Selecting and developing exterior digital signs


By Craig Berger

The cost of digital signs has continued to drop in recent years, making them increasingly accessible to retailers and institutions, but they are still an enormous commitment in money and time to install and manage. Before developing a digital sign strategy, it is important to understand the return on investment (ROI).

Return on experience

There are multiple metrics and approaches an organization can use to justify the need for digital signs. One simple option, which encapsulates most of the metrics needed to make a decision, is return on experience (ROE).1 To determine ROE, one should consider three elements related to effective digital sign decision-making.

Brand identity

An exterior digital sign supports and improves the organization’s brand and can have an enormous impact on the community’s view of the institution. Improving brand identity can include reducing clutter, using the sign as a community resource, and/or creating engaging, non-obtrusive content.

Media channels

Digital signs can compete on cost per impression with many advertising mediums—including television, radio, and newspapers—but that does not mean simply installing a sign will be cost-effective without a clear sales plan and strategy.

Digital signage is more expensive to start up and operate, but grows more cost-effective when properly integrated into a larger strategy that maximizes the number of impressions per sign while driving content impact.

Companies employ a combination of approaches to analyze return, each one unique to the organization’s strategy for achieving success. One can analyze how successful companies integrate signs in their value calculations by observing those companies. A number of successful digital signage attributes can be found in the Signs and the Downtown Experience report developed by the Sign Research Foundation.2

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