Navigating Mobile Digital Signage

Guest Contributor, Michael Mascioni

Mobile digital signage presents many opportunities for marketers, but also significant challenges. That message underlined Donna Boyer’s presentation at the Digital Signage Show in N.Y. on 10th November 2009.

logoAccording to Boyer, V.P. of Product Management at RMG Networks, two key factors must be taken into account when developing mobile digital signage:-

  • utilizing the right technology
  • developing the right customer experience

As Boyer stressed, “there is no single right approach” to marketing-oriented mobile digital signage- a choice should be made based on “the advertiser’s needs” and “the context” in which the mobile signage is deployed.

She advised attendees to keep in mind that consumers have three main expectations concerning mobile digital signage:-

  1. they expect context
  2. they expect utility and compelling entertainment
  3. they expect to be in control

In this context, “the iPhone has completely changed consumer behavior,” with consumers using the web on their phone regularly for such applications as “news, social networking, mobile video, and music,” she pointed out.

SMS mobile signage is best suited to such applications as “sweepstakes, polling, and couponing,” Boyer observed.

It’s particularly useful for “local couponing and building a database of phone numbers,” she added. However, it “doesn’t typically work well as part of a broader campaign.”

Boyer highlighted the positive response to an SMS mobile signage campaign called ‘Nicholas vs. Cancer’ her company ran for St. Jude, which “drove a significant number of donations to that client.”

Boyer believes SMS mobile signage is more suitable for “smaller companies and non-profit organizations,” but has mixed value for larger companies.

Eventually, she feels that signage will be adopted on a broader basis. Boyer cautioned attendees about the challenges of implementing Bluetooth mobile signage, especially regarding technical issues.

She stressed that it’s particularly important to “format material correctly” in Bluetooth mobile signage campaigns so that it “works properly on the mobile phone” utilized for those campaigns.

Boyer also noted the need to establish clearly beforehand the kind of content that will be delivered in a Bluetooth signage campaign.

In her view, video content, especially exclusive content, works well on Bluetooth mobile signage campaigns. She contended that Bluetooth/wi-fi mobile signage campaigns with good, exclusive content will generate higher adoption rates.

Boyer called attention to results from a number of Bluetooth/wi-fi mobile signage campaigns mounted by RMG, including a campaign for the TV show ‘Dancing with the Stars’ which she claimed was very successful.

According to her, Bluetooth and Wi-fi signage (not SMS) campaigns run by RMG for such clients as ABC, Electronic Arts, and HISTORY had a strong impact- on average, 10% of the audience in those campaigns set their mobile phones to “discoverable,” and “28% of that audience” opted to receive the mobile content download, which translated into a “net download rate of 3% of total venue traffic.”

The campaigns utilized Blue Bite’s Bluetooth/wi-fi technology.

Boyer emphasized the importance of executing Bluetooth/wi-fi mobile signage campaigns that generate “enough volume to meet advertiser needs.”

Boyer also addressed strategies for employing mobile signage campaigns based around interactive games. She noted that such campaigns are great for cafes and bars but aren’t typically effective in locations consumers quickly pass through, such as grocery stores.

In this regard, Boyer discussed an AT&T-sponsored game developed by LocaModa, which ran on a number of digital signage networks.

According to her, “our network drove the most in-venue interactions” for that game.

Boyer predicted that game-oriented mobile signage campaigns will become “part of broader experiences with a network effect.”

One Response to “Navigating Mobile Digital Signage”

  1. Neil Farr Says:

    ??? When I read ‘mobile digital signage’ I thought you meant like our taxi cab/ferry/bus system where the digital signs themselves are mobile and aware of their locations, not where static signage is used and people interact with it using their mobile phones!

    Good looking campaigns Donna, and interesting too (I would probably interact with them)!

    Would be interested to hear about people’s feelings of the Bluetooth figures and other mobile things. A lot of feedback we collect seems that many people are afraid of allowing the push, have BT and WIFI turned off to conserve power, or just reject it as they feel it is invasive.

    We have provided a variety of different ‘Mobile Phone’ technologies, and found the following:
    YES, only around 3% of people actually turned on Bluetooth and opted to receive the content – the content HAS to be interesting enough for them to want to get it AND they have to be pre-warned as otherwise most people reject the bluetooth push thinking it to be a virus (or just Spam!). (We have other ways of using Bluetooth which give better alternative ways of control). ALSO a large number of people in two distinct demographics cannot be marketed to in this way – Iphone owners (the ‘designery’, latest gadget types), and Blackberry owners (the business people) – neither allow bluetooth push (only upon pairing in the case of the blackberry).
    HOWEVER compare the 3% with the typical 1-3% of a mailshot and it compares favourably, and of course is MUCH CHEAPER than either mail campaigns or SMS campaigns, and less invasive than E-mail shots.

    SMS (one way or two-way) seems still to be the favoured way (although there is a cost involved) and combinations of this and bluetooth (like our SMS and Bluetooth plugins together to create a couponing system for a customer of ours) seems to work quite well as this means that the coupons are delivered at the point they are required, rather than at a point in time when it is convenient to broadcast and then the user forgets they have them.

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