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Top tips: Your digital signage investment will be wasted without quality content

The difference between achieving effective or unsavoury digital signage can be less than you think. Here's seven top tips to help ensure you're maximising your investment

The difference between achieving effective or unsavoury digital signage can be less than you think. Here’s seven top tips and tricks from TrouDigital marketing manager and ‘digital signage expert’, Lee Gannon to help you get the most out of your digital signage network

Choosing the right provider will set you off on the right foot but there are faux pas anyone can make, and when you work in the industry, it’s hard not to notice the good and not so good.

Drawing on his insight, digital signage expert Lee Gannon of cloud based digital signage firm TrouDigital, offers his advice on how to create the right content for your digital display(s) and how to avoid irritating problems down the line.

Make the most of templates

When you start designing, it’s easy to be intimidated by the possibilities of a blank canvas. Before adding elements at random, it’s a great habit to design or borrow a template first. This can be a simple background that divides your screen into sections. With pre-allocated spaces for a heading, images and text, you can easily delegate the task of content creation, without needing a graphic designer. Sticking to a handful of templates offers enough variation to make your screens interesting, while maintaining consistency to make your transitions seamless.

Stay on brand! Think colours, font, logo

It is crucial you stay on brand. Treat your screen designs like you would pages on your website. Don’t try and match colours by eye – make sure you use the exact HTML colour codes. The same goes for font. When you’re exploring options like integrating social media, it’s easy to forget the basics like adding your logo but small touches make a big difference.

Don’t try to do too much…

You invested in a signage solution because you were impressed by all the features. It’s easy to get carried away but it’s important to not try too much at once. Think about the main function of a piece of content. If you’ve invested time or money creating a great video, why not show it off? Just because you can compartmentalise a screen doesn’t mean you always should. Showcase your best content full-screen.

Plan out and tweak your playlists

To keep an audience engaged, you need a variety of content, rotated frequently. It’s good practice to plan your playlists in advance. Consider where a screen will be located and how long audiences stick around. In spaces like waiting rooms, content can be displayed for longer. In busy locations such as shopping centres, it’s best to use shorter, attention-grabbing media.

Experiment with the timing and order of your playlists. You should strive to identify optimum durations depending on your audience’s attention span. If you’re starting with 30 seconds per creative, why not try 25 or 35? The most innovative displays are now able to record engagement through features like retina tracking but you can still be old fashioned and ask your audience for feedback.

Advanced scheduling – set and forget

Scheduling content makes life easier. You can often schedule for certain times of the day, week, month or year. Get as granular as you want but a little effort goes a long way. Setting aside time to plan a month or months’ worth of content is a good habit. You can always make changes later but automation gives you some much needed peace of mind.

Advanced scheduling can encourage creativity too. If a holiday or event is coming up, craft content around this. Seasonal content is simple but great for keeping your signage fresh and relevant.

Optimise your network connection

On the rare occasion our support line rings, nine times out of ten the problem is related to network connection. Where possible, I encourage users to use a wired connection. That said, most deployers rely on WiFi and that’s perfectly fine. Just make sure when you are setting up that you try to avoid connecting to a guest WiFi that changes its password regularly.

Pre-emptively ask your IT team about any firewalls that could interfere with the system. Sometimes it’s simply a case of granting permissions to media players, a quick job for a technician.

Compress your media files

Finally, it’s important to compress your media files – especially rich media like large images and videos. There are countless free file compression tools on the internet. Get into the routine of running, at the very least, your video files through one of them before uploading. This will improve the caching speed of your players; minimise the impact of a slow internet connection, and free up space on your CMS – potentially saving you money on additional storage.

Whatever solution you are using, I hope these tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your digital signage network. Lee Gannon