RetailWire chimes in on digital signage discussion

Published on: 2015-02-05

RetailWire has a BrainTrust query on some research published by SeeSaw Networks and market research firm OTX:

According to a new study, digital signage catches the attention of more people than any other comparable advertising medium. It was also found digital signage to be more interesting than any other medium and more entertaining than every other one except TV.

The survey of 900 adults in July 2007 conducted by OTX (Online Testing eXchange) found that digital signage - defined as videos of electronic images on LCD, plasma or normal TV outside of the home - "catches their attention" for 63 percent of respondents. That's higher than billboards (58 percent), magazines (57 percent), TV (56 percent), internet (47 percent), newspaper (40 percent), and radio (37 percent).

Our take:

WireSpring's Bill Gerba has already commented on this research in a recent Digital Signage News article. What's nice about the BrainTrust query is that it culls the opinions of many other industry pundits and watchers.  Among our favorites are:

I think the most relevant part of this study for the shopper marketing industry is the percent of consumers who would be likely to "text a response" to an offer they saw in the digital signage medium. That is a good testing opportunity for progressive retailers and brands. If any provider wants to test that proposition, please send up a flag. I'll bet many agencies, including MARS, will take a test program opportunity to all clients.

I'd like to understand the engagement/relevance of the content/message/ offer to the target shopper, why the shopper responded and of course a tracker of corresponding sales.

Anne Howe, Sr. Vice President - Market Intelligence, MARS Advertising

As to be expected with any new intrusive medium, the novelty factor no doubt plays into the high awareness results reported here. Instead of a study that asks consumers to report their behavior, I'd rather see a study that observes actual behavior, including viewing, interacting, and purchasing.

Also, the broad nature of the "digital signage" definition used (covering media in a variety of types of public spaces) makes these results only somewhat applicable to digital advertising in the retail environment.

And finally, any study that talks about digital signage's "stopping power" and the entertainment value of programming content is based on a tenuous assumption--that consumers will watch digital signs like they do their TVs at home and like it. This is NOT TV. Shoppers are busy shopping, not lolling in the aisles watching video clips. Attendees at sporting events, or travelers passing through transit hubs or filling up their cars are otherwise engaged.

Do I believe in-store digital media have great value for marketers? You bet I do. So I'm happy to see research that suggests consumers like it. But despite the rectangular, glowing screen, this is not TV. Wallpapering our landscape with too much digital advertising may eventually cause mind-numbing or even antipathy toward the messenger.

James Tenser, Principal, VSN Strategies

Once again we have a research study asking the customer if they like sliced white bread, or a piece of a hearty, healthy and freshly baked multi-grain loaf. Does the customer notice the digital sign? Surely they would, but why stop the questioning there? Does the message played on the sign make the produce more attractive, seem to be a better value, appear more or less expensive, and were you convinced enough about the attributes of the product to buy it? Would you rely on digital signage in the future when you shop at this store for recipe ideas, new product introductions, staff suggestions, etc? What is the best location of digital signage in the store? Is it complementary to the merchandise displays, or are they a distraction? Does the size of the visual display matter to the importance of the product being advertised? How long did you actually spend looking at the digital sign? What messages did you find enticing, which were really a turn-off, why?

Before I would encourage any retailer to introduce a digital sign program in their stores, I would want to know what it can do for the customers, not how much additional revenue the store could make from vendors, or how it will increase the 'cool' factor of the store.

Jerry Gelsomino, Principal, FutureBest

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