Digital Signage: The new advertising frontier Part 2

In part one of this two-part series, the authors examined the need for an intelligent (yet simple to use) digital signage system, one that allows for more targeted presentations. In part two, the authors examine the importance and benefits of using point-of-display signage to attract and "sell" customers. (Editor's note: part one in this series is available at http://broadcastengineering.com/newsletters/dsu/20050511/index.html.
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Dynamic digital signage has emerged as the next frontier for advertising, as in-store networks of retailers such Wal-Mart reach viewer numbers that rival broadcast TV networks. And much as cable proliferated the venues for broadcast advertising, smaller retail chains and independents can more cost-effectively roll out their own digital signage programming to capitalize on advertising and promotional content.

The Application Service Provider (ASP) model is one approach to help smaller retailers build a digital signage advertising revenue stream with reduced capital outlay. As an Internet subscription service, the ASP model allows small and midsize business to access full-featured software, with installation, maintenance, and upgrades handled by the ASP provider. In this approach, businesses pay a low monthly fee to create and maintain signage content without the need for advanced technical skills.

Content creation generally requires someone who has knowledge in graphics design — a potential barrier for smaller retailers. This can be addressed using technology solutions for composing dynamic content automatically with the input of raw images and type-in text. Such signage technology also provides the ability to edit content easily, with changes updated to various display locations in seconds. This is especially useful for store managers who have to monitor the selling rate of discounted items and vary the percentage discount accordingly. Dynamic content generation is also useful for emergency alerts, news broadcast and special announcements at the facilities. Most platforms accept graphics, movie and flash files in common formats. Users set the display schedules and locations ahead of time and tending the content becomes a simple task.

Consumers have become more sophisticated and are attracted more to products that are tailored to their personal needs or tastes. Broadcasting ads through traditional media only capture a small percent of the audience that the ads are intended to target. Because media ad space is limited, it makes ad placement expensive — cost-effective only for commoditized or nationally branded products. In addition, technologies such as TIVO allow viewers to skip over the ads entirely and channel surfing becomes a habit practiced by most viewers. Advertisers are now turning to other avenues that bring them better results at a lower cost.

Advertisers are beginning to realize the value of influencing purchase decisions at the point of sale — and the ability to target buyers by displaying individual messages at selected locations. Advertisers can profile their audience ahead of time and put up the right message at the right place. This opportunity will drive rapid growth in the digital signage market, making it a major channel with size and impact comparable to traditional media.

This article is the second in a two-part DSU series on digital signage and advertising contributed by Yvonne Li and Greg Gilbert of ADurance.

For more information, visit www.ad-tv.com. Part one in this series can be found at http://broadcastengineering.com/newsletters/dsu/20050511/#.

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