Use Digital Signs for Polling Your Audience

So, you’ve already done lots to get your message out there on your digital signage with engaging content – created attractive designs with stunning visuals, incorporated video and movement, turned some of your messages into narratives, and included calls to action. But there’s yet another trick up your sleeve to really engage your audience: Ask them what they think. You can use digital signs for polling in a number of ways.

You may already be using audience response systems in your meetings and presentations, or in school classrooms. These are hand-held remote devices that let the audience respond in various ways by pressing buttons – yes/no, true/false, multiple choice, open answer, etc. These answers then get collated and displayed, allowing further discussion. You can also see a version of this on popular competition television shows like “American Idol”, where the audience votes in the final rounds by using a toll-free telephone number, texting, or an online webpage. But how can you do this on digital signs?

Your audience already has hand-held remote devices – smartphones, tablets, etc. As your call to action, ask them to text a response SMS to a specific number you’ve set up. This could be done for a number of things, like surveys (“How’s the new cafeteria menu?”), choice polls (“Should Fridays be casual dress days?”), silent auctions (people text their bids and the current next bid price is displayed in real time on your screens), post-training comprehension checks, pledges for fundraisers or participation in special events – just to name a few.

There are many online polling providers, many of which are free or very affordable. They then give you the data they’ve received, and you can act on it, or display it as a simple message, a graph or chart, a word clouds, or any of a number of interesting formats.

And you aren’t limited to SMS messages. You can incorporate Twitter, or even specific webpages people access using a browser (you provide a short URL or QR tag in your message, so your audience can access it right then and there.) They just log on and leave their comments.

Using web-based response methods, you can poll your audience anywhere they are – across the building, throughout a campus, or even in different cities and states, or other countries. It doesn’t matter, because the data gets collected in real time. You can allow people to respond anonymously, or track individual responses, building up a database of who is paying attention and interested.

You’re not just pushing content out to your audience anymore, you are creating a two-way dialogue that has immediate results. It’s a fast way to see ROI, and studies show that people pay more attention when they know they are going to be asked a question. Universities have found that knowledge retention increases when they have polling systems in place as well. And you have all the response data saved, so you can analyze it at your leisure, allowing you to fine-tune future polls and messages.

Plus, it’s fun. How exciting for people to walk through a space, seeing beautiful digital signage messages, and then being asked a question and given a fast and easy way to answer it. It changes their perception of your organization – they feel valued and like they, too, have a stake in things. Now that’s really using digital signage to its fullest potential.