Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Digital Signage Need To Know: Use Content and Scheduling to Target Your Message On Outdoor and Indoor Digital Displays

-Scott Hofheins

Targeted advertising works, and advertisers know it. Why waste time trying to bring your message to an audience that may or may not want your product? Every successful advertising campaign targets specific groups of people. Age, gender, politics and social class are just a few examples. The internet has taken targeting to a level that would render the advertisers of the 50’s and 60’s speechless with the possibilities.

In the same realm, digital signage (outdoor and indoor) has revolutionized the way we talk to audiences that aren't necessarily captive to a radio, TV, or newspaper. We are advertising to people on the road, people who happen to be in our store, drive-thru window, or waiting for a plane to arrive. Without targeting the message,we are just noise in the background of their busy world.  They need a focused message that speaks to their needs and wants

While there are many critics of the advertising industry, a case can be made for the benefits of relevant advertising to the consumer. Many people would rather see a larger percentage of messages directed at their actual interests, then a barrage of general ads for products they will likely never use.

We now have so many ways to target to these people. It’s not just one ad on billboard for three months, it’s a cycle of ads targeting different groups throughout the day. It’s messages on a church sign that offer comforting words to people experiencing a variety of life's challenges. It’s a local restaurant advertising lunchtime specials to drivers, and night time dinner options for families. Responsible, tasteful, and targeted advertising can truly improve the communication to our audience, helping to combat the stigma of ‘flashy’ and/or ‘annoying ads’ often tied to digital signage, particularly outdoor LED signs.

Frequently updated, fresh content,  is very important to effectively target your message. Current events are constantly changing. Styles and attitudes are always evolving and effecting your audiences understanding of the world and how to react to it. Keeping your content in line with this evolution is key to making an impact.

There are a significant number of groups to target, but not just age, gender or other life attributes. There are groups of people who are going to lunch, groups going to a specific region of a city, and traveling to or away from work. You have to take a multi-pronged approach when designing AND scheduling your content.

Decide who you want to talk too in your content. Is it a stay at home mother, driving to a grocery store next door with young children? Talk to her, let her know you have a place for the kids to play while she can relax and enjoy lunch. Are you talking to drivers on their way home from work, stuck in traffic? Let them know you’re open late, and they can get that oil change they've been putting off, done now, while they enjoy a free bottled water and sports magazines in your lobby. Use your indoor digital signage to remind them to ask a sales associate about your monthly maintenance program. Take the time to think about who is looking at your display, and try to find some commonality you can use to focus your messages.

In addition to targeting your audience, you must also entertain them. The content has to be simple, direct, and beautiful. Did you put in all that work to target your audience, just to fall short in the quality of the content itself? We talk about this a lot, but it is so very important to have quality content on your display. Invest in it. Sign up for a content service, or a hire a designer to take the load and make you look great. Unless you’re using an old single color text only display, you will stand to benefit from quality content, regardless of the size of your display, outdoor or indoor.

Take advantage of the technology at your finger tips. Cloud based software makes it easier than ever to manage your displays. New approaches to message scheduling allow you to target your content throughout the day, week, and years with much less effort. Higher resolution displays and outdoor LED signage is getting more affordable, providing significant power to smaller business who would normally be out priced. Use this to target your message, talk to your audience directly and let them know: I’m here, I have something you could actually use, for a fair price, served with a smile!


I hope this post has been informative and helpful. As usual, I welcome ALL constructive comments. Please feel free to comment and add anything I’ve missed, or additional tips you may have regarding this topic. Please visit for many other resources, white papers, and of course: Great looking LED Signs!

**All posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.

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