Social Media Opportunities and Challenges in Digital Signage
Author: Lynne d Johnson
SVP, Social Media
Advertising Research Foundation
May 10, 2010
Key Insights & Trends: Whatʼs emerging in digital signage
The Vale Proposition: Where is the Value in digital signage and social media
The Digital Signage Ecosystem
Key Players in Social Media Delivery in Digital Signage
Case Study: AT&T Text Battle Jumnbli
Case Study : Vans Behere Times Square
Case Study: Fountainsquare Aerva Pic 2 Screen Valentineʼs Promotion
Case Study: Nokia Ovi Signpost in London
Case Study: LocaModa Brings Foursquare to Las Vegas
Case Study: American Eagleʼs 15 Seconds of Fame in Times Square
Digital Signage/Social Media Opportunities
Digital Signage/Social Media Challenges
This paper answers a few signiﬁcant questions about the emerging practice of merging
social media with digital signage (place based advertising).
1. How can Social Media and user-generated content intersect with digital signage, and
take whatʼs been a “push” model to make it more personalized and engaging.
2. How best to incorporate some of the features and elements of social media that really
draws consumers in?
3. How can more end value-be delivered to the consumer?
4. How can mobile providers help their customers do a better job of messaging and
In order to answer these questions, we must understand:
Where is the value in this space?
What does the ecosystem look like?
Who are key partners leading the technology in the space?
What are the technology gaps?
What are the measurement standards and standard currency trajectory?
KEY INSIGHTS & TRENDS
➡ Digital Out Of Home is a $2.7b industry, according to Adcentricity.
➡“Amid a sharp downturn in global advertising spending and a decline in traditional out-
of-home advertising in 2009, digital out-of-home media is among the fastest growing
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media in the world and will continue on an upward track in 2010,” according to a new
global forecast from PQ Media, the leading provider of media econometrics.
➡Spending in the emerging media segment of digital out-of-home (OOH) is on pace to
increase 2.0% to $2.47 billion in the U.S. in 2009, while digital OOH expenditures
worldwide will grow 4.7% to $6.69 billion, according to the third annual PQ Media Global
Digital Out-of-Home Media Forecast 2009-2014.
➡ According to Adcentricityʼs Q1 Digital Out-of-Home Market review: “80% of 2009ʼs
spending went to 20% of the network categories.”
➡ Research conducted by Arbitron has shown how incredibly effective this media form
is at reaching bar goers.
➡ Arbitron research shows that Out-of-Home reaches 67% of Americans 18 and over
every month, and delivers a fairly representative cross-section of consumers. 76% who
have seen digital signage note seeing it in multiple venues.
➡ The Digital Promo Network Point-of-Sale Study reveals that Convenience Stores
show 88% sales lift with digital signs vs static signs.
➡ The Consumerization of information technologies has a direct impact on the
successful effects that Digital Signage has on Point of Sale purchase increases.
➡ A shift in advertising spending, and a focus on social media, is creating an opportunity
for the Digital Signage market.
➡ In general, social media is being heavily employed by brands to reach customers and
➡ Content is king, therefore integrating content (with a social media bent) into digital
signage in an integrated communications strategy is becoming primary, especially as
advertising dollars continue to shift.
➡The technologies involved in digital signage continue to advance and changes in
supply structure are accelerating industry revenue and streamlining display deployment.
➡Digital signage offers tremendous hyper-targeting opportunities.
➡ According to Adcentricity: “Networks operating in retail venues are dominating Digital
OOH spending, following the same patterns as traditional media spending – with
automotive, ﬁnancial services and telecommunications by far the biggest categories.”
➡Twitter and location-based social media has mobilized nearly everyone, providing
great beneﬁt for the Digital Signage industry as an interactive advertising and
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The Industry is Nascent: “The big picture is that the industry is very nascent
and fragmented, and most companies claiming to use UGC or social media are
not really doing so in any meaningful sense. There's more evidence of social
media on signage at conferences and events like pop concerts. LocaModa is
pretty much pioneering the space using Text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr
and Foursquare on thousands of screens in venues from Times Square to
screens on jukeboxes. Opportunities are best explored from the perspective of
end user, networks and venues--venues beneﬁt via engagement, marketing, ad
revenue (in some cases), loyalty and reduced wait time.” - Stephen Randall,
THE VALUE PROPOSITION
Value propositions are still emerging for DOOH/Digital Signage, as the industry is still
nascent (as well, the social media industry is also still nascent). Best practices are still
being developed for the industry. Innovation in this industry lies in testing the best
solutions to reach targeted consumers with the most appropriate messages--to engage
them--and provide the best tools for obtaining feedback. The value for this industry lies
in what opportunities are being built by those innovating in the industry today. The
industry itself will deﬁne the value proposition by making digital signage a must-have
(not just an also tool) for advertisers.
