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Digital Signs Are Not TV

Jun 26, 2008
Treat your in-store narrowcasting network like TV and you've got a recipe for disaster. Your investment in all that shiny new equipment will go for naught as customers who are already used to your ads tune them out. Or worse, your customers could feel overwhelmed by the advertising noise and become disenchanted with your store. And we all know that an unhappy customer is unlikely to be a repeat customer.

How Narrowcasting and TV Differ

Digital signage is entirely different from TV. To understand why, according to a Digital Signage Today guide, you need to understand a person's approach to each medium.

We all have a clear idea of the TV viewer's mindset. Seeking relaxation after a long day, that person is prepared to sit passively in front of the box and be entertained or, at the very least, distracted from the minutiae of his or her daily grind. On the other hand, shoppers in a store are often looking for specific items. They want to get in, get their stuff and get home.

A digital signage system that merely runs TV ads will offer little of value to customers. It will not stop them in their tracks. It will not inform them of new products or promotions. And it will not enhance the shopping experience.

Digital signage is, by its very nature, a more dynamic medium than television. It is designed to impart information in short, sharp bursts of video, text, still images and animation. It has the power to target messages to consumers, to surprise them, and to influence their purchases. It would be a shame to waste all of that potential by running generic TV ads, wouldn't it?

Bells and Whistles

Of all of the components in a narrowcasting network, it is the digital advertising software behind it that is the real source of its power. This software is capable of many great feats, but the ability to combine media and customize content is among its most important features.

As applications go, digital advertising software is actually fairly intelligent. Or at least the more advanced systems are. Basic software may not have all of the important bells and whistles you need, so a thorough investigation of the digital advertising software you are considering is necessary before you put any money down.

"Smart" digital advertising software can handle a full range of media and should be able to incorporate your existing media assets. If you have a library full of JPEGS or animated sequences, the software you use for your digital signs should be able to seamlessly add those elements to your playlist.

The software should also be able to mix things up. An endless stream of still images, no matter how beautiful, will not hold shoppers' attention for any meaningful amount of time. Nor will a constant bombardment of animation or a running stream of video. In fact, the onset of motion is far more effective at getting attention than constant motion. With the right digital advertising software you can create a richly integrated presentation of still and moving images that will make people stop and look.

One way the software is able to mix media is with the use of tags and day-parting technology. Tags ensure that each media asset is labeled so the software can "intelligently" add the right piece into the playlist when needed. Day-parting enables stores to split their narrowcast by time of day, automatically playing messages that are most appropriate for each of the timeslots they have defined.

And Another Thing

Digital signage is unlike TV in another significant way - it is more effective. Tired of poor ROI from traditional media, advertisers are turning to other media, including out-of-home (OOH) advertising.

By creating targeted multimedia content and streamlining the selection of the media used in playlists, digital advertising software makes it easier to customize messages to specific niche markets. It has also helped narrowcasting networks become the fastest-growing segment in the out-of-home advertising market.
About the Author
For more information on digital signs contact a narrowcasting specialist at http://www.EK3.com
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