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The costs of digital signage can quickly add up, costing as much as hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the setup. So, before making this significant investment for your business, you are probably wondering how well it actually works and if it is worth the cost. 

Digital signage works very well; it has been shown to increase sales by 17% and even more, depending on a business’ circumstances. It can also improve the overall customer experience by functioning as an interactive display where people can find answers to their lingering questions. 

Of course, the numerous benefits digital signage offers are what makes it highly effective for business use. Additionally, various types of digital signage will also affect how well the setup will work for the organization. 

How Well Does Digital Signage Work?

Does digital signage work?
Image of a Vertical Display via UNL News

Digital signage can be quite effective at capturing customers' attention, who are already used to seeing screens all day. Static displays simply won’t do anymore, particularly for younger generations.

  • Modern technology allows for interactive displays where customers can be guided to products they may not have known existed; therefore, increasing sales.
  • The screen can be updated to show a new message in a matter of seconds.
  • Research has shown that advertising sales on digital displays can increase revenue by as much as 17% in some stores.

Advantages of Digital Signage

Making the transition to digital signage can be a real game-changer for a business with static signage. There are several key advantages that these technologies have to offer that contribute to their effectiveness: 

Easy to Update

Digital signage can be updated rapidly with minimal effort being expanded upon your part. For example, if you own a restaurant, you can change from lunch specials to the dinner menu in a matter of seconds. 

Success with Younger Audiences

Maybe this doesn’t come as a surprise, but digital signage is particularly successful at catching the sub-45 age group's attention

Companies looking to appeal to upcoming generations should take note of this fact; this is a demographic that has been exposed to digital media their entire lives. They very well may be even less likely to take notice of static displays than previous generations.

No More Print Costs

Research has revealed that even the most basic type of digital signage holds several key advantages over traditional signage. One such bonus is the elimination of printing costs.

Although paper is relatively inexpensive, there are undoubtedly significant costs associated with signage. Perhaps nowhere is this more obvious than in a store that must change its signs almost daily to advertise its most recent sale.

On top of that, costs can add up rapidly. For example, if you want to print out a paper display significant enough to capture attention, you will need professional-level equipment to create and print high-quality results. 

Simplify Communication

Digital displays can be used to display specific goods and services in your repertoire. Digital signage has been shown to speed up the rate of customer turnaround at restaurants and stores. Less time is spent thumbing through menus or traversing store aisles looking for single pieces of inventory.

Sometimes people may be discouraged from entering a place of business if they see that it is busy. If they know that their needs can be serviced quickly, then they are likely to be more inclined to revisit.

Disadvantages of Digital Signage

Naturally, although it works well, digital signage is not without its drawbacks. It may be challenging to learn how to use digital displays. Additionally, electronics cost considerably more than investing in static display equipment. 

Learning How to Use Digital Signage Effectively

The learning curve associated with the effective use of these technologies can pose a challenge. For starters, you may have trouble deciding which advertisement campaign will best capture the attention of the intended audience. Many businesses rely largely upon content management software to help guide the creative process.

Advanced content management software such as the CMAS Remote Content program is compatible with a wide range of electronic devices. The program can be utilized to maximize your ability to reach the intended audience, even sending the same exact display to an unlimited number of digital signs.

If you have only used static advertising in the past, then the entire process of creating a digital display may seem overwhelming at first. Since there is such a wide array of technology available, you are perhaps best off requesting the help of someone who has experience using digital signage.

Up-Front Costs

Digital signage streamlines the advertisement process and reduces costs in the long run. However, installation costs can be steep. You also don’t want to cut corners on digital equipment signage, especially by buying TV monitors that won’t last very long.

You can expect equipment for digital equipment to cost around the following:

By successfully integrating this technology into your business, you should quickly notice cost savings over time and a greater customer influx. Still, it is understandable that the start-up costs may seem a little intimidating.

Which Type of Digital Signage Works Best?