The cost of doing digital signage has to decrease in order for the value to increase.
When there is true integration between the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and now the 4th screen, the
value proposition for digital signage will increase and possibly reach a tipping point.
The value can be increased by integrating all 4 screens into a cohesive communications
strategy that includes interactive engagement, true measurement of audience
participation and impact, and the ability to precisely target the right audiences.
When considering how to increase the value of digital signage, especially as it relates to
social media, the industry needs to establish a deﬁnitive case for engagement including
interactivity and its impact on the consumer.
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THE DIGITAL SIGNAGE ECOSYSTEM
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A traditional digital signage ecosystem includes:
•Content creation tools
•Media and network management software
•Player hardware and software
•Integrators to build systems.
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The players in the digital signage ecosystem includes:
* In this ecosystem, social media integration would come at the level of software and
applications development and deployment.
DIGITAL SIGNAGE/SOCIAL MEDIA KEY PLAYERS
Aerva Inc. offers a suite of software and services for creating, managing, delivering and
engaging with compelling content and experiences across networks of interactive digital
displays. A pioneer in digital signage technology, Aerva enables real-time interactivity
between mobile applications and digital display networks.
Adcentricity plans, buys and executes digital out-of-home media, providing a strategic
and holistic solution to agencies and brands. With a total of 140,000 screens that
produce over 200 million monthly impressions, ADCENTRICITY is the largest coast-to-
coast aggregator of digital out-of-home. The company is often touted as the leading
strategist for DOOH.
Adcentricity sees the use of social media integrated with digital signage as offering the
advertiser an extremely well delivered message.
Array Interactive provides content and audience engagement strategies, delivers
content, template and rich media, and application design and development services that
enable companies to reach people in more targeted ways. Overall services include:
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content, display, audience engagement and environment strategy, content management
and workﬂow, content development and template design, administrative and end-user
training, interactive touchscreen and mobile applications.
LocaModa positions itself as the dominant player in this space in terms of providing
thought leadership, as well as the necessary tools to really make social media and
digital signage work well together to engage consumers. One of the companyʼs
technologyʼs, Wifﬁti http://wifﬁti.com/:
“Has been used at thousands of large-scale events (concerts, gallery openings,
corporate conferences, nonproﬁt fundraisers, several major inauguration events, South
by Southwest, and political conventions--including both the Democratic and Republican
National Conventions). It is also used extensively in digital signage networks ranging
from huge jumbotrons in Times Square to thousands of screens in bars, cafes, schools,
entertainment centers and even churches! We've used our deep understanding of user
experience in digital out-of-home, web, and mobile to distill your feedback and requests
for new features into this latest release.”
By connecting digital networks with social media and mobile messaging, LocaModa
enables over 100,000,000 people a month to interact with their environments in
thousands of venues and high-trafﬁc public spaces. The companyʼs cross-channel
platform combines the reach of television with the interactivity and measurability of the
web. The company has also launched an app store http://locamoda.com/apps/index/all
bringing together the best of its offerings with a heavy slant toward social media
SeeSaw Networks brings place-based advertising to DOOH. Using “Life Pattern
Marketing,” Seesaw places brand messages on digital screens and billboards that are
located where the people you want to reach are during their daily life pattern, out and
about living life.
SeeSaw has partnered with LocaModa to provide extended impressions to engage
larger communities through viral marketing and social networking. The partnership
leverages SeeSawʼs network with LocaModaʼs platform across DOOH, the Web, and
mobile phones. The opportunity enables people to interact with digital screens in bars
and coffee shops and to have those interactions posted to social networks like
Facebook or Twitter. People can interact with people in the venue as well as friends
online and on mobile by engaging with digital signs. When consumers respond in a
venue via text, the messaging (call-to-action) gets posted to their social networks,
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making it viral. Contesting and gaming can also be incorporated into the programming
to attract and engage more people.
SOCIAL MEDIA DIGITAL SIGNAGE USE CASES
AT&T Text Battle Jumbli
Objective: Fleishman Hillard wanted to raise the brand awareness for certain AT&T
The Concept: AT&T branded Jumbli in Facebook and 1,200 locations including Times
Square for a 4-week period. It was the ﬁrst time Facebook connected to DOOH NetOps.
LocaModa brought media $ to 7 DOOH NetOps.
