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.

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