What to call ourselves: Poll results

May 16, 2009 by Dave Haynes

Well with 35 votes we may not actually have a conclusive sample of the overall point of view on what to call this industry. What we do know from this little poll is that opinions are as varied as they have been for years.

The “Yeah, whatever” contingent won out narrowly over Digital Signage and Digital Out Of Home.

I tend to go with digital signage just because that’s what I see coming up strong on web search stats on this blog, and it is a very common phrase.

However, as a friend pointed out to me the other day, the folks who are in the advertising media side of this business are heavily in the camp of Digital Out Of Home because they need to be. Out of home is a media term the ad industry understands and embraces, whereas digital signage is just a vague technical reference to media planners and strategists.

My take on this is that the ad network folks should come together on that term, or settle on something else they all like. But while it seems a very appropriate handle for their needs, there is a whole wash of this industry that is not about advertising, and out-of-home is a head-scratcher for the people they deal with and sell to. Try telling a company that wants a corporate communications network for its offices that they will be installing a digital out of home system, and wait for the cross-eyed look from the client.

I suspect every industry wrestles with this sort of thing, and I can just imagine the hand-wringing going on in the social media-social network arena. I think it is next to impossible to settle on one perfect term, but my gut tells me digital signage will be the umbrella term that sticks (warts and all) and the subsets of our industry will push their own terms as they need to, and settle on their own, focused nomenclature and standards.

UPDATE –  Nate Nead, who does DigitalSignage.com (so we know where he lands on this), backs up his point of view nicely with data from Google’s keyword selector:

It appears that “digital signage” beats “digital out-of-home” by a whopping 100%, given the fact that not enough searches are performed each month for “digital out of home” to even show up. The unpopular “Not enough data” reading is the only relevant information we are able to glean from Adwords. Other than the fact that advertisers competition for the phrase “digital signage” is fairly stiff, while it looks like not too many persons really are vying for the keywords: “digital out-of-home.” 


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