Digital signage is a growing phenomenon in marketing, but what exactly is it? Well, it’s exactly how it sounds. This emerging approach to advertising or information delivery leverages LED, LCD or projector technology to deliver just about any kind of message possible. And though it’s typically utilized for commercial purposes, municipalities and large properties like malls and airports are adapting them for information and navigation usage. There are plenty of compelling reasons why digital signage is the clear winner over print going forward, especially as display technology continues to improve.
What is the big deal behind digital signage?
It’s no surprise that an A/V integrator would tout the power of digital signage, but it doesn’t take an A/V professional to understand what makes it so effective. Just consider what a typical day is like when driving or walking around. People are bombarded with messaging – most of it advertising, but some of it informational – and there’s just too much for everyone to see everything that is presented to them.
This is where digital signage cuts through the mumbo jumbo and grabs attention. The vivid color, sharp imagery and capacity for delivering a variety of media makes digital signage stick out wherever it is placed. And that is the purpose of messaging – to attract attention. Whether it’s a billboard-sizes display or smaller screens positioned around a single shop, digital signage is designed to be noticed.
But hey, there is plenty of print messaging out there that is creative and engaging. Surely a talented designer is the great equalizer in the battle between print and digital?
Not so fast. Although digital mediums are far more versatile in terms of message delivery, that is not the only reason why they are taking out print adverts at a rapid pace. Digital signage also provides the following:
1. Instant updating – This is probably the single most convincing reason to eschew print in favor of digital. Digital signage consists of one or more displays, along with their media players, tied to backend controlling software. Using this software, a user can make changes to a layout and update every display on the network instantly. Instead of ordering new prints and manually changing them out, which can take weeks, digital signage software can be changed out in a matter of minutes.
This is, of course, of incredible benefit to business owners, which can come up with new specials or spotlight high-value products in real time. However, it is also invaluable for municipalities, as they can utilize digital signage to alert commuters to traffic conditions, send out Amber alerts or keep people updated when an emergency is unfolding.
2. Time sensitive messaging – This intersects with the first point, but deserves special mention. Time sensitive messaging refers to adverts that are always delivered when they would make the most impact. So, for example, a billboard can advertise a radio morning show during rush hour traffic and then advertise that same station’s afternoon show when everyone is commuting home. Another example might be advertising lunch specials during the lunch rush, and then switching over to dinner specials in the evening. With digital signage, businesses are always targeting potential customers in as precise a way as possible. No other medium can make that claim.
And when dealing with time-sensitive information, like flight or train schedules, print is obviously an impossible choice. Digital signage is the only realistic option in this regard.
3. Potential for interactivity – Interactive displays are impressive in their own right, but they are particularly useful in aiding customers or pedestrians. In commercial settings, interactive signage may allow someone to simply search through a menu while they wait for a table, or help a customer find a department in a large store. Where interactive displays really shine is their ability to deliver information in a way that people find engaging. Digital signage utilized for this purpose can help tourists navigate through a city or learn more at points of interest. Interactive displays have had great success in China and Europe, and they are gaining serious traction all over the country. It won’t be long before this is the case in the U.S. as well.
4. Better cost efficiency – Normally, a new technology sells itself with superior cost effectiveness, so it’s a good sign, so to speak, that it takes this long to get to it. But yes, digital signage is the clear favorite in terms of long term affordability over alternative means of messaging. Print must be changed out regularly to remain relevant (and even daily print turnover won’t keep up with the digital pace), and this costs money and produces waste every time. Digital signage is executed using modern LED displays, and LED displays last for many years before they need to be replaced. Even better, they will not lose display quality as they age, so they can be counted on for several years without the nickel and diming associated with other technologies.
5. They can be scaled up or down as needed – Digital signage is, to some extent, so effective because it can be built to any size. Video walls, for example, can fill up an entire wall or dominate a space with its huge size. And digital signage can get even bigger, as technology like microtiles can be scaled up to enormous sizes, large enough for sports stadiums or concert halls. Digital signage goes the other way, as well. Screens small enough to fit on a shelf, for instance, can be used in product displays to provide pricing information.
Somewhere between those two endpoints, there is a signage solution that will fit into any setting.
Digital Signage Provides a Custom A/V Solution
A/V integrators often incorporate digital signage into larger A/V solutions – that is focused on improved communications or advertising. There are also benefits to working with a reputable A/V integrator to manage product selection and installation. Chief among them is the fact that reputable integrators look to become a true partner to the clients they work with. This means that an integrator will provide technical support for the equipment they install, keep it updated as needed, and offer insight into potential upgrades if there are any available.
Digital signage is an inevitability – technology that will eventually be utilized by nearly every business and in nearly every setting. It makes sense, then, for companies and venues to transition to it now, as there is a major advantage to offering digital signage when the competition is still stuck on print advertising.