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Digital Signage "Comes Of Age"

Jul 25, 2008
Changing consumer habits, particularly among younger demographics (the teens and young adults that drive retail sales), and improved technology have reached a point where it can be said that digital signage as an advertising medium has truly "come of age" as a marketing vehicle. "The digital signage market has finally reached a stage where all the enabling technologies - both on the hardware and software sides - are firmly in place," writes Sanju Khatari in Digital Signage Magazine.

Digital signs driven by sophisticated, highly responsive and measurable digital advertising software have become a fixed part of the advertising and marketing landscape as audiences, particularly younger audiences, have been drifting away from traditional print, radio and TV media in favour of digital media. While much of the demise of traditional media marketing is attributable to the rise of the Internet and the growing importance of online advertising, at a more basic level consumers are not spending as much time at home in front of the television or reading the daily papers. There has been a shift to out-of-home advertising, and the digital sign industry is leading that shift.

"The advertising industry is going through a phase of uncertainty," Ms. Khatari notes. "Consumers, particularly those in the younger demographics, have completely changed the way they receive their information and interact socially. In addition to spending considerably less time on traditional media, namely TV and print media, end users are often completely avoiding TV advertisements and infomercials using TiVOs and DVRs." These technologies allow users to skip through advertisements entirely.

This has prompted many companies marketing their products to focus on TV and print media for corporate-level branding, while shifting specific product promotion onto in-store or other out-of-home media options - such as the narrowcasting networks that are ubiquitous in doctor's offices, office lobbies and public transportation. Moreover, in-store narrowcasting networks provide further opportunities for product advertisements right at the point where consumers are making their purchase decisions.

Changing consumer habits have come at a time when the digital signage industry emerged from its infancy. The digital advertising software that drives the digital signs and narrowcasting networks we encounter everywhere from fast-food outlets to Times Square has been increasingly refined to allow advertisers to hone the content and messages shown to the targeted audience, while the metrics that define the effectiveness of the marketing message have been developing apace. Most importantly, the costs of providing the large screen high definition and LCD monitors has been dropping, making digital signs affordable in locations with smaller target audiences that were uneconomical before the prices of monitors began to drop.

Perhaps the biggest challenge that companies and marketers face in responding to the drop in traditional media share is how best to quantify the effectiveness of digital signs. "In order for advertisers to invest in digital signage they need measurement of the audience and a system that is clear, reliable, actionable and comparable with other media and their metrics," notes Ms. Khatari.

The best digital advertising software provides the metrics that allows users to quantify the results of in-store digital signs with their inventory and sales tracking software. Narrowcasting networks, such as those seen on gas pumps, in airlines or in office lobbies, are increasingly working with market research companies such as A.C. Nielsen to improve their metrics and to monitor and improve the effectiveness of their marketing reach.

Properly deployed, digital signage provides companies with a unique and essential marketing tool that has come of age to reach their target audience as they shift away from traditional media.
About the Author
For more information on digital signage and other advertising technologies visit EK3 Technologies Inc. at http://www.EK3.com or call 1-866-353-8324.
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