Do’s and Don’ts for digital signage [+VIDEO]

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Digital signage has been tried, tested and proven to boost engagement and revenue in any sector and application, but there are challenges.

Just because you have all the right hardware and software, it doesn’t automatically mean that your digital signage will be a success. 

It’s what you do with it that counts. So, to help you avoid common mistakes, and keep you on track, we’ve compiled a go-to list of dos and don’ts.

Top 15 do’s and don’ts for digital signage

1/ Do first consider what content you need and where

2/ Do think about viewing distances and lighting 

3/ Don’t forget the installation viewing angle

4/ Do ensure your screens are suitable for their environment

5/ Don’t cram the screen with text

6/ Don’t fill the entire screen with content

7/ Do use legible sized text and in contrasting colours

8/ Don’t miscalculate digital signage ratios and file sizes

9/ Do make the most of multimedia content 

10/ Do create time-appropriate content

11/ Don’t neglect the audio

12/ Don’t forget a call to action 

13/ Do have a detailed content management strategy

14/ Do adopt an “always-on” strategy

15/ Don’t stay stuck in the past

1/ Do first consider what content you need and where

Before making any investment in your digital signage network, consider what content you need and where.

Why do you need digital signage? Who are you trying to reach? Where do you need people to see your digital signage messaging?

The answer to these questions will determine your digital signage requirements, in terms of both the hardware and the software. 

If you’re planning, for example, content for a high-end boutique, then you’re likely to require more sophisticated on-screen graphics to appeal to customers. For this, you’re probably going to need displays that support higher resolution content, as well as players with higher processing power.

The kind of in-store environment and feel you want to create will also determine what your digital signage and content will look like. 

If you’re targeting a younger audience, then you might want to invest in a content management solution that enables you to incorporate RSS feeds of MTV and social media alongside your promotional messaging.

For small stores, you won’t be able to fit the largest screens, not if you want customers to have enough space to view the on-screen content. But equally, if you end up with screens that are too small, your content will be just as hard for customers to see. 

Franchisors, or retail chains will also have to think about how to manage multi-store digital signage. Different stores may well have legacy hardware from different brands, so your content management solution will have to be compatible with them all.

2/ Do think about viewing distances and lighting

Once you’ve assessed the kind of environment in which your digital signage is going to be installed, you’re in a much better position to understand what you need. 

To ensure you select the right screen size and screen resolution, it’s important to calculate the viewing distance required for every display by estimating the distance from which your customers will view them. 

Remember, that the closer your customers are likely to be to the screen, the better the picture quality required.

Signagelive has created a quick look guide to help you work out what screen size and resolution would work best from which distances.

The harsher the glare of the sun, the higher the brightness levels required for your screens. For bright environments, you’ll need screens with at least 1,000-nit brightness. 

If you’re planning on using your digital signage for a window display, then you’ll need screens with even higher brightness levels of 2,500 nits or more.

3/ Don’t forget the installation viewing angle

While you would normally want to install your screens at eye level, there are exceptions, depending on the application. 

So, for example, for environments, such as airports, where high installations are required, you might want to consider a 30-degree tilting installation to offer a more comfortable viewing experience.

4/ Do ensure your screens are suitable for their environment

While it’s easy to remember the additional weather-proof requirements for outdoor signage, it’s sometimes more difficult to keep in mind the screen requirements for individual indoor venues.

If your digital signage environment is likely to be unattended, you might want to invest in digital signage that comes with a protective, tamper-proof screen. 

It’s also always worth thinking about the on-site conditions. If you’re planning to install some digital signage in a swimming pool hall, for example, you might want to consider if the screens need to be splash-proof. And, if they are, say, in the vicinity of a hot tub, you will also need to check if they can deal with the humidity levels.

5/ Don’t cram the screen with text

While it might be tempting to pack in as much information as possible on-screen, the reality is that this will do more harm than good. 

Less is more when it comes to content. 

Remember the golden “3×5” rule. In any on-screen ad, never use more than three lines of text, each made up of five words, or five lines of text, each made up of three words.

Don’t overload the screen with too many images. If the screen is too busy, your customer will miss what it is you’re actually trying to promote.

6/ Don’t fill the entire screen with content

To prevent any parts of your content from being cut off by the edges of the screen, always leave a white space around it.

7/ Do use legible sized text and in contrasting colours

The last thing your on-screen advertising needs is text that’s too small to read, and that blends into the background. So always ensure that your text is legible from the desired viewing distance, and that its contrasts in colour from the screen background. It’s always easy to make an impression, if you use, for instance, black text on a white or light background, or vice versa.

