What is Digital Signage? The Comprehensive Guide

Introduction to Digital Signage

On hearing ‘Digital Signages’ for the first time, we might often wonder what they could be?

We are surrounded by them and use them in our day to day activities, we just don’t use the word signages that often.

So what are digital signages?

Digital Signage are those giant screens you see at retail stores that are used to promote offers or discounts, or those menu board screens at restaurants, or any screen that businesses use to promote their offerings and services.

They carry a universal appeal and can be used in every industry be it retail, hospitality, healthcare, education, religious institutes, movie theatres, art galleries and more.

Whether it’s enticing shoppers with exclusive deals, guiding patients through healthcare facilities, or enlightening students with educational content, digital signages seamlessly integrate into various settings, enhancing communication and engagement.

why use digital signage over traditional signage
The traditional billboards do carry a charm but they are clearly not as versatile and operationally efficient as digital signages. These electronic signs replace the need for recurrent prints, costs and manual updates with cost-effective, quick and remote approaches.

Here are the reasons why digital signages are a clear choice over traditional billboards:

  1. They are cost effective
  2. They are easy to use and operate
  3. They are more secure compared to the traditional billboards
  4. They can be operated remotely
  5. They help with targeted messaging
  6. They are more conducive with environment friendly approach

What does a digital signage system include?

Digital Signages do not include just the screens. They need software to function and you also need to design or build content to display the content.

So when we combine these 3 elements together – The screens, the software and the content – they form a digital signage system.

Any television screen can function as digital signage. Yet, to create an effective digital signage system, it’s crucial to have the right software that fulfils your specific requirements. Additionally, compelling content is essential to complete the system and engage your audience effectively.

What does digital signage hardware include?

digital signage supported hardware

Normally the digital signage hardware is not just limited to the TV screen. It comprises of several components that includes 3 things:

a) The main TV Screen – Depending on the budget and the screen size preferred, the TV screen can be procured accordingly. If your TV screens are going to run for longer durations of the day, you can go for Commercial TVs.

b) The Signage Player – The signage media play is used to connect the TV screen to the software used to display content on screens. Some TVs come with in-built media players. If not, you can get external hardware that will act as the signage player.

c) The Mounting Hardware – Brackets and cables are normally used to securely install the screens on walls or suspend them from ceilings. In most cases, the signages are mounted and hence you need both brackets and cables to mount the TV screens.

Digital Signage Software

The software is crucial to establish a seamless connection between the hardware and the network to stream the content on the TV screens. So, sound and robust software is very important to effectively use the system and make the most of it. The digital signage software typically involves two things:

a) A CMS solution to create and manage the content

free digital signage apps for content management

The CMS solution helps you to pretty much create and distribute any kind of content that you need.

Right from creating or designing your content, uploading your own content, scheduling it to adding apps or widgets to have content specific displays – the CMS solution acts as a complete package to help you distribute a variety of content.

b) Cloud Hosting

As opposed to a signage software hosted locally or on-premise, a cloud based digital signage solution is much better and reliable. It helps you distribute, manage and update content on the screens from anywhere. People sitting across different corners of the world can remotely manage content on the TV screens with ease.

Content for digital signage screens

The content on digital signage screens can be designed from within the software or you can get it designed with some professional help. As much as the hardware, the software to manage the content is important, it is equally crucial to have the right content as well on your screens to get the best out of your signage solution. Make sure to follow the latest industry standards and the trends that are being followed to get the maximum results from your digital signages.

With DotSignage, you get the ability to design your own content with the in-built template editor. With the 750+ in-built templates built, you have the flexibility to design the kind of template that you need.

How does a Digital Signage System work?

Most digital signage solutions follow a standard process that makes it easier for all the users to use it efficiently and quickly.

a) Content Creation This could either be from the in-built widgets or apps in the system or could be already created and uploaded to the system.

b) Scheduling If you have the requirement wherein the content needs to be scheduled time wise or day wise, it can be done via the scheduling feature.

c) Device Zoning If you are planning to divide your screens into different sections, you can do so with the device zoning feature.

d) Device Linking Once the content, the screen layout and everything else has been created, the last step is linking the device to the system.

e) Updating and Publishing As and when needed, the content can be updated and republished remotely.

What are the different type of digital signage's?

1) Commercial-grade LED Screens

Commercial grade LED screens are designed for professional environments keeping robustness and durable performance standards in mind. They are meant to deliver clear cut visual experience and energy efficient work making them a perfect fit for huge organizations that are looking for resilient screen performances.

2) Commercial grade LCD Screens

LCD screens are great for showing stuff. They use less power than LED screens. But they can’t bend like LEDs, so you can’t put them on curved surfaces. The brightness and contrast level of LCD screens is less compared to LEDs though any business that is looking to follow a budget can easily go for the LED screens and still expect good performance.

