Guest Post: Irfan Khan, Skykit
Highly successful digital signage campaigns don’t spring into the world fully formed, like Athena from Zeus’s forehead. Instead, they require careful planning.
An example of this is a newly installed digital signage display at the San Francisco International Airport. It’s bringing in sweet profit increases at See’s Candies.
The fully interactive 65” display tracks shoppers’ movements through the store. When they are near the sign, a welcome message pops up, inviting them to learn about the store’s history. Shoppers don’t even need to touch the screen – just let their hand hover above an onscreen item to select it and receive information.
There are three displays like it in the airport. The first two saw huge results for the businesses they were installed in, bringing an average increase of 165 percent in sales.
Today, we’ll be talking about how you can plan a digital signage campaign that will fulfill your goals—even if you don’t have access to an unlimited budget.
I’ll talk more about See’s Candies in just a minute to explain their process.
1. Put it On The Calendar
There seems to be an idea that digital signage campaigns will give major results with minimal efforts. While it’s true that digital signage campaigns have advantages over traditional media, and there are many resources and tools to streamline your planning process, it’s as serious an undertaking as any other campaign.
Recognize that this isn’t going to come together without significant work. And of course, that work takes time.
Begin your planning by laying out a course of action, complete with realistic deadlines. Factor in time spent researching options for hardware and software, the time necessary to create content, and so on.
Your schedule may change as the planning process continues and you have a clearer idea of the scope and nature of your campaign.
2. Preliminary Budget
This item will also likely change as you plan your campaign. However, having some idea of the outlay you’re willing to spend will help you narrow down options in future phases. Some items to consider:
- Will you need to purchase new or additional hardware and software for this project?
- Do you have in-house designers or media people capable of creating content for the campaign, or will you need to contract third parties?
- Are you going to be giving away items or valuable coupons as incentives?
- Will you be carrying out any preliminary surveys or studies to make your campaign’s content more effective, and will you need to compensate employees for hours spent doing this?
You’ll revisit budgeting at the end of step three, setting qualitative and quantitative goals.
3. Set Qualitative and Quantitative Goals
This step is the most vital of them all. It will be the driving force behind how you actually design your campaign.
In creating a digital signage campaign, it’s critical to have your goals for the campaign in mind from the start. Why? In part, because there are so many ways to calculate ROI for digital signage.
There are simple measures, such as increased sales. However, other factors may make it difficult to determine whether the digital signage campaign was responsible for those monetary returns.
For example, if your retail store begins a campaign during the Christmas season, sales might be attributable to that present-finding rush rather than your campaign.
Or, perhaps, you have less immediate monetary goals in mind. Those could include:
- Increased dwell time at the digital displays;
- Greater social media “buzz” about your company or products;
- Attracting more foot traffic;
- Enhancing or focusing your brand;
- Reaching out to a certain demographic.
Whatever that goal is, after clarifying it qualitatively (“I want people talking well about us on social media!”) you should determine a quantitative measure so you can track your campaign’s success (“I’m going to track social media mentions and interactions over time, and compare it to a control period before the campaign began”).
In the case of See’s Candies, while we can’t peer into the boardroom and overhear the exact goals, we can make some good guesses.
Because they’re located in an airport terminal with many passers-by, the fact that they chose a large, flashy display suggests they wanted to increase foot traffic.
They could measure that by tracking the number of people that pass in front of the sign, or keeping count of customer interactions with the display.
Since the companies involved specifically mentioned increased sales, we can guess that was part of their goal as well—and it’s easily tracked.
After determining goals, revisit your budget and consider how much the benefits will offset the initial outlay. Consider setting a quantitative goal, at which point you’ll consider the campaign to have paid off.
4. Identify the Audience
You may think your campaign will appeal to every potential customer, but I bet if I asked you to imagine your ideal customer right now, someone would spring to mind. Or, perhaps, there’s a demographic you want to focus on because you feel they’re underrepresented in your customer base.
That’s who your campaign should be targeted at attracting and engaging.
Determine what age ranges, income bracket(s), gender(s), and/or race(s) you’ll be focusing on. Not all of those demographic factors will be relevant for every campaign, of course, but they’re worth considering.
This step will come into play as you design content for your campaign, which is the next step.
5. Plan Content and Incentives
The previous two steps (setting goals and identifying audience) will help significantly as you consider the meat of your campaign—that is, its execution.
See’s focuses on middle-to-upper-end boxed chocolates, so among the many travelers passing through the airport, their primary audience would be the sort of person looking for fancy chocolates: middle-to-upper class, and likely over thirty.
Therefore, they chose a large-scale, eye-catching display and loaded it with classy content to give them a distinguished air.
By focusing on the company’s past, they give their brand a sense of history and established quality that should appeal to their target audience.
You, too, should seek to create or commission content that specifically serves your goals and appeals to your audience.
Here’s other considerations to keep in mind:
- Interactive vs. non-interactive: Interactivity definitely appeals as a way to get customers to engage. However, adding interactive elements will increase costs, both in terms of creating content and acquiring the proper equipment and software to execute it. If interactive elements would seem shoehorned in just for the sake of having interactivity, rather than being an organic part of your campaign, nix them.
- Video vs. static: Should your campaign take the form of a video presentation, or be comprised mostly of static slides? Videos are definitely eye-catching, though consider how long the video is versus how likely customers are to remain in front of your sign, and also make sure vital information remains on screen long enough to be read. However, again, they are more costly to produce than more static content. A middle ground: Including subtle animated elements to your slides.
- Social media integration: Depending on your audience’s age and level of tech savvy, including social media elements in your campaign could be highly effective. Whether that’s tweeting at your company to enter a contest, or encouraging them to share a link to your content on Facebook by scanning an on-screen QR code, there are many ways to integrate social media with your campaign.
What’s the reward? Ask yourself what your audience’s incentive is for viewing your content. Do you intend to give away an item? Show a code for a digital coupon after they complete the interactive experience you’ve designed? Your customers should not feel like they’ve wasted their time by viewing your content.
6. Pick Your Equipment
If you plan on using a pre-existing digital signage system, you’ve probably had your equipment’s strengths and limitations in mind already as you’ve been planning your campaign.
However, if not, consider what types of displays and software would best suit your purposes in the campaign, while fitting your budget, of course. See’s goals were to pull in more foot traffic and thus increase sales, so they chose a colorful, 65” display.
Your content will be best suited to certain types of displays, and vice-versa.
You’ll also want to choose the right software for the job. Consider factors like number of screens supported, ease of use, reliability, whether it’s cloud-based, and so on.
Conducting any sort of campaign may sound like a formidable undertaking. However, by breaking the process down into steps and always coming back to your audience and goals as you plan, creating a great campaign using digital signage is well within your capabilities.
Let’s get planning!
I put together a worksheet if this topic is up your alley. It’s an easy, actionable way to implement what you learn in this blog post. You can click the link below and put it into practice right away!