8/ Don’t miscalculate digital signage ratios and file sizes

It won’t matter how good your content looks if it doesn’t fit and display on your screens properly. Whenever you prepare any content, never lose sight of the digital signage ratios that you’ll need. 

  • 16.9 ratios for horizontal screens, and 
  • 9.16 ratios for portrait screens.

If you don’t want to lose any time uploading your content, then you’ll also need to make sure that the file sizes you use are supported. 

As a general rule, 2-3MB file sizes usually work well, enabling you to display high resolution cloud-based content easily, even if the WiFi connection should become weaker.

9/ Do make the most of multimedia content

If you’re going to make the most of your LED digital signage TVs, then you should definitely schedule some animated or video content. 

According to recent research from Wyzowl, 84% of customers say they are more likely to buy a product if they see it advertised in a video.

With digital signage software, such as Signagelive, you don’t necessarily have to start out by making new costly videos yourself. 

The Signagelive Marketplace offers some entirely free, or cost-effective options that enable you to feature video in your media schedule. 

Our free-to-use YouTube app ensures that you can make the most of any existing company videos, or any related content from channels on the platform. 

Subscription-based apps, such as Seenspire allow you to stream video content feeds from a multitude of news and entertainment sources. Ideal for attracting the attention of passers-by, these streams of content can be featured alongside your promotional offers in a multi-zone digital signage template design.

10/ Do create time-appropriate content

How long your content sequences should run depends on the application for which your digital signage is used.

  • For busy shopping environments, where customers are unlikely to be able to stop, content should be around 30 seconds long

For coffee shops, receptions, and lobbies, where visitors may stay longer, content should be between 30 seconds – 2 minutes long

  • For waiting rooms, and restaurants, where people tend to sit down for protracted periods, content should be between 2 minutes and 2 minutes, 30 seconds long

11/ Don’t neglect the audio

If you’re keen for people to hear the audio on your video, don’t forget to consider if this will be possible in your digital signage environment. 

Will there be background noise? Might there be occasions on which loud audio could ruin the ambiance of your environment, or interrupt any sales activity going on in, for example, a showroom, or car dealership?

12/ Don’t forget a call to action

A call-to-action boosts the chances of advertising success, enabling you to seize the moment and capitalise on any interest shown. 

While you have the attention of customers, you can ask them to use interactive screens to enter a competition on social media, or to register for a loyalty card.

Just remember to keep the interaction simple. The general rule of thumb is to make sure any call to action can be completed in a maximum of three interactions with the screen. 

Another important consideration is to leave enough space in the venue for customers to use and gather around the touch screen. 

This is equally significant for any scenario, in which you decide to use web trigger APIs to develop interactive experiences, such as lift and learn solutions. 

You could, for instance, end up losing customer interest, if your lift and learn display shelf doesn’t allow enough space in a shop aisle for customers to interact with the products, and the screen.

Even if your screens aren’t interactive, it’s still possible for you to create an immediate call to action. 

Displaying QR codes on-screen is just one way to motivate passers-by to interact with your content. 

QR codes can be used for almost any promotional purpose, from directing customers to more information, to a registration page, or even a company app, or special offer. 

13/ Do have a detailed content management strategy

This means understanding who will manage your content and how. Without this detailed pre-planning, you could end up with screens that are either under-utilised, or that frequently end up showcasing the wrong content at the wrong time.

Decide who your content editors and administrators will be and work out who will ultimately have the authority to approve and upload content, and for which screens.

With features, such as Signagelive Granular User Permissions, you can select which users or user groups have access, and permission to schedule content for some or all the screens.

14/ Do adopt an “always-on” strategy

This means assigning personnel to ensure the smooth running of your digital signage. 

Blank screens, off or on, are going to do nothing for your business, so it’s well worth taking the time to appoint a local user to check on your network regularly and to be on hand to arrange for any potential replacements and product updates.

With features, such as the Signagelive proactive monitoring tool, you can also check on your digital signage 24/7, even if you and your team are not physically there on-site. 

Enabling you to minimise the risk of any network downtime, this tool sends you updates as frequently as you want, but only if there is an issue with your network.

15/ Don’t stay stuck in the past

Digital signage gives you an unprecedented opportunity to deliver up-to-the-minute, relevant, and even contextual content. 

It’s this fresh content that makes all the difference, so don’t waste time recycling old material. 

If you hit a dry spell and run out of content, you can find a whole host of content tools to help, many of which are free to use. The Signagelive Marketplace is packed full of content apps, including free tools, such as Noticeboards to make simple, but professional notices and Webpage to enable you to display your own website page on-screen, or any other preferred URL. 

If you would like to discuss how Signagelive could support your digital signage plans, then please reach out to us here.