Sometimes Less Is More in Digital Signage ROI

RMG_Networks_0814By Dan Brown
RMG Networks

Less is more. It’s a phrase that gets used often and one that came to mind recently as I heard about the results of a company’s decision related to a digital signage deployment.

In this particular instance, the company’s goal was to build out a digital signage network on three different floors of their office building. The company spent tens of thousands of dollars on server hardware, various server software licenses, digital signage software, media players, mounting brackets, video transmitters and receivers, cabling — you get the idea. The list goes on and on and the dollars added up to a large capital investment. Obviously the problem that needed solving was important, so an investment was made.

What could possibly go wrong?

This was an infrastructure install resulting from a move into a new building. In order to cut costs, the company decided to repurpose existing 32″ flat panel displays from their old building. These displays were showing their age. I’m sure you’ve seen the type – the ones that have that have amber tint on the right half of the display like someone spilled coffee on it. Yikes!

The majority of the displays were mounted on a high overhang of inner perimeter hallways. Potential hallway viewers either walked right under the displays without noticing them or had to lean against a cubicle wall and look almost straight up (a la front-row-of movie-theater effect). The displays were also too small to see past the first two rows of cubicles, rendering them ineffective for the other 80 percent of potential viewers.

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After thousands of dollars of investment, skimping on the final and most important part of the digital signage installation ruined the objective of the whole system.

What should have happened?

The company should have heeded the previously mentioned old adage and scaled back. Instead of servicing three floors, they could have deployed only the two most important floors at the onset and invested the third floor savings in larger and higher quality displays.

Hiring a professional digital signage consultant to help plan display locations in order to reach the most viewers (and right viewers) would have yielded a better result and a better ROI. The company’s on screen messaging was important (no doubt) for employees to see. So it stands to reason that the greater the influence the message could deliver, the greater the measurable ROI. Had this influence and ROI been properly recognized, the argument to approve costs to extend the installation to the third floor would have become natural.

This all brings to mind another saying: the most brilliant book cannot be read and appreciated if it isn’t opened. For our market, this translate to a digital signage system isn’t effective if it can’t be seen.

This column was reprinted with permission from the Digital Screenmedia Association and originally appeared here.