Go Eco Friendly – Choose Digital Signage

eco-friendToday we live in a world where being environmental friendly does not just remain an option but is increasingly becoming a principle to be accepted and followed by everyone. Governments and businesses across the world are making efforts to reduce the toxic greenhouse gases harmful to the environment, by adopting alternative energy sources, alternative fuel systems, switching to renewable power and by evolving alternative means & technology to minimize the pollution and its impact on the global ecosystems.

Industries are essential for development and improving living standards. Advertising industry contributes immensely in economic development. However certain forms of advertising media adversely impact the environment because of the materials used for advertising. Newspaper, Magazines, banner and poster advertising media comprise of almost 54% of Advertising Industry and ironically they are the most non-eco friendly Advertising medium.

Print advertising is essentially through the use of paper. The logging of trees, using of chemicals (sulphurous acid / limestone) in producing pulp and using gallons of fresh water in processing the pulp to produce paper, has huge impact on plant & animal ecosystems and causes wastage of fresh water natural resource. Furthermore, cutting, printing, packaging, shipping and recycling requires excessive amount of power & energy, resulting in large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, leaving a huge carbon footprint.

Banner & poster advertising uses materials such as Vinyl Banners, foam/gator boards, PVC and coroplast which are applied with chemical coatings for weather protection and use chemical based color agents for printing. These materials are hard to decompose and require strict guidelines for recycling, which is not followed by most PVC & Vinyl industries. Even during the recycling process, when the material is burned it produces extremely hazardous substances (hydrogen chloride gas and dioxin) causing chronic health hazards and produces 100 different toxic compounds that adversely affect the environment.

Advertising is important. For eco-conscious advertisers it is a fight between harmful impact to the nature vs. exposure and generating brand awareness. Conventionally Advertisers had no choice but to choose banner / poster / wall paper printing for outdoor advertising, which are harmful to our eco-system. But today, through technology innovations and with public acceptance, Digital Signage has emerged as a promising eco-friendly advertising medium for out of home advertising.

Digital Signage is an electronic medium, where the ad content is in digital format, hence it has a much lesser carbon footprint compared to print & banner media in terms of the material used for advertising. Although Digital Signage is eco friendly, traditional approach of digital signage advertising requires human intervention & transportation which results in vehicular pollution. As in traditional approach, the Ad media is required to be manually changed on the screens by field agents. All the traveling by the agents adds up to fuel consumption & environmental pollution. The impact is substantial when we consider the amount of traveling required to manually change the Ad content across thousands of screens everyday.

AdBrand, through its technology has revolutionized the Digital Signage Advertising by creating an ONLINE digital signage platform, making Digital Signage easier, less human depended and more Eco friendly. The Ad campaign management and even the screen management is online over the Internet which eradicates the need for manual ad content management, there by there is no wastage of fuel in transportation & no cause for pollution. Our work culture & policies are also framed to contribute in reducing pollution. The LCDs supplied by us have metal chassis instead of plastic or fiber, we hardly use paper at work, as a policy we extend business proposals, rate cards, etc in electronic formats, and even our business cards are made of recycled paper. In advertising world we aspire to be the most eco friendly media providers and wish to offer an eco friendly advertising medium to the Advertisers and contribute in protecting our eco systems.

Ecological and environmental awakening is the key for contributing in reducing the pollution around us and to save our planet. Thousands of tons of poster, banner and printed paper materials are discarded everyday, disturbing our eco system. Compared to these outdoor media AdBrand Digital Signage is highly eco friendly and offers bigger advantage of having the ability to influence the customers buying decision at the point of sale. AdBrand’s Online Digital Signage Platform makes digital signage advertising eco friendly and a cost effective & performance driven out of home advertising medium. Go eco-friendly, choose Digital Signage Advertising and support the cause to protect our planet.

Who owns digital signage business?

digitalsignageIt is a common belief that the digital signage business is owned by the companies operating the digital signage networks. However a core business analysis would make it evident that it is not the operators who own the business, but it is the Premises Owners, who showcase the digital signages at their premises, who are the true owners of the digital signage business. Not only do the Premises Owners own the business but they are the most significant contributors to the digital signage business.

