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Do's and Don'ts of Digital Signage for Beginners

Table of Contents

  1. What is Digital Signage?
  2. Digital Signage Best Practice
    -  Digital Signage Mistakes to Avoid
    -  Best Way to Use Digital Signage 
  3. Wrap Up
  4. FAQs

Are you new to digital signage? Or perhaps you have already implemented it in your business but have not truly embraced its "power." That is perfectly fine, you are in the right place. Here, we will walk you through all essential signage practices and do's and don'ts!

Thanks to this article, you will learn what you might be doing wrong and ways to improve your strategy! So, without further ado, let's get to it! 

What is Digital Signage?

Digital signage is like a modern billboard you see on the street, only much more versatile. Instead of paper posters, it uses screens to show advertisements, information or anything you want to share with people walking by or waiting in a place. 

Also, you can easily change what you display throughout the day. For example, let's say you own a café - you can show breakfast menus in the morning and switch to lunch deals later. 

You can find digital signage in places like shopping malls, airports, bus stations and restaurants, which helps businesses communicate with their customers more effectively and attractively.

Digital Signage Best Practices

Employing digital signage as a marketing tool may seem complicated, but trust us when we say -  it can be done easily with just a few things to keep in mind. 

Implementing some very simple yet effective practices can help you in attracting more consumers and increasing sales. By doing so, you can also establish your brand as a market leader in your targeted industry.

However, if you have seen any results for an extended period, you might be missing something. Below, we will spill the secrets of what mistakes you can avoid and how to make your messages stand out.

Digital Signage Mistakes to Avoid

  • Static Content

Avoid treating digital screens like static posters. They should be more dynamic to take full advantage of the medium.

For example, a digital billboard that alternates between real-time weather updates and matching product recommendations keeps viewers engaged and makes the advertisement more relevant.

  • Forget the Audio

If you use audio, make sure it is appropriate for the environment. Excessive volume can cause disruption, while insufficient volume may be ineffective.

Background music or spoken messages should enhance the visual message, not overpower it. In a retail environment, audio cues can direct attention to specific promotions or information, subtly guiding customer behaviour without overwhelming them.

  • Neglect Analytics

Use the data from your digital signage to understand what works and what does not, then adjust your strategy accordingly.

Analytics can reveal peak viewing times, viewer demographics and content engagement levels. This information is invaluable for tailoring content to audience preferences, ensuring that your messages are as effective as possible.

  • Overcomplicate

Keep your design and message straightforward. Overloaded screens with too much information or clutter can overwhelm and deter viewers.

The principle of cognitive load suggests that people have a limited capacity for processing information. Simplifying your message and design can help ensure that your key points are communicated clearly and remembered.

  • Ignore Privacy

When collecting data or personal information through your digital signage, ensure privacy and security measures are in place and communicated clearly to your customers.

Transparency builds trust and customers are more likely to engage with your content if they feel their information is handled responsibly. Clearly stating your data use policy can mitigate privacy concerns and foster a positive relationship with your audience.

  • Ignore Design Principles

Poorly designed content, pixelated images or low-resolution videos can harm your brand's perception.

Following design principles such as balance, contrast and hierarchy improves the visual appeal and communication effectiveness of your content. Good design can significantly enhance viewer comprehension and retention of the information presented.

  • Forget to Test Content

Always preview how content appears on the screen to catch any errors or readability issues. What looks good on a computer screen may not translate well to a larger digital display. Testing content in its final format can prevent potential miscommunications and ensure that your message is delivered as intended.

  • Let Content Go Stale

Failing to update your digital signage can lead to disinterest or dissemination of outdated information. Just as a store changes its window displays to reflect new stock or seasonal themes, digital content should be refreshed to maintain interest and relevance. 

This approach keeps your audience engaged and looking forward to what comes next.

  • Underestimate the Importance of Location

Poorly placed digital signs might not be seen by your intended audience. The placement should be strategic, considering factors like viewer traffic patterns and sightlines. For example, a digital sign placed at eye level in a waiting area is more likely to be viewed than one placed above head height in a busy corridor.

  • Forget Accessibility

Ensure your content is accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.  Incorporating features like voiceover options, text-to-speech and high-contrast visuals can make your digital signage inclusive. 

Best Way to Use Digital Signage

  • Keep It Dynamic

Change the content regularly. Use videos and animations to grab attention. You can update the displays to reflect current promotions, weather or time of day. 