Many different digital signage types can be tailored to your needs, so there is no clear-cut favorite here. Ultimately, what makes digital signage work the best is whereyou use it and the type of content you decide to display. (More on the type of content you should feature later.)

Digital Reader Boards

These are among the most simplistic of digital signage types. Digital reader boards include popular options like the USA-LED Bright Programmable Scrolling Message Display. Even simple scrolling displays like this have been shown to be more successful at attracting customers than manual letter displays. 

One potential downside is that your design options may be a little limited. Reader boards are suitable for displaying short messages like “last day of sale,” but longer messages may need to be scrolled through multiple times to convey the message.

As will be discussed later, wordy advertisements are not very effective anyway. There is an overwhelming tendency for customers only to read headlines and ignore the rest of the text. Another downside is the inability to show lively animations or videos, which are even better at capturing the viewer’s eye.

Still, this is a useful type of digital signage if you are looking for something relatively inexpensive and an upgrade from manual letter displays that require a lot of time and effort to keep up-to-date.

Digital Posters

Digital posters are also a pretty straightforward digital signage option. They are simple to install because the media player is included within the LCD enclosure. There is no need to splurge on a fancy setup, as this type of digital signage exists solely as one flat screen mounted in the wall in a position and orientation of your choosing.

LCD Digital Poster

A liquid crystal display (LCD) functions by passing backlight through tiny crystals within the unit.  LCD digital posters are typically limited to indoor settings since the technology results in a screen that is more sensitive to damage. LCD screens displayed outdoors are required to be contained within a weatherproof enclosure for protection.

That being said, there are certainly benefits to going with an LCD digital poster. Positives of LCD digital posters include:

  • More affordable than LED screens
  • Lightweight, making for easy mounting
  • Lower up-front cost
  • Enough display brightness to be used in indoor applications

You can find LCD monitors built explicitly for commercial advertising, like the Hushida 42” 1080P. This screen contains a built-in cloud platform for content management. You can even control the advertisements on the screen with your cell phone.

LED Digital Poster

Light-Emitting Diode (LED) posters are much brighter than LCD screens, and as such, they can be easily visible in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. 

Benefits of LED digital posters include:

  • Brighter than LCD screens; colors are also sharper
  • Longer lifespan 
  • 4K resolution
  • More energy-efficient than LCD screens

One unfortunate aspect of LED screens is that they don’t look quite as sharp if they are viewed at a close distance. LED digital posters are best used in a setting where the customers are standing or sitting at least several feet away from the monitor.

One of the popular LED screens on the market is the TCL 32-inch LED TV. Keep in mind that you will also need to buy a media player and purchase content management software along with any of the necessary mounting equipment.

Freestanding Digital Signage

Image Via Esprit Digital

A freestanding digital display is positioned directly on top of the floor rather than mounted along the wall. A freestanding display can easily capture the attention of those passing by, thanks to the fact they are typically positioned within the customer’s path of travel.

In tight spaces, they can be obstructive to the flow of traffic. Freestanding displays are often used to make interactive digital signs (the benefits of which will be discussed in the next section). 

One example of a location where this technology can come in handy is in a restaurant entrance; customers can view a menu as they walk up. In busy downtown areas, a stunning display can be more than enough to attract hungry patrons. Imagine taking a 65″, 75″, or 85″ TV, mounting it vertically on a stand and using the SignPresenter Digital Signage solution on Amazon Firestick to have a stunning vertical signage display.

Interactive Information Monitor/Tablet

An interactive information digital monitor can display a wide variety of content assets. Users have a more excellent opportunity to let their own creativity take charge than they would with a simple reader board. An increasing number of businesses have begun to realize the effectiveness of setting up digital kiosks for their customers to interact with. 

An interactive digital information board can be set up so that customers or guests can access features like online menus, shopping inventories, or some other type of interface designed for customers. 