3) DOOH Advertising Displays

DOOH displays, also known as ‘Digital Out-of-Home’ displays are the screens that are placed in public spaces like shopping malls, airports, bus stops or any area that caters to a larger audience in general. They are mostly used for advertising campaigns in big spaces and have the ability to offer high engagement leading to better results in your advertising efforts.

4) Video Walls

You surely must have seens those giant screens combined and placed at a single location to give you vivid, life altering and magical display of videos that bring more grandness to your walls.

These video walls are meant to bring the wow effect and are often created by combining and placing TV screens in a way that they as a whole look like a big TV screen.

You might find these video walls in retail spaces, corporate offices, events or galleries.

5) Interactive Kiosks

Interactive kiosks are like self-service terminals because they are like touchscreen displays and allow users to perform several operations like transactions, ordering, navigating and more.

They are mostly found in areas like airports, museums, malls, retail stores and more.

6) Wayfinding Displays

As the name suggests, wayfinding displays are typically used to help people find their way across larger spaces like airports, hospitals, shopping malls or even huge educational or university spaces.

Large spaces often are not easy to navigate and hence a wayfinding guide is important. The wayfinding displays are versatile and so they cannot just be used to display routes but also for a variety of different purposes like displaying emergency messages, announcements and more.

7) Digital Menu Boards

coffee cafe using digital signage

Digital menu boards are used to display your menu boards on TV screens and manage them with ease from anywhere. You often see huge brands like McDonand’s, KFC, Subway and more using them.

They give the restaurants the ability to edit and update menu boards remotely, design menu boards as needed and also mark items that are out of stock taking end user needs in mind.

8) Corporate Communication Displays

Corporate communication displays, as the name suggests, are typically used by corporations for internal communication, to make announcements, teamwork activities to employee engagement, enhance workplace culture, and ensure that all staff members are informed and aligned with the company’s goals and initiatives.

9) Electronic Shelf Labels

Electronic Shelf Labels are used as a replacement to price tags. They are mostly used in retail spaces as electronic price tags. ESLs offer numerous benefits to retailers, including increased operational efficiency, reduced labour costs associated with manual price labelling, and improved accuracy in pricing updates.

Since they can be managed remotely, they are much easier to work with and offer more flexibility compared to regular traditional price tags.

Must have features for digital signage

1) Easy content management

The signage software should make it easier for the end customer to create and manage content on the TV screen with ease. Right from the ability to create content inside the system to the flexibility of uploading created content, everything should be easily manageable with the digital signage solution.

2) Remote handling

The said solution should offer the ability to manage content on the TV screens remotely from a central location thus saving time and resources. Along with that, the solution should offer the ability to check what is being played on which screen to make it easy for the user to check the content being played on different remotely placed screens.

3) Real-time updates

Make sure the software has features that help you display time sensitive information on the screens with ease like emergency alerts, news updates, or anything that needs to be updated real time like sales reports, revenue figures, powerpoints slides and much more.

4) Customizable templates

The signage software should offer you options to design and edit your templates from within the system. Both the ability to design the templates from scratch or customize them as you need should be open for the users.

5) Scheduling

The digital signage software solution should offer you the option of scheduling your content well in advance time wise or day wise as you need. This feature has the ability to ease out a lot of operations and save time. So a digital signage solution should have this feature.

6) Multimedia Support

The digital signage solution should offer support to a variety of content so it gets easier for the users to upload any kind of content. The content can be in the form of JPEGs, PNGs, MP4 videos, third party apps, HTML5 and much more.

7) Security

The system should be cloud-based, should be hosted on a reliable server and should also offer the ability to grant role-based access inside the system to restrict access to sections or parts of the system.

8) Scalability

The solution should be scalable enough both in terms of the features as well as the number of screens you can have in the system. It should be flexible enough to help you make easy and quick updates to a number of screens with just a few clicks.

Use cases for digital signage solution

Digital signages carry a universal appeal. They can be used in any kind of industry that is looking to display engaging content to its targeted audience with ease.

The use for different industries might be different but the end goal is always to garner more engagement, more conversions, sales, improve the reach and establish a strong brand image.

Some industries that are known to widely use the signage solution are

1. Hospitality Industry

restaurant using pizza digital menu boards

The hospitality industry is widely known to use digital menu boards. Even a new restaurant that is starting out plans on using digital menu boards to save on the recurrent paper print costs, the costs of getting the menus designed and the time that goes in getting the menus updated.

The industry, being fast paced, expects a solution that makes it easier for the restaurant owners to get things done at fingertips.

This is where the digital menu boards come in handy. They are easy to manage and help you update your menu boards from anywhere.