For instance, a cafe can showcase a cosy atmosphere by displaying a steaming cup in the morning and switching to a calming tea scene in the afternoon to attract commuters. This approach engages customers by mirroring their day's rhythm.

  • Clear Call-to-Action

Always include a clear call-to-action (CTA) so customers know what steps to take next, whether it is visiting a website, entering a sweepstakes or following your social media.

A clear CTA reduces decision fatigue. For example, a "Swipe Up to Learn More" message on a digital screen outside a store can directly increase online engagement and drive traffic to the website.

  • Readable Content

Ensure all text is easy to read from a distance. Keep messages short and sweet, using large fonts and contrasting colours.

This taps into the Gestalt principles of perception, ensuring that viewers can easily group and comprehend the information. In a busy mall, a digital sign with a bold "50% OFF" in red on a white background quickly communicates the offer, even to shoppers passing by at a distance.

  • Engage Creatively

Use digital signage to onboard and train staff in an engaging manner or interact with customers through quizzes, interactive maps or social media feeds.

This method uses the principle of active learning, where engagement through activities leads to better retention of information. A retail store could use an interactive quiz to train new employees on product locations, making the learning process more fun.

  • Proper Placement

Position your screens in high-traffic areas where they are most visible to your audience. Consider the content when choosing screen sizes and locations.

For example, placing a large screen with nice content at the entrance of a convention centre can captivate attendees' attention right away, making use of the serial position effect where people tend to recall the first and last items in a series.

  • Tailor Content to Your Audience

Know your viewers and customise the content to match their interests and needs. This personalisation taps into the concept of self-reference effect, where people are more likely to remember information related to themselves. 

A gym might display workout tips early in the morning for early risers and switch to motivational quotes in the evening for those who need that extra push after work.

  • Leverage Analytics

Use data to understand viewer behaviour and preferences for more targeted content. This strategic use of data aligns with the feedback loop principle, allowing for adjustments based on real-time responses. 

For instance, a grocery store analysing customer dwell times near the produce section can tailor signage content to feature recipes or cooking tips, encouraging more engagement and potentially increasing sales in that category.

  • Train Your Team

Make sure your staff knows how to manage and troubleshoot the digital signage system. Equipped with this knowledge, they can quickly address any technical issues or content inaccuracies, minimising downtime. 

  • Stay Consistent with Branding

Ensure your digital signage aligns with your overall brand identity for a cohesive customer experience. Consistency in branding across all platforms leverages the mere exposure effect, where repeated exposure to a brand increases familiarity and preference. 

A consistent theme and message across digital signage and online platforms strengthen brand recognition and loyalty among consumers.

Wrap Up

As we wrap up, remember that digital signage does not end with simply broadcasting content. It is of utter importance to avoid common mistakes such as neglecting design principles, forgetting to test content or underestimating the importance of location. If you follow the principles we outlined above, you can create a strategy that is effective and respectful of your audience's needs and privacy.


Frequently Asked Questions


1. How Often Should I Update My Digital Signage Content?

Updating your digital signage content regularly is crucial to keep your audience engaged and ensure the information remains relevant. The frequency of updates can depend on the nature of your content and the interests of your audience. 

For retail promotions, updating content weekly or bi-weekly might be necessary, while informational content in corporate settings could have a longer lifespan. A good rule of thumb is to review and potentially update your content at least once a month, but always be ready to make timely adjustments based on seasonality, current events or specific marketing campaigns.

2. Is It Necessary to Have a Technical Background to Manage Digital Signage Software?

No, it is not necessary to have a technical background to manage such software. Many digital signage platforms are designed with user-friendliness in mind and offer intuitive interfaces that allow users to create, manage and deploy content with ease. 

Additionally, most providers offer comprehensive support and training materials to help users get the most out of their digital signage solution. However, having a basic understanding of digital file formats and some creative flair can be beneficial when designing content for your displays.

3. What Types of Content Are Most Effective on Digital Signage?

The most effective content for digital signage varies by industry and audience, but generally, visually engaging content that quickly communicates a message works best. This includes high-resolution images, short and captivating videos, animations and clear concise text messages. 

Interactive content, such as touch screen applications, can also greatly enhance engagement by involving the viewer directly. For businesses, showcasing product highlights, promotions and user-generated content like social media feeds can be particularly effective in attracting and retaining customer interest.

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