Guest Post: Mike Kilian, Mvix
Many companies are drawn towards using digital signage because it is an effective “mass communication medium” which allows dynamic and frequent content updates. Even though delivering dynamic, targeted content is the hallmark of the digital signage platform, effective communication requires a deep understanding of the audiences and their preferences.
Creating targeted, segmented information builds trust, delivers more appropriate message, and shows that engagement is a priority. The most important parameter of digital signage that impacts ROI is content, particularly its relevance and freshness. The key to keeping an audience engaged is customizing communication methods to fit their content processing style.
Therefore, it becomes imperative for digital signage practitioners to understand the various digital signage audience types:
This type of audience typically has a very short attention span, less than 5 seconds. They are unlikely to cognitively process content, unless they find something that excites them. This audience will lose interest quickly, unless they see new/fresh/relevant content that invokes their curiosity. Their main priority is not content, rather it’s the visual appeal of the display.
Brevity is key. Use “supporting content” like live TV feeds, social media content, news articles, youtube videos, etc., alongside the “focal content.”
Analytical visual learners (i.e. those who process images/videos before text) have a longer attention span than flirters, but may lose interest if the on-screen information is complex, cluttered, or difficult to process.
Visual processors usually depend on images/videos to fully grasp a concept, and they may have a hard time processing text heavy content.
Break the message down into simple illustrations, images, or clean videos. Clear, consistent branding is key to keep the audience engaged and entertained. Information should be presented in a concise manner with a clear “call to action”.
This audience can process on-screen content much easier than flirters and visual processors. They will usually stop what they are doing and invest time in reading and processing content. This audience is most likely to “take action” on the information they’ve gathered from the screen. They have very high trust with the content source and/or brand.
Provide highly descriptive, step-by-step instructions or messages. This audience will get quickly annoyed with content that repeats every 60 seconds.
This audience is not really engaged/interested in content in general, but they will pay attention once in a while. They are critical of the whole concept of digital signage or any new communication mediums. They don’t like the fact that information is not available (for their consumption) on their terms (i.e. having enough time to review, qualify and digest the information).
Their lack of engagement is fueled by the lack of trust with the medium (digital signage screens).
Provide credible sources in your digital signage content. Content strategy should revolve around earning their trust before requesting action. Highlight collectivist benefits of the information (being disseminated). Supplement digital signage with other sources of communication so as to enhance adaptation.
Remember as a marketer, the key is to keep it simple. In advertising, every second counts. Today, with more media and screens grabbing our attention than ever before, EVERY form of media is competing with something else. So eliminate any unnecessary words, or better yet, use visuals instead of words whenever possible.
Not only does messaging need to be simple, it needs to be attention-grabbing. Rich media is more attention-getting than static creative, with a 23% higher click-through rate (CTR) and 1000+% more engagement. Rich media also plays on basic human instinct, which is to look at moving objects (because they might be there to harm you!)
Engaging Your Audiences
Remember that old media rule of running an advertising frequency of three? The idea was that consumers needed to see your message once to ask: “What is it?,” the second time to think “So what?,” and the third time they might decide “This is for me!” Frequency still matters, but because there are more advertising messages than ever before fighting for the consumers attention, marketers need to give consumers even more chances to see their “shiny object.”
Below are 4 tips to make the best of your digital signage content and engage multiple audiences:
1. Keep Content Short and Simple
All content should be useful, helpful, and relevant. It’s critical you keep the message simple and succinct. Whether you’re writing for print or digital, use plenty of engaging subheads, charts, infographics, and pullout elements. The very last thing people will read on a page will be the body of your article, so use these multiple entry points to get them engaged enough to want to continue reading.
2. Get to the Point
Chartbeat research about online reader habits revealed that nearly 33% of article readers spend 15 seconds or fewer on an article. Let readers know early on whether or not they need to stick around. If people don’t find value fast, they won’t stay to provide you with a second chance.
3. Don’t Just Tell, Show
Whether or not you believe that a picture is worth 1,000 words, there is no denying that it is easier for the brain to consume and remember a single image over a list of 1,000 words. Chartbeat says that while most visitors to a site who read your articles will read about 60 percent of your article content, 100 percent will see your photos. Make your photos engaging enough to entice visitors to read your content.
4. Don’t Leave Them Waiting
No matter what type of content you’re pushing out, don’t keep anyone waiting. Another Chartbeat study revealed that about 10 percent of readers on a website won’t scroll down the page at all, so they’re looking for engagement at the top. Make your decks and ledes engaging, whether you’re writing for print or digital. Content is everywhere at the push of a button or the flip of a page. If consumers feel it’s taking too long to get to the relevant information, they will go somewhere else to find it.
Mike Kilian is the Senior Director of Business Development at Mvix, headquartered in Sterling, VA. Mvix is a leading provider of content-rich digital signage software and solutions. To date, their platform powers over 50k screens for clients including Virginia Tech, Western Michigan University and University of Washington Medical Center.