7 Guidelines To Future-proof Your Digital Signage

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Time is an unusual master of all things. Some people age better than others, and some tools and gadgets last a lifetime, while others break down seemingly within hours. Digital signage is a tool withthe potential to erode in more ways than one. While the effects of time are difficult to predict, there is much that can be done to delay its grip on this particular tool.

Below are seven guidelines which will help you protect your digital signage from all manner of things time will throw at you. To win this battle, you will need durable displays, quality planning, management unity, a user-friendly interface, a strong content strategy, and one more ingredient which is as valuable to your business as the eyes in your face are to you.

Let’s get started! The clock is ticking.

1. Buy commercial, not consumer

The first method of ensuring your digital signage lasts a long time has a lot to do with a big misconception about digital signage. It is indeed true that taking any display and using it as a medium to send a message to an audience does classify as digital signage. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s a smart idea. On the contrary, using consumer grade displays like that is very inefficient in the long run.

You see, consumer grade displays are not designed to meet the criteria you should require from them. A consumer grade display won’t run 24 hours a day. Even after binge-watching Game of Thrones for a full day, you’ll eventually turn it off. Commercial grade displays, on the other hand, are designed, intended, and used to run for longer periods of time, even non-stop. They can handle that task and they will last. Much longer than a consumer grade display. They’re durable, and on top have tons of features which are very useful for any digital signage owner.

Additionally, commercial displays will provide you with everything you need from hardware without growing outdated too quickly. There are certain features expected from your hardware as time moves forward, but those do not evolve as quickly as, say, content strategies do. Thus, rest assured that commercial hardware will last you a lot longer than consumer counterpart.

2. Plan for the environment your digital signage will be used in

The prior point ties into this one quite easily because it is a result of planning. You planned to use your displays commercially, so you get commercial grade displays.

Planning means answering the question what you want to do with your digital signage. We won’t list all purposes under the sun, but establish the purpose you want to use your displays for and research it.

An excellent example of this guideline are outdoor vs indoor displays. If you plan to set up digital signage outside, you can improve its resistance to time by making smart purchases. For outdoors, you’re looking for a display with a high brightness setting, durability and resistance to the elements. LED displays, for instance, have proven to be the wiser choice for the outdoors. They’re better for rotating content which users do not interact with. LCD displays, on the other hand, are better indoors and with content which changes frequently, especially if a user is interacting with it.

3. Establish a unified platform

In unity there is power, a statement which describes many facets of life, and digital signage is no exception. If you have digital signage in more places than one, even if it’s just two displays, it’s easier if the content displayed on them is accessible to you from one location. It’s easier if they are united.

Unity in digital signage is fantastically easy to achieve, while ignoring this simple solution will result in a complex web of unsynchronized displays and content. A nightmare for any manager, really. What is the solution? Digital signage software.

Software like OnSign TV allows you to be fully aware of what all your displays are doing, so to speak, and it allows you to interact with them, update their content, remote control them in case of an issue, and much much more. If unity is achieved, it’s just so much simpler to manage your displays and content. Then, you also have the ability to schedule content easily, ensuring your displays know what to do for days or weeks at a time.

An additional plus from a great digital signage software provider is that they’ll keep up with the industry, providing you with frequently used features which emerge in the industry. It’s also important to have a software provider who can keep up with you as you update the hardware side of your digital signage.

4. Take user friendliness to heart

A user friendly or a simply readable interface ensures your digital signage is easy to access and is inviting to people. If it isn’t user friendly, it will become useless. Sure, your employees will use it because they must, but consumers will stay clear. With that, your digital signage will have been defeated, with only a slim chance of becoming appealing to your audience again.

Making it friendly right of the bat is the best start you can have, especially if the digital signage is interactive. Digital signage software is, yet again, the ideal solution for this as it not only makes management easy, it makes creating campaigns through tried and true templates fast and obvious as well. Your employees will learn and handle digital signage easier. And your customers will be drawn to interact with it (if interactivity is an option) if it’s easily digestible at first glance.

5. Formulate a strong content strategy

Digital signage is an investment, not a simple purchase. This means that once you pay for it, there is plenty of work to be done. It’s not going to act on its own, you know.

A strong content strategy involves creating content with a specific purpose. This guideline is closely tied to guideline #2 in this list which speaks of the environment in which your digital signage is used. Let’s assume you want to use your digital signage outdoors. Excellent! Now, what message do you want to give to the consumer? Not only that, but who is going to create that message? Who is going to create new content after that, new campaigns and update them weekly? Digital signage software is an excellent tool, but its potential lies in the hands of the user. Answer these questions, and you’re set!

Brand awareness, a boost in sales, social media interaction, all of these are valid goals around which you should build your content strategy. It is far more than simply spamming ads and facts on a display. You need to plan it out. Here are more tips for you on how to do just that.

6. Set up insightful analytics tools to see the bigger picture

Analytics are the eyes of a business. They help to see what works and what doesn’t. Rather simple, yet so many choose to ignore it. Do that and, well, you’ll be blind. Analytics are not that difficult to track, however, one must merely be willing to open their eyes! That’s enough metaphors for now, let’s get literal.

Did your sales get a noticeable bump after launching the new campaign you set out on your digital signage network? Excellent! It means people are responding to it. On the other hand, if promoting your featured items in a store didn’t really boost sales, or if your campaign didn’t get as much social media attention as you had hoped, it’s clearly not working. Change it! Pay attention to analytics, understand what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly.  

Any experienced business owner will know that It can be a painful thing, when a carefully thought-out campaign doesn’t work. You put passion and thought into it, but if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work! Analytics are your cold, hard objective guide and as such are an important component of any business. Don’t ignore them, or your consumers will ignore you.

7. Secure your digital signage, inside and out

For the last guideline, we will merely set a reminder, as you probably know this one already. If you want to protect your digital signage from the effects of time, make sure it can’t be stolen. If it’s not well protected, then time will defeat you and someone else will walk away with your display! Who says it takes years for time to punish your digital signage. It might do so in a week.

Fret not, here is information you can use! A set of guidelines for securing your digital signage, both as a physical body as well as its software soul. Cyber threats are just as real as the physical threats from thieves or nature. The latter harms your digital signage physically, but the former has the potential to damage the reputation of your brand and business.

Follow these seven guidelines, and your digital signage will be build up immunity to time! Of course, this is not to be taken as a 100% guarantee. Nothing is. If a tornado hurls through your town and sends your display to a neighboring state, well, not much can be done there. Mind you, even in such an unlikely scenario, the data will remain if you’ve followed guideline #3. Remember, in unity there is power, even against harsh natural disasters. Will the physical protection of your displays weather the storm? Who knows, but it’s safe to say, it has a much higher chance of surviving all the threats time will present than your mom’s old TV you propped up in your store window.

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Aks has been a writer in the digital signage world for over 5 years, bringing you the best of cases and news this industry has to show. Thoughts or suggestions on topics you'd like to see? Drop him an email at aks@onsign.tv!