Digital Signage has become an inescapable feature of our daily lives and it’s constantly grabbing audience’s attention – whether it is waiting for the train or at the bus stop, inching forward in line at the checkout, sitting in the dentist’s waiting room, pumping gas. And one of the reasons is that it really works. But some are more successful than others. Here are 4 tips for creating effective Digital Signage that will get your messaging across and stand out from the crowd, that I’ve learned over my years in the industry.

1. You must clearly understand your objectives

Yes, the public has grown accustomed to information conveyed via video, and consumers have come to expect digital messaging of one sort or another, but simply putting up a screen in an attempt to seem current is not enough. As consumers/audiences have grown more sophisticated, so, too, must your approach.

Whether you seek to educate and inform, to entertain, or to promote your products or services, you need to pinpoint who your audience is and what specifically you’re trying to convey.

Even if your intent is a mix of, say, internal messaging to employees, brand building and influencing customer behavior, you must be clear about the who, what, and when.

You wouldn’t want to display employee training materials during business hours, just as you probably wouldn’t need to air advertising after hours, but you might want entertainment spots at both times to keep folks captivated.

Get the right message in the right place at the right time. Click To Tweet


2. You need engaging, attention-grabbing content

So, you know what you want to convey and to whom, but your messaging must still attract – and hold – the attention of your intended audience.

There are, of course, multiple ways to go about this. One way is to display a mix of content to keep the viewer engaged. The fastest way to cause your audience to tune out is with dull or repetitive media. Create bold content. Use colorful, dynamic visuals. Offer tips or solutions. Keep things current by including the latest sports, current events, or red-carpet fashion.

Again, consider your audience – if, for example, you’re hoping to reduce perceived wait times at checkout or in the waiting room, fun facts or short entertainment clips may keep people engaged between ads or informational spots.

Partner with a content provider who can offer a range of high-quality, relevant, trusted media that meets your high standards. Update regularly to stay fresh. Click To Tweet


 3. You’ll want intuitive and easy controls

It’s time to bring it all together, but how?

You’ll want a Content Management System (CMS) that best suits your needs with the right combination of capabilities and ease-of-use. Click To Tweet 

A platform offering all the whistles and bells (targeting, day-parting, remote audio controls, interactivity) is ideal, but these features need to be easy to understand and intuitive to use.

Don’t forget to consider who will be responsible for programming or updating the content on your displays. It may sound obvious, but if the platform or its features are difficult to operate, it won’t get much use, resulting again in stale displays and lost audience.

It should be easy, (maybe even fun!) to update a playlist, swap out a media file, pull in new content from a library, or set up automated processes.

 4. Compliance is critical

All your efforts up to this point are wasted if the screens are off or tuned to something else. You want eyes on your screens, after all, so you want to ensure your screens are on, functioning, and displaying the proper media.

There are many factors to consider – vandalism, hardware failures, employee burn-out, network issues, just to name a few – so develop a plan to manage those most relevant to your situation.

Robust integrated monitoring and reporting platform is one approach, particularly for larger deployments. Click To Tweet

Being able to determine if players or screens are on and having logs to pinpoint issues or what played and when even managing certain functions like volume or power cycles remotely, are important tools to help guarantee your message is seen.

When it comes to digital signage, there are many considerations and one size certainly does not fit all. Hopefully, however, these few pointers gleaned from my personal observations and experience, can help highlight potential pitfalls as you try to set yourself apart in an increasingly crowded and vital space.


Written by Zach Bruns


About the author
Zach stumbled into the DOOH space some 20 years ago, was captivated, and has been working with digital messaging ever since. Over that time he’s developed a breadth of experience in a variety of roles ranging from technical and rollout support, to network operations, quality assurance, and media management.   When he’s not immersed in digital media on the job, he might be found with camera in-hand, exploring the nearby landscape.