Here’s how… The very essence of advertising is to bring a product closer to the customers. For any advertising media it is the customers, i.e. ‘the viewers’, who are the most crucial entity of the business. In case of Digital Signage the viewers are the patrons at a premise, such as a café, a mall, a movie plaza, a restaurant, a shopping store or any other location where digital signages are installed. And what brings the patrons to these locations is the goods & services the premises owners have to offer them. Eventually it is the Premises owners who are the key players in the digital signage business as they are the ones who attract patrons, ‘the viewers’, to their premises and enable digital signage to expose various brands, products and services to these patrons.

Typically the network operators have been benefiting from the efforts & investments of the Premises Owners. Premises Owners invest on real estate and spend handsomely on the aesthetics of their premises to attract the patrons and to make their patrons’ overall experience more enjoyable. The operators install Digital Signages at these premises and they earn generously while paying nominal rental to the premises owners. As the premises business grows and has a higher number of patrons, the ads displayed on the signages at such locations would be sold at a premium cost and the benefits go directly to the operator. While the Premises Owners continue to receive the same nominal rent for the signages.

Digital Signage is the Premises Owners’ business, the digital signages are installed at their premises and the viewers of the medium are their patrons. It is the Premises Owners who own the business and they should be most benefited by this medium. As the premise has a higher footfall and the Ads on the signages at such premise are sold at a premium, the premises owners should earn higher revenue. The network operators should only facilitate the effective operation of the digital signages and should acknowledge the significance of the premises owners in the digital signage business.

AdBrand understands the importance of the Premises Owners and their contribution to the digital signage medium. AdBrand offers only to facilitate the digital signage business and operates on a business model that allows the Premises Owners to own the business and to take the maximum benefit from this unique medium with high revenue potential.

Regular Vs Engineered Displays in Digital Signage

Most Digital Signage Networks conveniently use regular LCD TVs for displaying Ads. However they tend to ignore the fact that regular LCD TVs are not designed for digital signage i.e. displaying of Ads at public places. They are good when they are placed indoors at premises with modest floor area. But regular LCD & plasma displays are not a good option for large premises such as shopping Malls, even if they are placed indoors.

Here’s why… The viewing angle of an LCD is narrower than a CRT or Plasma Display therefore the number of people who can conveniently view is limited. Which means it is very important that an LCD is placed effectively for its viewers to get a clear picture of what’s being shown on the screen. Most LCDs at large premises are usually placed at a height of about 10 feet or above from ground level so as the patrons get closer the visibility is compromised.

Another core issue with LCDs is reflection & glare. Although most LCDs have matte plastic screens, which usually reflect less light, when under a direct light source the glare is pretty evident. And if the LCD is placed outside under direct sun light or someplace with abundant sun light, such as the lobby entrance at a mall, the picture brightness is reduced, the clarity & sharpness is lost and the picture has a “dull” effect. With Plasmas the reflection and glare is even more prevalent as they use glass screens that reflect lots of light. Regardless of these issues conventional networks continue to use regular LCDs & plasmas for digital signage, ignoring the affect it has on causing the advertisers to loose their confidence in the media.

To maintain the advertisers’ confidence in digital signage and to provide a convenient viewing experience to the patrons, AdBrand uses specially engineered displays at large premises with huge floor area and a high footfall. These displays have greater viewing angle than regular displays and the patrons can easily view the image on such screens even from a sharp angle.

The displays have specially designed anti-glare & anti-reflection screens that are so effective that the clarity of the visuals remain intact, even when under direct focus of a 1000 watt halogen bulb. The displays can be placed outdoors directly under the sun light and still the brightness, clarity & the original quality of the visuals remain as is. Furthermore these engineered displays have faster response time that overcomes issues such as “ghosting” and “mixing”, caused due to retained pixel charge, when the visuals change rapidly.

Most importantly these displays have a unique appeal on its audience, who are essentially urban crowd. While conventional networks use normal LCDs & Plasmas, which are actually normal televisions that do not have an aesthetic appeal as a signage device on its viewers, AdBrand uses engineered displays with equalized border frame. This sleek design lets the audience differentiate between a regular TV & digital signage that advertises their favorite brands.

Footfall Vs Viewership

“Is the number of Footfall the real measure of your Ad’s viewership?”

