Digital Signage

New Year, New Views: Understanding the empowered audience.

The beginning of a new year is a good time to take a closer look at the disruptive factors impacting digital signage to determine if your business strategy is still on track. Are your investments in skills and technologies optimized for success in this rapidly evolving business? Dynamic changes in the ways audiences engage with digital media are providing both new challenges and opportunities for innovation and profit.

Viewers expect video on every digital screen, wherever they go. They expect to be in touch with relevant information that affects their daily lives, such as weather, news and social trends. Ubiquitous digital screens provide them with entertainment, help them shop smarter, follow their interests and engage with their many communities. Mobile apps are enabling users to interact with signage content, thereby enhancing their viewing experiences, and then amplifying these through social media. Providers are also using this feedback to target content for maximum customer engagement and brand enhancement.

In order to connect with audiences, digital out-of-home (DOOH) signage screens have to serve up stimulating video and engage viewers through their mobile devices. New technologies, such as proximity beacons and geofencing apps, are connecting companies with customers, employees and their larger communities in exciting new ways. Mobile integration with social media and new payment technologies is on the rise. Research firm Forrester predicts that remote mobile payments will be the largest area of e-commerce growth over the next five years. Real-time analytics of the viewer’s behavior, especially in retail, helps to maximize value to both shopper and advertiser in many ways.

During New York Digital Signage Week in November, the Digital Place-based Advertising Association hosted the 2015 DPAA Video Everywhere Summit. Thought leaders from major brands and advertising agencies provided useful pointers about the changing viewing patterns of audiences and the ways marketers and media providers can adapt to these changes.

“The future does not lie in the containers of the past,” said Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategist at Publicis Groupe. He noted these key changes:

  • Marketing is being outsourced to end users as consumers play a greater role in shaping and amplifying the brand identity.
  • The world will be less about “advertising” and more about utilities and services that allow engagement with the brand to occur at natural points of brand interaction.
  • Video is everywhere. Think apps, not channels. Video will be “from the slime” not the “heavens,” as big budgets and timelines give way to consumer productions.
  • The concept of “owning” data is obsolete, but the ability to access data is critical. Think APIs.
  • Storytelling and creativity are essential. Brand-enhancing messages need to earn viewers’ interest.

The exhibitors at DPAA’s summit ranged from media creators and content-management software providers to audience metrics and data analytic firms. Intel’s exhibit had a couple of unique partner offerings, such as LCD screens on sports boards (surf, skate, snow) from Shapedmedia, equipped with built-in media players and weatherproof USB connections.

Verifone Media, a DOOH network provider on taxi tops, in-taxi TV, at gas pumps and in convenience stores, has built its signage products upon payment technologies.

Discussing recent developments at the company, Daniel Trotzer, Vice President of Business Operations for Pump Media, noted that the company has ramped up its signage deployment at gas pumps across the US. One factor in this push is the approaching October 1, 2017, deadline for EMV-compliant card (smart chip) capability for petroleum merchants using automated fuel dispensers. Verifone’s Pump Network has partnered exclusively with fuel dispenser manufacturer Gilbarco Veeder-Root for their media screens, and expects to add 60,000 screens in 6000 locations by October 2017.

Building the necessary competencies and strategic partnerships are keys to future success. Outfront Media, for example, has launched Outfront ON Smart Media, a new platform that combines cloud distribution with addressable displays on the company’s programmatic distribution network. They partnered with addressable ad tech firm Videri on an initial deployment at New York City’s 34th Street-Hudson Yards station. Outfront also leveraged its relationship with xAd to provide advertisers on its new mobile network the ability to create geofences, enabling the delivery of locally tailored messages as a part of national campaigns.

More recently, NanoLumens partnered with Gimbal to offer Gimbal’s mobile location and engagement platform with a complete LED-display visualization solution. The new series of digital solutions will include geofencing and beacon technologies to trigger content changes, delivering immediate, relevant and place-sensitive messaging to users.

Projects involving integration with mobile, payment, WiFi, RFID, beacons, social media, the cloud or other technologies offer new opportunities to companies that proactively embrace change. Scheduling learning and networking events for you and your staff are two of the best ways to catch this wave. The annual Digital Signage Expo conference and tradeshow is right around the corner in March, providing a way to get in touch with these customer-friendly technologies.

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