Reclaiming the Captive Audience

By April 29, 2015 Blog No Comments

Digital signage networks are everywhere. At the mall, sport stadiums, movie theaters, taxicabs or in the elevator, the outdoor space is covered with screens. These networks provide massive reach, boasting a few hundred thousand consumer exposures daily. Sounds like great sales fodder for network operators, but there’s just one problem. Only a small percentage of consumers are a captive audience, paying attention to on-screen messaging. The passive approach of digital signage networks needs to be reevaluated. To increase the captive audience, operators must now tailor communications to the individual rather than the masses.

At this very moment I’m writing this from seat 21F on a United Airlines flight with a screen directly in front of me. I’ve been exposed to at least 10 commercials during the inflight entertainment, and i can’t recall a single one. There are over 800 million consumers who fly annually worldwide, which is quite an impressive reach. However, only a small fraction of flyers are actually paying attention, providing advertisers with a low ROI.

The primary reason consumers are no longer a captive audience, is the second screen. Smartphones, tablets and now wearables provide users with the content they want, anywhere at anytime. 58% of US adults own a smartphone, a statistic that’s only rising annually. This is an ever increasing challenge for digital signage network operators.

Many digital signage networks were built on antiquated ideals of passive advertising that have difficulty competing with second screens for attention. By shifting the philosophy behind the development, network operators can overcome this challenge.

Don’t know where to start? Here are five strategies that have a positive effect on digital signage networks and resonate with consumers:


1)    Find What They Like
Research the demographic! What hobbies do they have? Music preference? Behaviors? Attitudes? Understanding what makes the demographic tick, shapes the networks look, feel, location, content and approach.


2)    Location Is Everything
Now that there’s an understand of the targeted demographic, find out where they spend their time. Focussing on the location demographic rather is far more important than mass appeal. 10,000 captivated on target consumers delivers far more value than 100,000 second screen zombies.


3)    Be Creative
The demographic and location should influence the overall network design. Tailor the aesthetic and communication using the gathered information to resonate with the target demographic. Putting forth creative effort to deliver a relevant platform will earn a lot of respect and attention.


4)    Partnerships Add Credibility
Potential partnerships can add another layer of interest to the demographic. There are dozens of great digital media companies that can provide relevant and memorable content, enhancing consumers’ daily routine.


5)    Make it an Experience
Two-way brand communication is a golden standard in the digital era. An open and interactive dialogue leads to memorable experiences that no other form of passive advertising can compete with. Weaving in social and mobile components provides multiple ways to encourage the brand conversation


By keeping these recommendations top of mind, digital signage networks will reclaim a captive audience.