Franchise owners who are looking to streamline their operations and manage updates everywhere from a centralized location can do so easily with a sound and reliable digital menu board solution.

Different ways signages can be used in the hospitality industry:

  1. As Digital Menus
  2. For events and promotions
  3. Scheduling Menus
  4. Information Displays
  5. Feedback and surveys
  6. Branding and Guest Engagement

2. Retail Industry

retail mall using digital signage for sale promotion

The retail industry is always on the lookout of smart ways to get more engagement from their customers. Digital signages are super flexible and help them create and promote almost anything on the go.

Digital Signages can be used for:

  1. Promotional Displays
  2. Product Information and Demos
  3. Brand Storytelling
  4. Real-time updates and announcements
  5. Brand Storytelling
  6. Customer Engagement

Be it launching of new stock, black friday sale, marketing of the best sellers or celebrity promotions – everything can be done with digital signages.

The charm and appeal of digital signages helps retail stores magnetize their promotions and add more to sales.

At the end of the day, it’s not just about broadcasting promotions; it’s about weaving narratives that resonate with customers. Digital signages transform mundane shopping trips into memorable adventures.

3. Corporates

new joinee employee welcome screen template

Corporates are always on the lookout of ways to keep their employees and visitors more engaged and enhance the feeling of teamwork. Adding to that, digital signages add to enhancing many operational functions at corporations.

Digital Signages can be used for:

  1. Internal Communication
  2. Employee Recognition
  3. Training and Development
  4. Wayfinding Guides
  5. Event Promotions
  6. Welcoming Visitors/Clients

With the multifaceted nature of the digital signages, screens placed at different corporate offices can be used for a variety of purposes.

Using these displays effectively, companies can make engaging experiences that bring people together, boost work efficiency, and strengthen company values.

4. Educational Sector

how digital signage works for school

Universities, colleges and campuses can put digital signs to use for a variety of purposes. Digital signages serve as dynamic information hubs, providing students, faculty, and visitors with real-time updates on school events, announcements, and schedules. By displaying timely information in prominent locations such as lobbies, cafeterias, and common areas, digital signages ensure that everyone stays informed and connected.

Digital signages enable schools to communicate emergency alerts and safety protocols quickly and effectively. In the event of a crisis, administrators can use digital signages to convey important instructions and updates to students, staff, and visitors, ensuring a prompt and coordinated response.

How can digital signages be used by educational institutes:

  1. Announcements and Information Sharing
  2. Wayfinding and Navigation
  3. Promoting Events and Activities
  4. Emergency Alerts
  5. Highlight Start Students
  6. Displaying newly launched courses

What are the benefits of digital signage software?

Investing in digital signage may require upfront costs for hardware, software, content, and media players. However, the benefits far exceed these initial expenses over time.

Enhanced engagement, real-time updates, and dynamic content capture audience attention more effectively. Additionally, the flexibility to customize messages, manage content remotely, and measure results provides businesses with valuable tools for success.

Despite the initial investment, the long-term advantages of digital signage outweigh the costs, making it a worthwhile investment for businesses seeking to enhance communication, drive sales, and elevate their brand image.

Here are the clear benefits of using digital signages:

Investing in digital signage may require upfront costs for hardware, software, content, and media players. However, the benefits far exceed these initial expenses over time.

Enhanced engagement, real-time updates, and dynamic content capture audience attention more effectively. Additionally, the flexibility to customize messages, manage content remotely, and measure results provides businesses with valuable tools for success.

Despite the initial investment, the long-term advantages of digital signage outweigh the costs, making it a worthwhile investment for businesses seeking to enhance communication, drive sales, and elevate their brand image.

a) Better Reach to your Targeted Audience

With targeted content specifically designed for our main audience, you can grab better reach and attention to your marketing campaigns. Digital signages give you the flexibility to tailor your content to specific demographics, interests and preferences of your audiences.

By leveraging the adaptability of digital signage, we can deliver impactful campaigns that drive greater reach and generate heightened levels of interest and response from our audience.

b) Increased Engagement

Digital signage engage viewers with exciting content like videos and animations. They grab attention and invite interaction.

Customizable content and flexible scheduling keep digital signage engaging and effective.

The dynamic nature and versatility of digital signage make them powerful tools for driving audience engagement and enhancing the effectiveness of marketing efforts.

c) Easy to use

Digital signage are much more easy to use and function with as opposed to the traditional methods of displaying content.

With a signage software, you can easily create the kind of content you need and update it from a remote location easily. With a lot of widgets in the system, you can easily go ahead to create content specific displays.

d) Cost Effective

Digital signages offer cost-effectiveness compared to traditional billboards in several ways. Firstly, digital signages eliminate the recurring costs associated with printing, installing, and maintaining physical materials, such as posters or vinyl banners. This saves money on materials, labor, and logistics involved in updating content.