Every advertising medium has an Audience Measurement system that relies on various techniques, electronic equipments, surveys, research etc to collect audience data and determines the viewership or listenership or readership of the medium using algorithms & metrics. In the case of Digital Signage Medium, “Footfall”, i.e. the number of visitors at a location, is a commonly followed metric for the calculation of the viewership on the medium.

However existing digital signage network operators do not use footfall as a “standard of measurement” to “measure” the audience, but instead they use it as a “standard” to “indicate” the audience on their network. Which means, that if location ‘A’ has 1000 footfall per day and location ‘B’ has 800 footfall per day, and an advertiser’s Ad appears on the digital signages installed at both the locations A & B, then it is presumed that the Ad was viewed by around 1800 viewers on that day. Most existing network operators use this theory to indicate their market presence and the ‘presumed’ audience of the digital signages on their network.

A more reliable approach is to use footfall as a metric, i.e. a ‘standard of measurement’, to measure the audience of an Ad appearing on a digital signage. And to use an algorithm to analyse the footfall information as a metric, to estimate the viewership of an Ad. An algorithm that considers into account that the footfall at a location is spread through out the day and is higher during peak business hours; takes into account that not just a single Ad appears on a screen through out the day but other Ads are displayed as well; and that the footfall information varies from weekday to weekday at every location.

AdBrand uses an algorithm that takes into account the above indicated considerations, and estimates the viewership for an Ad. Footfall information is collected for normal hours & peak hours for each weekday for every location on the network. And the Online Digital Signage Platform automatically calculates the ratio of a single Ad campaign against the rest of the Ad campaigns displayed on a digital signage at any given time. Using the footfall information & the Ad ratio, AdBrand applies its algorithm to match the footfall and the Ad ratio during normal & peak business hours at a location and calculates the viewership.

For example: if a location has 1000 footfall on a day, which is distributed as approximately 30% during first peak business hours & 35% during the second peak business hours and during first peak business hours 200 Ad impression happened, out of which 50 impressions were of Ad ‘A’, then the viewership of Ad ‘A’ during the first peak hours is calculated as (Ratio of Ad ‘A’) X (footfall during the first peak business hours) i.e.

Ratio of Ad ‘A’ is 50/200 X 100 = 25%

Footfall during first peak business hours is 30% of 1000 = 300

Estimated Viewership of Ad ‘A’ during first peak business hours is = 25% X 300 = 75

Likewise the estimated viewership is calculated for second peak business hours & also the normal hours, based on the number of footfall & the Ad ratio during those hours. The collective estimated viewership for a campaign across all the kiosks at various locations where the Ad was displayed, in a day, is presented as the effective viewership for that day.

While conventional network operators, due to resistance to changing digital signage industry trends, continue to present footfall as a direct measure of an Ad’s viewership, AdBrand, using the collected & calculated information and by applying its ‘Audience Measurement’ algorithm calculates the viewership of an Ad per day. AdBrand presents the information to Advertisers in the form of reports, giving them an understanding of their Ad-Campaign performance.

“Digital Signage 2.0” is here….

Network for convenience v/s real-time network

Today we are hearing a lot about “online networks” in the Digital Signage Industry. Are these so called “Online” Digital Signage networks really online? Some claim that they are! To know the answer we need to ask ourselves what is an “online network” in the digital signage industry? Is it just a signage network where the displays are attached with CPUs & connected to the Internet & are remotely managed? It certainly is not!

Then, what is an online digital signage network?
How does an Advertiser benefit from an online network?
What benefits does a premises owner showcasing the display get from an online digital signage network?

An Online Digital Signage Network isn’t just a network of digital displays with CPUs, connected over the internet, that are just remotely managed. It is a network that extends its Advertisers the benefit of complete online, real-time campaign management. Where Advertisers could logon to the service provider’s website and create their Ad campaigns & own the control of their Ad campaigns with the liberty to change their active running campaigns according to changing market trends. An Online Network should be able to track every Ad that is being displayed on each screen on its network. And as each Ad impression is accounted for, the advertiser would only be required to pay for confirmed impression (not assumed impression). Unless an online network does that, it would not be able to give 100% broadcast guarantee to the Advertiser.