The Story Unfolds: Reach was greater than 800k impressions a day and over 900
unique mobile players. There were over 300k plays over the 4-week period. This
resulted in over 150,000 unique world plays. Overall consumer reach was 11+MM
through the digital network.The top cities that participated were LA, New York, and
Chicago. The average mobile engagement was 4.15 mins and the average web
engagement was 76.77 mins.
(To watch video: http://www.youtube.com/user/LocaJayne)
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Objective: Vans wanted to build a global campaign to engage youth and their creative
self-expression, which is signature of the Vans brand.
The Concept: Vans engaged LocaModa to launch an interactive billboard, as part of
their “Be Here” global interactive campaign. Fans from around the world were asked to
share photos and messages to be displayed on the 37.5 x 25.8 foot digital billboard in
Times Square. Participants submitted messages from December 15 - January 5. All
messages appear on Vans webiste, while the best submissions ran in real-time in Times
Square during 10 minutes of special Vans programming each hour, 24 hours a day.
The Story Unfolds: Take into consideration that 1.6 million people pass through Times
Square every day, and 500,00 gather there for New Years Eve. Factor in the viral
number for each user who uploads a photo and message and then receives an email to
their “moment” with the ability to share with others. Using the Dunbar number, we could
say that this user has at least 100 connections that theyʼre sharing with at any given
time, on any given social network. This was an exercise in brand awareness, as well as
brand ambassador inﬂuence on a brand.
(See the interactive site: http://beheretimessquare.com/)
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Fountainsquare Launches Aerva
Pic2Scren for Valentineʼs Day
Objective: The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) wanted to
revitalize the cityʼs downtown as the economic, cultural and civic hub of the city. One
element of the project was a complete facelift of Fountain Square, a city square and
The Concept: 3CDC installed a large 42ʼ x 24ʼ LED display on top of Macyʼs
department store and looked for an all-encompassing software and network
management solution that would enable the LED display to be used for different
messaging campaigns, such as concerts, community messaging, advertising and also
for fun and games. 3CDC chose Aervaʼs AerChannel technology to drive the display
starting October 2006. In 2007, for a Valentineʼs Day campaign, 3CDC employed the
use of Aervaʼs Pic2Screen social media application for photo upload by users to the
giant LED display. It was sponsored by P&G, with additional sponsorship from Hyatt
Regency, Jones the Florist, Via Vite restaurant, and KISS 107.1.
The Story Unfolds: With the Aerva Pic2Screen social media technology, users could
email photos to a special email address to be selected for display on the giant LED in
Fountain Square on Valentineʼs Day. 3CDC was able to use the application to bring
UGC to the square and to help consumers connect with brands. They began accepting
pictures February 1 so that users could trigger their photos to appear on the screen
using SMS on Valentineʼs Day.
(See more Aerva use cases for SM integration with digital signage http://aerva.com/
category/news/ and http://aerva.com/category/casestudies/outdoor/.)
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Nokiaʼs Huge Ovi Interactive Signpost in London
Objective: Nokia wanted to promote that Ovi maps is free and to further promote its
ʻGood Thingsʼ feature within Ovi maps. ʻGood Thingsʼ enables users to submit points of
interest to add to the Ovi map and share those locations with the world.
The Concept: Nokia worked with agency Farfar on the installation of a 50-meter tall, six
ton interactive signpost in the middle of London that would show Ovi maps ʻGood
Thingsʼ feature. Nokia phone owners could submit points of interest through a dedicated
site (via SMS or email), and the signpost would display the name and direction of the
spot rotating to turn towards the location. The campaign was supported with a Twitter
and Facebook tie in, with Facebook to announce the event and Twitter to show updates.
The messages were also streamed to Nokia.com, where all the locations were synched
with Nokiaʼs ʻGood Thingsʼ map.
The Story Unfolds: On the ﬁrst day of launch there were so many submissions that the
servers crashed. Nokia wasnʼt able to display all of the user-generated content and
could only display a portion of them. “The Worldʼs Biggest Signpost,” as the campaign
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came to be known, became a tourist attraction where many stopped to take photos with
the signpost. On launch, there was also a tie in of a live event, where attendees got to
meet the product manager for the site and take a tour for a behind the scenes look at
the operation. This event generated photos on Flickr, tweets on Twitter, and blog posts
from the Nokia community.
