Digital signage and large format advertising is proven to drive customer interactions and increase sales for businesses. But whether large format digital displays are used to show sales offers, restaurant menus or give directions, the technology used to display these messages is only half of the prospect. Content remains king, which is why digital signage needs creative agencies. These creative agencies are winning new business and recognition by producing dynamic and attention grabbing work that stands out from the ever-busy advertising crowd.
The sales of digital signage systems show a massive increase in units sold within the past 12 months, according to AV magazine, which suggests retailers and public information display markets have increased investment in large format digital display tech by over 300 per cent. This in turn shows the potential of the content creation market for creative agencies and studios who can focus on producing the necessary media for these displays. And with the global digital signage market showing growth of more than 40 per cent year on year, it’s a potentially lucrative market for fast-moving creative agencies and studios to move in to.
Creative agencies play a role in the digital display market in two ways. The first is in consulting and advising on the way in which a business’ messages can be communicated to audiences. The second is producing the required content.
In much the same way as web agencies research a particular audience, build a well-designed site that fits its needs and then populate it with content, the large format digital display/digital signage market requires the same expertise. A range of recent research reports project worldwide sales of digital signage technology to reach over $30 billion by 2020. And that’s not considering the necessary spend on the creative media content required by businesses.
Digital content has already proven a strong return on investment for customer facing businesses, and so savvy marketers are becoming attuned to the idea that this should reach beyond a simple website offering. The leading UK video games store GAME is currently installing more than 1,300 digital signage players into its 320 high street stores. The retailer is aiming to improve the customer experience, reduce costs and respond more quickly to market shifts; while at the same time showing snippets from new releases and other active media.
Trainer and shoe retailer Size? has embarked upon a similar process, installing digital signage in some of its UK stores, with creative content including real-time offers and new release advertising all shown to its in-store customers. Shoe? commissioned creative agency Prescription London to produce a series of standard video ads, as well as seasonal variations which the retailer can deploy should the weather be wet and windy – with CTAs highlighting Wellington and boot offers – or sunny and dry – offering flash sales on Converse sneakers and sandals.
The key for creative agencies is to produce a seamless approach between a brand’s website and its digital signage/large format advertising offering, mimicking the customer journey from online to in-store.
Creative agencies like Array Interactive have found something of a niche in the digital signage market. The agency was commissioned last year by Macerich, one of the largest mall owners in the US, to provide content strategy and creation for the firm’s digital signage. With over 74 million square feet of retail space across the US, Macerich has invested heavily in digital signage and recognises the importance of dynamic content. As well as establishing a digital signage brand identity, Array Interactive produced a multitude of seasonal and location-specific content, as well as digital menus and ads displaying live music and events information.
Digital signage/large format advertising is fast becoming the first interaction between retailers and customers who come across brands on the high street and within physical retail spaces. With constant new tech developments, digital signage is now more than just a screen on the wall. The emergence of System On a Chip (SoC) and Plug and Play technology (like the ASUS SD55-YB series) through to Google Chromeboxes for and the Chromebit – Google’s micro PC on a stick – means entry costs are tumbling. Businesses can now focus on attracting and retaining passing customers through dynamic and provoking content, and this is where forward thinking creative agencies can help them.