital signage analytics you don’t have to go by “best practice” rules. Instead, you can determine what works for your audience and when. You can test a new ad each day, or run a campaign for only a week because you get access to data on what works much faster. This means no more waiting around for weeks on end to try and decide whether a campaign is working. Better digital signage analytics gives the ability to make faster, more agile campaign changes as and when you need to.
We love the power our App Store gives to organizations to create better content with no design experience needed. But with near on 50 different apps and content options, is it too much choices? In another marketing vertical we wouldn’t try and include 50 pieces of content in one campaign. We’d know instinctively that this would cause reader fatigue. Yet in digital signage we often see playlists and schedules with so many different pieces of content, changing so fast that none of the messages really stick or leave a lasting impression. When you have digital signage analytics you can narrow this down and find 3-4 systems which truly work. When you have the ability to make informed decisions is doesn’t matter if you have 1 or 10 pieces of content; you know that you’re only using the ones that work.
Digital signage analytics are part of the future vision at ScreenCloud but in the meantime, check out our free trial for a ton of other useful features and ideas that are ready right now.