How to measure digital signage ROI
Digital signage has experienced a rapid increase in popularity as more and more organisations realise the value this technology can add. In addition to allowing for live audience interactions, compared to what used to be just static paper advertisements, digital signage creates a prime opportunity for brand building while also influencing customer behaviour in real-time.
It creates a stimulating environment, engaging the customer and impacting short and long term behaviours. However, simply throwing money at digital signage won't deliver the best return on your investment. Here are some guidelines for measuring your digital signage ROI.
Have clear objectives
Each organisation has unique goals and therefore unique requirements for what they expect to get in terms of return on an investment in new technology, products or processes. Your objectives for digital signs may vary throughout your organisation. For example, some signs may be used for keeping employees informed while others may be used to help customers.
First, the organisation should define what their definition of "return" entails. Is it increased sales? Or does it mean increased efficiency yielding time saved for staff? In other words, based on the expectations of the return, what will the signage system be used for? Your objectives for digital signs may vary throughout your organisation. For example, some signs may be used for keeping employees informed while others may be used to help customers.
ROI vs. ROO
Return on investment is important because of its broad applicability. ROI is, at its simplest, hard dollars returned versus hard dollars invested; the gains from your investment less the initial investment cost.
ROI and return on objectives are closely intertwined. For example, digital signs being utilised for wayfinding may not appear to lead directly to increased revenues; however, by freeing up staff time which had previously been spent providing directions to customers, the staff are now available to perform revenue generating activities instead. Thus, the wayfinding system indirectly leads to increased revenues.
When thinking about ROI it is also important to consider the timeframe. Often the ROI in technology needs to be looked at from a longer-term point of view and a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). [Often the ROI on a new technology should be looked at as a long-term investment or in terms of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).]
The cost of investing in a digital signage network in the near term might far outweigh the cost of printing posters or adding additional staff. However, with digital signage you now have the ability to update your screens with real-time information, the option to update a single screen in a certain location for a specific purpose, or the entire network instantly compared to the cost of trying to do that with printed signs or people, ROI and TCO appear a lot more appealing and the processes become a lot more efficient.
Know what to measure
Another, more subjective form of ROI, that may be just as important, is measuring positive feedback from guests before and after installation of digital signage. This can help you determine the impact of the investment and if it is meeting your objectives. Even simply observing people can answer some questions: How long do customers spend in front of a digital sign? How many followed up by buying a sale item advertised on the sign?
Look at advanced measurement tools
If these simple ways to measure digital signage ROI aren't sufficient, technology allows you to establish more detailed measurements. For example, by integrating the Internet of Things and electronic sensors you can measure foot traffic or interactive touch screen responses.
Another, more involved type of ROI measurement involves conducting surveys or interviews and recording people's responses. Did they notice the digital signs? Did they find them helpful?
Measure it, manage it
The old saying "You can't manage what you don't measure," while a cliché, is true. Fortunately, technology is making those measurements easier and more scientific, so businesses can track performance over both the short and long-term. Measuring ROI for digital signage makes sense, particularly for companies that plan to start small and roll out a larger digital signage project or network over time. Calculating ROI on initial projects can influence better ways to do things later on.
Businesses in industries ranging from healthcare to manufacturing to hospitality and more have turned to digital signage solutions for informing employees, communicating important messages, enhancing safety and engaging customers. Making the most of your digital signage investment means calculating ROI and gaining deeper understanding of customer or employee behaviour, so your signage strategy can be fine-tuned for maximum benefit.
By Doug Bannister, founder and CTO, Omnivex (www.digitalsignagetoday.com)