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Consider This Your First Step to a Successful Digital Signage Campaign



The use of digital signage is varied and diverse, which means the
background, knowledge and skill brought to creating content to be delivered via
this powerful medium is just as diverse and varied.





Consider the stark differences between a four-star hotel chain
that's decided at the corporate level to use digital signs throughout its
properties to welcome guests, offer wayfinding and promote various features and
amenities. Now think about the local sports bar that's added 
digital signs to promote featured drinks and menu items
while patrons quench their thirst and watch the game.





These are two entirely different types of businesses, with
dramatically different resources to spend on digital 
signage
content
, varied levels of
experience with using media to reach the public and quite diverse ideas about
what they would like to accomplish with digital signs.





Regardless of these differences, however, the hotel chain and
single sports bar -along with all other digital signage users- should share one
common characteristic when it comes to digital signage: They need to determine
their return on investment -not simply on the hardware and software needed but
also on the digital content to be used.





Determining ROI on digital signage hardware and software is pretty
straightforward. Simply divide the expense of both by their anticipated useful
life in months or years. (For this example, I'll use months.) Then subtract
this monthly expense from the revenue generated by the digital signs and divide
this difference by the monthly expense.





For example, the ROI of a simple, single-sign system costing $6000 for hardware,
software and display would look like this. Assuming a useful life of five
years, or 60 months, $100 of expense should be assigned to each month of the
system's useful life. If the sign generates an additional $150 in business per
month, then the ROI in this example is 50 percent [that is $150 (revenue) -
$100 (monthly expense of signage) = $50/$100 (monthly expense of signage) =.5].





The same sort of ROI equation can be applied to digital signage
content; however, there are a few wrinkles to consider that make doing so a
little trickier. First, consider that the useful life of content will be far
shorter than that of the hardware and software. To be effective, that is to
consistently attract the attention of patrons, content must be fresh and
relevant. Thus, in a retail setting, the useful life of content will likely be
measured in weeks, and possibly even days during certain times of the year.





Second, the expense side of the equation is a little more complex
when it comes to digital signage content. For instance, will content be created
in-house or by an outside agency? If in-house, will a new employee be 
required, or will an existing graphic artist take
on the responsibility. Will elements of content created once be repurposed
again and again in successive campaigns, thus requiring apportionment of
content expenses across multiple uses? Will "free" content, such as
an RSS feed, be leveraged in some campaigns and not others, thus impacting
digital content expenses differently? Will the digital content be used across
in multiple locations so a portion of the expense can be assigned to each
location?





Third, digital signage content frequently has nothing to do with
commerce. When revenue generation is not the goal of the sign, determining the
ROI on content gets a little squishy. Considerations such as goodwill created
among the public are much harder to 
quantify than dollars and cents.





Even though determining the return on investment of creating
digital signage content can be difficult, it is essential. After all, doing so
is the logical first step in assessing the value of any given digital signage
content campaign.





David Little is a charter member of the Digital Screenmedia
Association with 20 years of experience helping professionals use technology to
effectively communicate. For further digital signage insight from Keywest
Technology, visit our website for many helpful tips and examples. For more
in-depth research from Keywest Technology, download our free 
digital
signage
 white papers and case studies.







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