A simple tablet will suffice for these purposes. Tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 possess the core processing that can handle just about any type of interactive customer experience that you can think of. You can also easily use these to take care of purchases by pairing them with a card reader

Does Digital Signage Work Better than Monitors?

Commercial digital signage has been specifically designed for professional use; they are more expensive than regular TV monitors adapted for digital signage, but there are plenty of benefits businesses can reap when opting to use them.

  • Commercial digital signs have features like heat dissipation plates, electronics, and cooling fans that allow the monitor to be used for extended periods. If you go with a standard TV monitor instead, then the monitor's lifetime will be limited to 30,000-50,000 hours, with LED monitors lasting the longest time.
  • Digital signage designed explicitly for outdoor use is also more economical, as they are built with the expectation that they will be kept on continuously. One example of such a digital sign is the LG UHD Commercial TV
  • Another benefit of digital signage is that they come prepackaged with some sort of content management software. You should not have to buy as many third-party applications with a commercial-grade digital sign; this should help alleviate the impact of up-front costs compared to standard TV monitors.

What If My Digital Signage Doesn’t Work?

Maybe you’re worried about your digital sign not bringing in more sales, or perhaps you recently emptied your wallet for a digital display only for it to not bring in more customers. The problem could be a result of the way the technology is being utilized. 

Below are some guidelines for making digital signage more effective for your business:

Be Unique with Your Digital Display

Studies show that the overabundance of screens in the digital age has ironically made some digital signage less effective.

The display must be relevant to the customer experience for digital signs to be effective. For instance, research in Swedish stores suggests that digital signs advertising price promotions have a far greater impact on sales than any other type of message.

Passersby may also not notice a digital sign if the media shown on it is too simplistic. The simple digital display becomes camouflaged amongst a sea of other options. You are strongly encouraged to follow practices that make your digital signage pleasing to the eye. 

How Do I Get Customers to See My Digital Sign?

There are several guidelines to follow regarding making a digital sign that will stand out amongst a barrage of other screens and such displays.

Here is how you can maximize the viewership of your digital signage:

  • Use light or white text on a dark background 
  • Use dark text on light backgrounds
  • The text should be limited to either:
    • 3 lines of text, 5 words each line
    • 5 lines of text, 3 words each line
  • Use only two different types of fonts on the same sign
  • Avoid using too many colors on the same screen
  • Emphasize key messages with your headline, keeping in mind the reality that many customers will read only the headline and go no further.

Additionally, messages should be flashed on the screen for at least 5-10 seconds before moving on. Generally, the longer you can keep a message on the screen, the more effective your sign will be. You may only need to keep a message on a screen for 5 seconds before moving on to the next topic in areas with high foot traffic.

Lastly, your digital signage is only as good as the content management software that you are using. You should focus on getting a content management program that gives you many design options.

Make Digital Signage More Interactive

The industry trend continues to be developing a digital display that offers the viewer an interactive experience. It is often the case that simply pushing out a message is not enough to capture the eye these days.

Touchscreen digital displays have found their way into many sectors, including restaurants, health care, and retail. Effective digital marketing strategies with these types of digital signs include offering coupons and loyalty cards that customers can sign up for from the screen.

Alternatively, you can use a standard digital screen to provide valuable content for passersby. For example, if you own a grocery store, a display with recipes can help inspire them and their purchases. The general idea is to show your customers that you have the product that matches their personal preferences within your own inventory.

Final Thoughts

In summary, digital signage can work very well for a business wanting to attract new and current customers and clients. Of course, they are only effective if you use the right kind of signage properly:

  • Reader boards are meant to be outdoor displays where people can easily view short messages. 
  • Digital powers can work well indoors or outdoors, as long as it is not too overwhelming or plain to the eye. 
  • Freestanding digital signage is ideally used in areas with foot traffic while placed at eye-level. 
  • Interactive displays work best at points-of-sales, where customers can be informed about specific promotions that match their purchases.