(To watch video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ6un9p30Uw and to watch the
case study http://creativity-online.com/work/nokia-good-things-giant-signpost-case-
Foursquare to the City of
Objective: Locamoda wanted to bring Foursquare visualizations to place-based
The Concept: Locamoda secured a deal with Indoor Direct, one of the largest digital
signage networks to have the foursquare application featured in over 1,000 quick
service restaurants. Through a partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor, Locamoda was
able to visualize Foursquare check-ins on the 126-foot LED digital billboard at the
entrance to Las Vegas Miracle Mile Shops. With Foursquare, users check-in to their
favorite locations to announce where they are to their friend network. They earn points
and badges and can become ʻMayorʼ of locations they frequent often.
The Story Unfolds: Tying digital signage to location-based mobile services extended
the digital conversation to a broader network of people. The integration undoubtedly
increases Foursquareʼs user base. This installation also creates additional value for
advertisers and venues. Through their partners, LocaModa reaches the digital screens
of over 15,000 venues with an audience of over 100 million every month across the US.
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(To watch video: http://vimeo.com/9944170)
American Eagleʼs 15 Seconds of Fame
in Times Square
Objective: American Eagle wanted to
offer a compelling customer experience in
conjunction with the launch of its 25,000
sq. ft ﬂagship store in Times Square.
The Concept: The store itself features an
interactive experience, including four
levels of shopping and several interactive
digital features. There is also a 13-foot
video wall inside the store to add
additional impact. With the help of
partners: The Barnycz Group, Barco, R/
GA, and ABC Sports & Entertainment
Sales, the store featured a customer
experience called “15 Seconds of Fame.”
When customers make a purchase, they
are invited to pose in a photo studio and
their photo, with a 50-character message,
is projected on a 15,000 square feet (25
stories high) LED screen outside the
store. The screens feature content for 18 hours every day.
The Story Unfolds: American Eagle had a goal of getting customers to discuss their
experience with the store online in social networking spaces like Twitter, Facebook, and
blogs. AE encouraged customers to take photos of their experience and their messages
broadcast on the display to share them on social networks. One customer even used
his “15 Seconds of Fame” to make a marriage proposal. AE had a number of advertising
opportunities with this model including real-time delivery and the showcasing of multiple
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The Future of Shopping Becomes More Social
In this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDi0FNcaock, Cisco takes a look at the
future of shopping. What is clearly evident from research and current trends, is that
shopping is going to become more social. For example, say a customer “checks-in” to a
store, and they receive recommendations of what they may like to purchase based on
past purchasing behaviors or recommendations from friends in their network.
Already with Bing http://www.bing.com/community/blogs/search/archive/2010/05/06/
shop-and-share-with-bing.aspx, you can use Twitter and Facebook on the HTC HD2
smartphone to check if Bing shopping has given you the best prices. In 2007, Facebook
launched Beacon, a service that shared your purchases on several retail sites online
with your friends within Facebook. With better opt-in and privacy measures than what
Facebook offered, the opportunity is there for a partner to make such social shopping
experiences exist on a mobile to digital display format.
Location-Based Technologies To Play A Greater Role in Digital Signage
As can be seen in the LocaModa Foursquare example, the opportunity exists, again at
store level for a rich interactive experience. Restaurants, retailers, and C-Stores can
employ such technologies to publicly share who is checking in to their locations. This
might go one step further, enabling customers to share with one another what theyʼre
currently doing (as in purchasing or eating) at their location. A restaurant example might
include uploading a photo of your meal with a message that can be displayed on a
digital display and sent to your social networks to share with your friends.
Augmented Reality at Point-of-Sale Increases Engagement and Purchase
An example such as Legoʼs Digital Box Kiosk uses Augmented Reality to show
customers what they can do with Lego Technic. Itʼs an opportunity to see in 3D imaging,
or as close to reality, how a product actually works and functions. Legos boxes also
have AR built in with a QR code that can be held up to a Kiosk to activate an AR feature
that displays a 3D model of the Lego kit inside. The opportunity exists to include social
sharing of the AR experience, but also of mobile QR code features being added to the
experience. Several mobile apps can already scan QR codes to provide consumers with
more information and interactivity.
Revenue Models are Becoming More Attractive
Revenue models are increasingly changing as hardware prices per-screen continues to
become less expensive. Overall, prices have deﬂated by approximately 30% over the
past few years. This makes the ROI for digital signage much more attractive. Also,
because of media convergence, economies of scale can be achieved, therefore making
planning and purchase of DOOH much easier than ever before. With this in mind,
integration costs are still high, yet since hardware costs are now a smaller fraction of the
overall deployment costs this channel is still a valuable spend for advertisers.
