Content will continue to be king for digital signage in 2010, according to longtime industry practitioner Keith Kelsen, who also believes that engagement, measurement, better standards and more investment will play significant roles in helping the industry grow and evolve.
In addition to noting that the digital signage industry still grew 25% in economically challenged 2009, Kelsen – who recently founded “The 5th Screen Project to accelerate digital signage deployments, detailed the top 10 trends he expects to see this year in a recent article in Digital Signage Today:
The top 10 digital signage trends, according to Kelsen:
1. Content will continue to be the #1 trend: Content strategies and discussions, which began to rise to the top of the heap in 2009, will dominate the launch of new networks and the re-thinking of older networks this year. Moreover, content for DOOH will increasingly stand alone during its creative production, but will have more continuity with the other four screens (cinema, TV, PC and mobile) to echo its message across the digital landscape.
2. Experience, engagement and interaction: The engagement factor in digital signage took big leaps in late 2009 with various implementations, but most important was the growth of DOOH billboard interactions with mobile and User Generated Content (UGC). This year the trend will continue to break out with new methods of engagement and more continuity with mobile platforms.
3. Strategic sensibility: Any new network that plans to be a success will take a new strategic approach to creating what Kelsen calls a “Strategic Blueprint.” In addition, those networks will also create a “Network Guideline” – the details and plan for acceptable content that runs on the network. The knowledge base has grown over the last few years and has reached the point where the industry now understands what it takes to meet the ROI and ROO (Return on Objective) requirements. Consulting firms also are on the rise to help guide the uninitiated into creating successful networks.
4. Measurement and acceptance: In 2009 there was a lot of headway made with agencies, partly because of the economic downturn, but also because of aggregators such as SeeSaw and Adcentricity. Moreover, many ad-based networks themselves have made significant inroads into the agencies and brands, aided, in large part, by widely acclaimed and accepted OVAB standards. Further, getting qualified data from respected measurement companies is key to getting agencies and brands on board.
Neuromarketing will also make it presence known in the digital signage world at POS networks. This is where neuroscience meets the marketer and is the latest in the biological study of the human brain and advertising. The goal is to understand how the brain produces behavior and how people choose and how the beginning of that choice is a process that is purely biological. According to neuromarking researchers, it is the act of deciding whether to make that purchase in 2.5 seconds.
5. Software improvements in delivery of messages and ads: Delivering the right message to the right audience is a difficult, manual process that takes time. To aid this process, rule-based software and intelligent dynamic delivery of content will make some strides this year. This will happen in conjunction with building content in layers as individual components will create a new dynamic that will enable anyone to book an ad and have it delivered automatically to any audience on any network in any geographic location and be relevant.
6. Progress in content standards: This has been on the industry agenda for many years. POPAI has made some progress in this area, but adoption is coming out of the need for advertising agencies to book across diverse networks with different needs and formats. It is a huge problem for agencies and brands, especially for the creative types. However, Kelsen predicts that a lot more progress will be made on this frontas digital signage software companies begin to accept wider array of content on their system and have open APIs that will help connect content, metadata, playlists and networks together. Those companies that do so now are already ahead of the game. This is a must for new ad networks that are built in 2010.
7. We will hit the “tipping point” in 2010: The strides that the industry has taken in 2009 were tremendous on several accounts:
- High growth in the industry (considering the economy)
- Ad-based network revenues were up
- Mergers and acquisitions were at reasonable numbers that actually made sense
- Investment was significant even in a down economy
- The Digital Signage Association hit 400 members and now has clout.
- Education has been excellent at the industry events
- More agency and brand acceptance (because of the economy)
- OVAB Standards are accepted by agencies and are here to stay.
8. Large-scale 2010 projects will be at an all-time high: There are significant number of RFPs and large projects that are slated for 2010 because the digital signage and DOOH industry is learning what works and what doesn’t. In some networks, what’s working is all about the eyeballs. In others it is about the sales lift, and for others it is about information, among other things.
9. More mergers and acquisitions and more investment into the space: Money generally follows the sound proven business models. Consolidation through mergers and new investment will be one of the hottest trends in 2010. With less than a million screens penetrated into the marketplace, DOOH made news on every venture capitalist’s and investment banker’s desk in 2009 and media companies such as TV and internet will look to digital signage as a new horizon. The funds for this media growth are going to be divided between mobile and digital signage as these two new mediums battle for attention.
10. Growth in ad-based networks and shift in ad dollars: The shift in ad dollars – which was in Kelsen’s 2009 top-10 trends – is still relevant for 2010. The success of ad networks in 2009 (brands looking to reach the consumer in more relevant ways) was significant and 2010 will find more networks being built to service the appropriate markets. Expanding networks are finding that the business models they worked so hard on refining are going to pay off with viable profitable companies in 2010. This, in combination with past success, will help new networks spring up and ad dollars flow.
Finally, the cost of building networks is way down. To build the same network that was built in 2005-2006 – including the experimental business models, mistakes, and software and gear – is far less than half of the original investment, Kelsen noted.