Online networks should have the ability to support dynamic content. Latest information that an Advertiser would like to broadcast, such as the current market index, current Bank offering rates, stock status etc should be retrieved on a real time basis from various sources and broadcasted across the network, as desired by the Advertiser. Also the reporting system should be comprehensive, not only giving reports providing the campaign expenditure details but also other information such as Impression density reports & Impression Maps (impressions super imposed on a GPS based map) etc, indicating the locations / business areas where Ads were displayed for a particular campaign.

Apart form offering benefits to Advertisers, an Online Network should also provide value added services to the premises owners. It is time for the Digital Signage Networks (regardless of whether online or not) to realize the importance of the role played by the premises showcasing the screens in the Digital Signage business, where, the premises owners deserve more revenue share than meager rentals or fixed income or share on “assumed” revenue. Value Added services such as online reports, utility messages / social messages (messages defined by the premises owners that are played at their premises during the business hours) and SOS Messages (that are displayed during emergencies) should be extended to the premises owners. Such services are only possible on a true online network.

Moreover Digital Signage networks are service provides and not product sellers. They need to share a higher percentage of the Ad revenue with the premises owners and be transparent about the revenue sharing system. Only a proper online network would have the capability to have transparent revenue system where each Ad is accounted for & the premises owners are clear as how much revenue they are earning for each Ad that is displayed on the screens located at their premises.

Just connecting of the displays over the internet for remote management doesn’t make a Digital Signage network an online network. It is just “networking for the convenience” of the Digital Signage network, not for the benefit of the Advertiser or the premises owner. A true online network would offer a complete online based Ad campaign system to the advertiser & technology driven value added services to the premises owners, like what AdBrand does.

NO TV ads in Digital Signage!

“Can you play the creative made for TV on Digital Signage Networks? Answer: NO”

Each advertising medium has its own way of communicating with the audience. Television media uses both audio & video, while print media uses visuals & so on. In certain scenarios same form of advertisement is used for more than one type of medium as in case of Print Media and Signage Media (i.e. the Banner Media), where the exact same visuals can be effectively used. However the same concept cannot be applied to the Digital Signage & the Television media.

The ads created for Television are designed to grab the attention of a viewer who is most likely stationary. The Ads are deliberately created to capture the viewer’s imagination through creative visuals that includes sound, music, human emotions etc & then associate that imagination with the brand. These Ads are usually of 10 seconds to a few minutes duration, and are best suitable for Television Media. However in the Digital Signage medium even a 30 seconds Ad would still be a lengthy Ad.

Here’s why…. Digital Signage is out door & out of home advertising. Most audiences of this medium are mobile & are on the move. They are shopping in a mall, buying movie tickets, waiting for the lift to get to their office floors, or at a take-away joint or a grocery store. The Ads on this medium have to be visually appealing & of a short duration, preferably with moving content, which would instantly grab the audience attention. As the audiences are mobile lengthy Ads, designed for Television, may not appeal to them as they would not pause for a minute or even 30 seconds to watch the advertisement. Moreover not all displays on the digital signage medium have the audio output option. If television advertisements (which almost always have audio) are relayed on such displays without audio output, then the purpose of such advertising will certainly not be very effective or appealing.

Furthermore Digital Signage advertising is best known for its “Recall” effect. Its USP is its ability to influence the consumer’s buying decision when they are shopping. Research indicates that brand switching occur in-stores as customers are most vulnerable to change while shopping. Digital Signage is effective in capturing the customer’s interest by “recalling” the brand they heard about or have used in the past or if the buyer is already a consumer, it helps in reinstating their brand loyalty when shopping. As “recall” (reminding the patrons of a brand / generating awareness) is the prime objective of advertising on Digital Signage, short duration Ads are the best & most benefiting form of advertising on this medium.

AdBrand, a new age digital signage network, has the technology to support lengthy Ads. However, for effective advertising, AdBrand recommends Advertisers to design short duration Ads for the Digital Signage medium. Ads with visuals, text, animation, video clippings or 2D flash etc… that are visually attractive & which can immediately catch a patron’s attention are the best form of advertisements for Digital Signage Advertising medium.

Adsense’ng Digital Signage Networks

Google AdSense, an offering by the Internet giant Google, is an advertisement serving program. It is by far the most recognised & vastly used advertising networks on the internet. AdSense is an innovative concept (& its algorithm a closely guarded secret) that allows website publishers, with diverse offerings, to display Ads on their web pages and earn handsome revenue.

