Okay, so this seems like a straightforward question, right? I mean, everything is digital these days, right? So you should just go right out and get a screen, and an app, and a tablet.
Hold up. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. There are four things you can look at to determine whether or not you should be using digital media.
The Audience. Would a digital media network work? If the audience is constantly in motion, someplace like a transit station, then a static sign might be a better choice. If they do loiter, how long do they spend loitering in the space? Another question: Does your venue incur frequent visitors? If so, a digital sign can rotate content much faster than hanging static signs, so the message is fresh. Audience research is critical to any deployment.
The Message. Does the message need to be digital? If the information you intend to share requires it, digital signage might be a better fit. But remember, that means that a) the message requires some sort of digital treatment – like animation, and b) the audience can get greater value out of the dynamic message.
Feeding The Beast. If you put a digital screen up in your venue, you need to put content on it. It makes no sense to spend an enormous amount of money on a slick HDTV when you have only one thing to say. This is called ‘Feeding the Beast,’ and there are two parts to this: a) You have a lot of things you want to say, and b) you have someone to manage it. Think about the short and long term needs of yourself here. There might be a bunch of advertisers that are interested in speaking to your audience right now. What about a year from now? Two years?
Physical Abuse. The physical abuse that a screen must endure will factor heavily into the hardware you put in the venue. Is this screen going to be interactive? If so, it needs to be near the ground, but then you have kids who will treat it like their favorite kick ball. Is the sign static? If so, it may be up on a wall, which requires less physical protection.
At the end of the day, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. And when you think about these four factors, you could very well make up your mind before spending any money.
[Image: Myki Roventine]