The cost-effectiveness of digital signages lies in their ability to reduce operational expenses, maximize advertising effectiveness, and offer flexibility in content delivery compared to traditional billboards.

e) Improved Customer Experience

Digital signages improve customer experience by offering engaging content, quick access to information, and personalized messages.

They grab attention with lively visuals and interactive features, enhancing the shopping experience. With handy details displayed on the TV screens, it becomes easier for customers to make a decision.

Digital signages enable customers to easily locate product details, promotions, and directions, boosting overall satisfaction.

f) Enhanced Brand Image

They showcase brand logos, colors, and visuals to reinforce brand identity across various touchpoints. With dynamic content and innovative designs, digital signages leave a lasting impression on viewers, contributing to a positive perception of the brand.

By providing useful information and engaging features, such as product details and interactive elements, digital signages demonstrate the brand’s expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Things to take care while content marketing for digital signage strategy:

Right content that takes into consideration the latest trends as well as your target audience’s needs in mind is crucial.

With the right planning and a well thought content strategy, you can set your digital signages for success.

Take the below factors into consideration while designing and planning

Your content strategy for digital signages:

  1. Understanding your target audience
  2. Brand Consistency
  3. Touchpoints in buyers journey
  4. Content Scheduling
  5. Content Relevance
  6. Consistent analysis and updates
  7. Visual Appeal
  8. Timeliness

Why choose DotSignage?

DotSignage is designed keeping the end users in mind. The system is very quick and easy to use. Anyone can use it with simple training or guidance.

Here are some reasons why you should go for DotSignage:

a) Customizable Templates: You get access to 750+ in-built templates. These templates are customizable, built considering latest market trends in mind and are categorized industry wise to help you filter out your options.

b) Works with any Hardware: The solution works with any Android TV (with a Google Play Store), on Google Chromecast with Google TV or with an Amazon Firestick. If you already have a smart TV, you need to plugin the chromecast, download our app DotSignage and link it to our dashboard to use the solution.

c) Easy to set up in 5 mins: The setup process of digital signages via DotSignage can be done in a matter of minutes. All you need to do is download ‘DotSignage’ on your TV screens and link the code with the system.

d) Competitive pricing: We only charge based on the number of TV screens that you use. You are free to create unlimited templates as you need, upload your own content and create as many playlists or schedules as you require.

e) Excellent Customer Service: The team at DotSignage is well equipped to handle your queries and strive to offer you prompt support and get your queries resolved in a timely manner.

FAQs

Digital Signage are the TV screens that you see at various businesses that are being used to promote the business services, offerings and offer more engagement to your customers.

They are a modern communication tool that uses digital displays, such as LCD, LED, or projection, to present information, advertisements, or any kind of digital message to promote a business.

It can be found in various locations, including restaurants, retail stores, hotels, airports, corporate buildings, healthcare centres and many more.

Unlike traditional static signs, digital signage allows for dynamic content that can be easily updated and customized in real-time, offering a more engaging and interactive experience for viewers.

A digital signage software allows you to create and manage content on TV screens with ease. If you are using DotSignage, you get access to ample of features at a cost-effective price.

Right from designing your own content, scheduling day-wise or time-wise content, creating a slideshow to using apps like weather or news feeds, you get ample of options to work with on DotSignage, an easy to use digital signage software.

Digital Signage solution typically comprises hardware, software and content.

a) The hardware cost will depend on the kind of TV you go with. There are very good TV hardware options available in the market that are below $300 that you can go with. The TV screens typically can go upto $1500 based on your needs.

b) Google Chromecast, Amazon Firestick or Android Box typically cost around $30-$40.

c) The content to be displayed on the TV screens can either be created within the system or you can hire professional help for it.

The digital signage CMS allows you to manage content on your TV screens. Most of them are cloud based which allows you the ability to manage content on your remotely placed screens with ease.

The player functions as the hardware powering the content shown on the display. Generally, a signage player comprises a CPU, local storage (such as Hard Disk, SD Card, or eMMC), memory (RAM), WiFi/LAN connectivity, USB ports, and HDMI ports.

Digital signage players are available with various operating systems, such as Android, Windows, Raspberry Pi OS, LG WebOS, and others. Among these options, Android players are particularly popular.

DotSignage works with any Android TV (with a Google Play Store) or on a Google Chromecast with Google TV.

Any kind of content be it images, videos, HTML5 or content specific display via news feeds, weather feeds and more can be displayed via signages. You also get the ability to design and create your own content per your needs.

Any kind of business irrespective of its size can use digital signages. The basic idea of digital signages is to help you display content on the TV screens to maximise reach to your target audience, grab more engagement and sales.