Most of the people we speak to about digital signage are first-time adopters, researching the technology for the first time. Rather than replacing an outdated or under-performing digital solution, they are actually replacing traditional media such as posters and noticeboards. When considered in this light, the question becomes digital signage vs print – which is the right fit for your environment?
In this short article, we discuss the benefits of digital vs traditional media for both audiences and brands or organisations.
An Advancing Digital Landscape
While print has been around for centuries, it is screens that we today spend a great deal of our time looking at. In a world where almost everyone has a smart-phone and personal computer, we are conditioned to consume information and media in this way. Often today when we find ourselves sat in a waiting room area, we’ll reach for the screen in our pocket, rather than re-read the same posters on the wall over and over again. You could say we have become desensitised to traditional print. Most of us get our news in the form of apps or social media rather than in hard copies.
Where does this place digital signage? The technology (which refers to digital screens or displays used to show multi-media content) has established itself in the middle ground between old and new mediums. In a wide range of environments, digital screens imitate static posters resembling sleek portrait panels rather than the television set in your front room. Other deployments come in more futuristic formats with interactive touch screens and kiosks, or impressive multi-screen video walls, not out of place among modern art installations.
While deployers might vary in ambition, scale and budget, the rise of digital signage in favour of old-school paper displays is an omnipresent trend. You only need to walk down the high street and count the number of digital screens looking back at you or use public transport at a station or airport.
The Benefits To Captive Audiences
Having discussed the context from which digital signage has emerged, we can first turn our attention to the benefits to its audiences. Whatever the environment whether you are serving customers in a shop, guiding visitors at an event or communicating with students at a school, the quality of information is of the utmost importance. It goes without saying that traditional media and print is limited to static text and pictures. For a long time, there was no alternative so eye-catching pictures and attention-grabbing language were the only weapons in a marketers’ arsenal. The value that could be communicated to audiences was determined by how effectively you could struggle to hold their attention.
Today, however, the playing field has evolved.
In a recent study, for example, 93% of marketers said video would be a priority in 2019. This broader media trend has perhaps been a factor in the rise of digital signage’s popularity as it offers a unique way to get video content in front of physical audiences, as opposed to through the web. Through richer content formats such as video, audiences can be better engaged in a way they are increasingly used to. How many consumers today watch product reviews on YouTube before making a purchase decision? With digital signage, this behaviour can be better catered for in retail environments.
The key to maintaining a captive audience is to tailor their experience with your brand, business or organisation. If you serve generic content on posters to everyone that walks past, there’s a good chance a lot of your messaging will be irrelevant to them. Interactive digital signage brings a new level of personalisation to your audience. Visitors to your premises can call up content on a screen to find where they need to go or information about a product they are interested in. This feature alone unlocks previously unachievable value for audiences vs print media.
The Advantages To Deployers – Brands and Organisations
Moving to digital signage – what’s in it for you as an investor and deployer?
The first issue to address is the question of cost. When people first come across digital signage, they assume the technology will be expensive and beyond the restraints of their budget. The good news is that screens and software packages have fallen dramatically in recent years, becoming accessible to even the smallest of organisations.
The point some people fail to recognise in the digital signage vs print debate is the costs involved with traditional media in the first place. Take an estate agency, for example, where we frequently have this conversation. The price of regularly creating or updating, printing and replacing traditional paper posters or LED light pockets in a window display can be surprisingly high. Any environment where information needs to be updated regularly creates a high turnover of paper media and a cost associated with this, not only in materials but more notably time. The problem is compounded if your business has to outsource this graphic design and print work to a third party or marketing agency.
The advantage of digital signage vs print as a content creator and distributor is the ability to regularly update your screens for no additional cost. Even if you are displaying like-for-like posters, a digital screen can cycle through these images in a way that saves your organisation precious space. In industries with large libraries of content such as showrooms and dealerships, this feature is absolutely crucial to distributing information about large inventories of products such as kitchen suites or vehicles. User-friendly content creation platforms, such as our own, can also alleviate the need to hire expensive graphic designers as anyone can quickly put together a presentation or digital poster in a ‘drag and drop’ studio.
While digital signage obviously entails an upfront investment in hardware (screens and media players), over time it has been proven to pay for itself. Depending on the deployment, this can be realised in a number of ways. It might be cutting down the time wasted by staff members on menial tasks like changing print media. It could be reducing the money spent on outsourcing design work. For businesses with a product or service to offer, the ROI is even more direct creating an engaging way to sell. If you are a kitchen showroom, for example, a single sale created by digital signage vs print can pay for the upgraded solution long into the future.
Digital Signage vs Print – Case Closed
If you have been debating whether to upgrade to digital signage from traditional mediums such as posters or noticeboards, hopefully, this post has outlined some of the reasons you might want to future-proof your communications and take the plunge. If you would like to discuss going digital further, send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office on 02380 981110.