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available to them or even to understand the beneﬁts of what one network offers over
Measurement Standards Donʼt Exist
One of the primary challenges for digital signage are with measurement and creative
unit standards. In 2010, network operators have begun to offer audited and accepted
metrics, but again these are not standardized across the industry. Since metrics are not
clearly deﬁned, the industry-at-large is advocating for aggregators and aggregation
models. Broadsign has released audited measurement results from Arbitron to enable
advertisers to measure ROI. Together with SeeSaw, BroadSign is releasing an open API
to enable the industry to collaborate on open standards for measurement of DOOH. The
Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau has also issued guidelines to better understand
the value of a DOOH audience to further address the challenges of calculating
appropriate metrics within the industry.
All Systems Arenʼt a Go
Many of the systems for DOOH are complicated and expensive. There are many
different groups (players) involved in getting one Digital Signage deployment launched.
In this regard, the opportunity for creating large, scalable campaigns is an overwhelming
challenge because it is a complex landscape to traverse when it comes to networks.
Also, there are myriad environmental considerations at play. Platforms that break down
silos need to be created in order for scalable models to thrive in this space.
Mobile and DOOH integration isnʼt as easy as it seems, but together they will be the
drivers of the interactive and customer engagement model of the Digital Signage
industry. Another technological challenge is presented by the varying formats, ﬁles
structures, and standards between systems, which creates a further technological gap.
The major challenges in the tech area come in the form of aggregation and real-time
Digital Signage is Very Local
According to Adcentricity, 70% of all network sales are from local sales efforts, driven by
the network sales staff. Most networks have no national sales force, which translates
into agencies and brands being unaware or uneducated on the value of DOOH
What About Those Legal Issues?
There are many issues when it comes to user generated content in the legal arena.
Since there are rules for mobile carriers when it comes to mobile content, anyone
serving SM DOOH campaigns should consider using systems that support ﬁltering,
moderation, and curation. Also mobile users must have full disclosure on messaging
pricing, and it is suggested that there be no premium set for messaging to DOOH
systems as pricing could prove to be a barrier to interactivity. Disclosure must also be
met on the level of access to the user in terms of whether the operator will send further
messaging to the user. This can get into murky waters with spamming issues (CAN-
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SPAM Act). Further, attention must be paid to copyright, defamation, privacy rights, and
public decency laws when it comes to UGC. Because of this, it is becoming expected
that network operators, event planners, and messaging suppliers provide Professional
Liability (Errors and Omissions) insurance, covering possible inappropriate content
being displayed in public.
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Adcentricity, “Digital Out of Home and Social Media”
Adcentricity, “ Q1 Digital Out of Home Market Review,” April 2010
Digital Signage Today, “Five Ways to Engage Customers Beyond Digital Signage,” Digital Signage White
Paper, Sponsored by FullHouse, 2009
Jacob Eldger, “Twitter on Place Based Screens: Why Itʼs Not So Simple,” March 2010
Keith Kelsen, “Digital Signage, The Top 10 Trends for 2010,” December 2009, Digital Signage Today
MediaPlanet, “Digital Out-of-Home: Your Guide to Digital Signage Application & Business Trends Today,”
OTX & SeeSaw Networks, “Engaging People with Digital Out-of-Home Media: Digital Out-of-Home Media
Awareness & Attitude Study,” United States 2007
PQ Media, “Global Digital Out-of-Home Media Forecast 2009 - 2014: Advertising Spending, Trends &
Stephen Randall, CEO, LocaModa (Phone and email interviews)
Stephen Randall, CEO, LocaModa, “Social Networking and User Generated Content: Expanding the
Mobile Digital Signage Footprint and Giving Users the Platform,” Digital Signage Expo 2009
Bill Yackey, DSCE, Editor, Digital Signage Today, “Digital Out-of-Home: The State of the Industry Today
and Tomorrow,” Digital Signage Show Europe 2009
Blogs: Digital Signage Insights Blog, Digital Signage Blog, Daily DOOH, Screens.tv
Websites: Digital Signage Today, Digital Signage Expo, Digital Signage Weekly, Digital Signage
Association, The Web Outside
Stuart Armstrong, President, EnQii Digital View, “Teeny Shoppers,” January/February, 2008
Stephen Randall, CEO, LocaModa, “Part II - Building An Interactive Digital Out of Home Experience:
Basic Considerations for Mobile & Social Interactivity on DIgital Out of Home Networks,” August 2009
Stephen Randall, CEO, LocaModa,”Dealing with F**K & Other User Generated Content Challenges for
Digital Out of Home Networks,” August 2009
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