Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Emerging media. The future is ... now?

I meant to post this yesterday as some light holiday reading, but alas I was working, so I forgot. But if you haven't seen it, AdLab has some fantastic pictures and pitches for next-generation advertising media from the 1920s and 30s.

Considering that in-home television didn't even exist back then and printed circulars were only just starting to be used, it's remarkable the lengths that some people thought they'd need to go just to get a shopper's attention. Fast forward to today when it sometimes seems like every outdoor surface is plastered with some offer or other, and people are busily walking around (and even driving?!) staring at the tiny screen of their mobile devices, and the need to break through the clutter seems more apparent.

Of course, when I look at a lot of digital signs I sometimes wonder whether their owners understand the difference between "break through" and "add to".

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Make content? Get your name out in front of hundreds of digital signage companies!

Every now and then I have the chance -- nay the privilege -- to try and turn what ought to be a solicitation for free goods/services into a golden opportunity for those companies savvy enough to know a good thing when they see one. This is one of those times...

In short, POPAI, the organization that has spearheaded a large technical standards effort for the digital signage industry, has just put the finishing touches on the very first digital signage standard for media formats.  The goal of the standard, which will be published shortly, is threefold.  It will:
  • Allow customers buying digital signage software and hardware to know for certain that it will play certain types of media,
  • Allow the makers of said hardware and software to verify that their stuff will in fact play those media, and
  • Allow creatives and agencies to confirm that the media they're producing is likely to play properly on most of the kit out there

Part of the standard is a collection of 31 test content files that vendors will use to test their products.  While a few companies, (most notable among them is Artisan Complete) have volunteered their services to produce these content files, there are still a number that need to be authored.

If you have the ability to author MP3, AVC, MPEG and/or WMV files, you have some royalty free and freely-distributable audio and video content laying around, and you want to gain some exposure inside the digital signage market, this could be a great opportunity. Authoring the files shouldn't take a great deal of time either. We'll supply the necessary graphics, overlay, and output options. You supply some medium- to high-bitrate images or video footage to give the files some visual appeal.

Here's the good part

You also supply your logo. Every file that you author can carry your logo, company name and URL. Since these files will be circulated to hundreds of companies in the industry, and available from POPAI's digital signage standards website for download by any interested parties, you'll gain massive exposure to those companies most active in our industry.


If so, leave me a comment below with your capabilities and contact information and I'll get in touch about the different files that we still need to have authored.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

This week's world of digital signage news

There were some interesting bits and pieces in the news this week, most of which have been covered by the usual suspects already.

One of the articles I've been meaning to write a thoughtful piece around is this one from early April by Three Minds @ Organic. In their usual thorough fashion they question whether privacy is a threat to accuracy when it comes to serving ads online.  Needless to say it can be argued both ways, and of course from my perspective the bigger question is what happens when you trade privacy for increased ad accuracy offline -- namely in digital out-of-home formats?

Chris Hoyt talks about touching the shopper marketing "Elephant" in an article for HUB Magazine. He notes that, "Shopper marketing is today’s marketing elephant — not only because of its size or its power — but because all of the confusion about what it really is reminds us of the parable of the blind men and the elephant." Excellent article, well worth a quick read.

Nielsen Research has shown the Outcast pump-top network (which I still think is a pretty silly name) to be effective, generating a 75% ad recall rate. 90% of patrons indicated they noticed the screens at all, which is very high for any form of out-of-home advertising. Further, 76% found Outcast "entertaining," 72% said they consider it a good source of product information and 71% said the screens improve pumping dwell time. I've heard far more anecdotal complaints than praise for pump-top networks, but of course a handful of personal notes and the like can't stand up to a rigorous, data-driven study (provided it was fair, balanced and well-controlled, of course).

UK Outdoor ad specialist Kinetic introduced new guidelines for OOH,
putting outdoor exposure into the categories of transit, microdwell and dwell, relating to how people are moving when they see ads. I don't have the slightest idea of what those new guidelines might actually be. Maybe Adrian at DailyDOOH can find out for us.

Captivate network, the largest network of in-elevator and high-rise office building digital signage (in North America) continues to expand their online presence and capabilities.  I've mentioned before how much I like the approach that they're taking, so it's very encouraging to see that they're getting results good enough to bother expanding the capability. Specifically, "The [new website], captivate.com, is the first step in a multi-platform strategy that will embrace mobile advertising content. Office workers who saw ads for Captivate.com on the digital network did go online to access the games and additional content, along with special offers and sweepstakes, says Mike DiFranza, founder and president of Captivate Network." In fact, 55% of people who saw new stories on Captivate's elevator network went online to read more, while 52% did so to check out an advertiser website.

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Looking for more digital signage info? Check out WireSpring's Kiosk and Digital Signage blog for in-depth industry analysis and even more news about the digital signage industry. While you're there, feel free to read up on our digital signage software and services

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

New Digital Signage Insider Survey: Where's the Beef?

I posted a new survey on the Digital Signage Insiders blog yesterday in attempt to figure out where our industry is going, and what's holding it up right now (besides a crappy economy and loads of hype, of course). If you're not a regular reader of that blog (you should be!), here's the link to the survey.

As I note in the article, it's 9 questions long, and only takes 2-3 minutes to fill out.

If you like, you can enter your email address at the end of the survey, and I'll email you all of the data when it closes out in a few weeks.

And of course, we'll be providing detailed analysis in a future article, which I'm sure will merit a post here as well.

What're you waiting for? Go take it already!


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The... um... afternoon press - digital signage news for May 5

Hi folks.  Here are some of the more interesting news bits I've come across lately...

McDonalds gives a new, unique meaning to the idea of 'interactive digital signage.' Actually, interactive electronic billboards is more accurate, if you can believe it. Check out the video below:

Ad AdLab, college freshman Evan Savar asks a question about selling ads on his nascent in-bus digital signage network on buses in Las Vegas. Props to Mr. Savar for scratching the entrepreneurial itch so early on. Hope his experience in our industry doesn't turn him off to the business world for life ;)  I left a little free advice in the comments section, and noticed that Haynes has posted his own thoughts on the matter.

Captivate Network, famous for their domination of the screens-inside-elevators market, claim to have cracked the code when it comes to guaranteeing advertiser satisfaction. The secret? According to this press release, a combination of multi-platform offerings, custom research, and engagement metrics. Startling, I know. But I read it in a press release, so it must be true.

Over at Miller|Zell's Inside the Aisle blog there's a nice post about why infomercials and in-store media create lift. I know we've recommended our clients think about their in-store media in terms of direct response-style ads, but something tells me that if Billy Mayes was yelling at shoppers at the top of the aisle, by the bottom of the aisle they'd be ready to leave. I know I would be.

Finally, I know where Dave Haynes is working now, but I promised not to tell just yet.  I'm sure he'll tell you when he's ready -- probably when he's finished sewing his costume together, but possibly not until the scars from the required body modifications heal up a bit more.

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Looking for more digital signage info? Check out WireSpring's Kiosk and Digital Signage blog for in-depth industry analysis and even more news about the digital signage industry. While you're there, feel free to read up on our digital signage software and services