What makes AdSense so popular is that the advertisements it offers are targeted to fit the content of the page on which they appear and the search terms that are entered into the search field. This means that the advertisements it displays are more relevant to the content of the site on which they are posted, and therefore more likely to be clicked by visitors to that site. In simple terms, precise targeting of audience, exposing services & products that the user might be most interested in.

AdBrand, a futuristic Digital Signage Medium, is pioneering into the Digital Signage Industry with an innovative & a technology driven network. A concept, as innovative as Google AdSense, that will revolutionise the present Digital Signage Industry. It exposes the Advertisers brands, services & products to consumers when they are outdoors shopping or on business or for leisure. It allows for precise targeting of audience based on geography & business channels. An Advertiser marketing a beauty cream product can choose to target geographies such as metro cities and business channels such as “Health & fitness” that includes Gyms, Beauty Parlors & Spas, and “Entertainment Zones” that include malls, Movie Theaters & Coffee shops, where it is most likely to find the audience who could be influenced to buy the product.

Just as AdSense advertisements are targeted by language, geographical location and site content, and include both large and small businesses in a wide array of categories; AdBrand partners with large, medium & even small business premises with high footfalls, to allow for maximum exposure of the advertisements based on geography & business channels as desired by the Advertiser.

The unique offerings such as customized reporting, contextual advertising, Ad filtering options to publishers (ability to restrict inappropriate Ads) etc… has enabled AdSense to become an immensely popular & preferred internet advertising solution. AdBrand has an exclusive set of offerings that makes it a unique Digital Signage Network. Distinctive features such as payment only for confirmed impression, real time campaign management, specialized reports for Advertisers & Partners, competitive Ad filtering (Premises Owner’s ability to restrict competitors’ Ads from appearing at his/her location) etc… will propel AdBrand as a market leader in Digital Signage Industry.

What Google AdSense has achieved in the world of Internet Advertising, AdBrand intends to accomplish in the Digital Signage Industry; through innovation, technology, fair business practices & world class service offerings.

Recession – Time for a change

The Global recession has affected the Indian economy and it has taken its toll on financial services and durable advertising. Many companies haven taken cost cutting measures including reduction in their advertising budget.

Does this mean advertisers will reduce their number of Advertisements & minimize the exposure of their brand, products or services? Certainly not, Corporates view advertising as an investment rather than an expense, an investment not only for short-term sales gains, but also for achieving long-range goals and developing stronger name and brand franchise. Strong and consistent advertising reinforces favorable attitudes toward a company and its products, not only among customers but also among investors and the public in general.

With reduced budgets Advertisers will now focus on alternate mediums and would give preference to medium that provide precise targeting. In the present market crunch Advertisers no longer find mass advertising as a preferred way of advertising. Mass Medium such as Print & Television who earlier charged a premium cost for advertising on a certain page or at a certain time have now reduced their price and are offering economical rates, to try and encourage the brands to advertise. However, only big corporate spenders such as Telecom, Automobiles & Insurance are willing to spend big amounts to advertise on prime time.

Corporate giants enjoying credit facilities from banks, which they specifically used for advertising purpose, may no longer be able to continue to receive such privileges. As the advertisers will have to invest their own money in promotional activities and with tighter budgets, they are looking towards new marketing mediums. Mediums like Digital Signage and Mobile Marketing – Advertising mediums that transcend the limitations of push advertising and engage consumers in brand conversations.

According to Nielsen Media Research Asia Pacific, in the Year 2007 Advertisers spending has increased 31% in India. However due to Global recession & its impact on Indian Market the spending capacity of the advertisers may be limited to an increase of 7.75 % or less in 2008-2009. An effective & economical advertising media could hugely attract Advertisers in the present market scenario.

Recession provides a unique window of opportunity for those firms that are market driven & for smaller businesses. It is believed to be the most favorable time for a change in competitive positions. Companies that are second in their fields, by applying extra pressure and devising creative strategies, can gain advantages that they can carry into times of prosperity. With reduction in advertising costs smaller & lesser known brands can now afford to advertise. They can compete for a market share by exposing their products & services through an affordable medium.

Digital Signage offers precise targeting to Advertisers. A Digital Signage Network that is economical, accountable & wide reaching could be the preferred advertising media option for Advertisers, to bring their products closer to customers.