Why You Need Video on Your Digital Signs

Video is everywhere these days. The average American adult watches well over an hour of digital video a day, especially millennials. Some of that is from original content platforms like Netflix and Amazon, quite a bit of it is due to video ad offerings from Snapchat, Yahoo and others; and some of it is on social media sites like Facebook.

In fact, people are now spending more time watching digital video than they spend on social networks, and budgets for digital video are on the rise: 86% of colleges and universities have a YouTube channels, 87% of online marketers use video, 96% of B2B companies use video and 73% claim it has positive results on ROI.

Video is pervasive because it works:

  • YouTube consumption doubles every year
  • Videos in emails increase click-through rates by 200-300%
  • Videos on landing pages for websites increase conversion by as much as 80%
  • Video combined with full page ads show 22% more engagement
  • Users are 64% more likely to buy a product online after watching a video
  • 65% of executives visit a website after seeing a video.
  • Consumers say they feel more informed after a video, and the whole purchasing experience is more enjoyable.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures (maybe more – Dr. James McQuivey at Forrester Research says that one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words).

Sure, video is great for websites, but what about for digital signs? Your digital signage system is basically a very versatile intranet that can be seen from anywhere you place displays. You may even have interactive touchscreens or kiosks, allowing people to access content at their own pace. But even without interactivity, video is a great fit for digital signage.

We know that motion captures attention – human beings are hardwired to notice things moving in their immediate surroundings. Combining still images, images with a little movement (like a slow pan or the Ken Burns effect), and video is a sure way to keep your playlists fresh and interesting.

You might have news feeds in one zone of your layout, and perhaps a moving ticker across the bottom or top of your screen. Animated icons for weather and other information can also attract the eye.

And then there’s actual video content. This could be anything at all – a collection of slides, something curated from the web (provided copyright allows), or original video content you’ve made for a specific purpose. Video allows you to really tell a story, and this is what captivates people and gets them talking. When people talk about something they’ve seen, and share it, then that content goes “viral” – spreading throughout the digital world seemingly of its own accord.

Your video should look good. That doesn’t mean it has to be an expensive project – quick low-res videos are extremely popular, as they mimic homemade videos people see and love on YouTube and Vimeo. But it shouldn’t look amateurish – if it’s low res, then it needs to show that this was intentional. And you don’t even need expensive equipment anymore – most smartphones have extremely high-quality cameras, and even some professionals are trading in expensive equipment like DSLRs for smartphone technology. And there are plenty of cheap or even free basic video editing software suites available. Remember – you aren’t making the next Spider-Man movie, you’re just telling a quick story to get people interested in your message or your brand. Don’t overcomplicate it.

Should you use audio? That’s probably not an option in some locations – sound bouncing around through the hallways could be distracting and annoying. But in places where people linger, like breakrooms or at elevator banks, a little sound might enhance your message. But plan on making videos that tell a story visually without sound – that way you can show them anywhere.

Don’t make your video too long – even online users start clicking away after 60 seconds, and Facebook reports that the videos that get the highest completion rate and the most shares are 21 seconds or less. You also need to consider the context of your digital displays – screens mounted in hallways have maybe two or three seconds to grab someone’s attention and get them to stop and look. In break rooms or places where people are sitting down, you might have longer to engage them.

You can spread a good video across multiple platforms. Consider making a short teaser video for display on your digital signs that drives your audience to your social media page, YouTube channel or website where they can see a longer version (with sound or music). And you have automatic ROI – if you start getting more views after a video is up on your digital signs, then you know it’s working.

Seriously consider doing something comedic – over a third of digital videos watched are funny in some way. Comedy also shows that your organization doesn’t take things too seriously, which appeals to millennials. People are more likely to remember, talk about and share something that is short and funny, and lightens their day. Another commonly shared type of video is one that shows something cute, like the video of Teddy Bear (the porcupine that likes eating pumpkin), that was so popular a few years ago.

Mix it up – no one really knows how to make something “go viral”. It’s a combination of hitting the right tone at the right time with the right people. One thing that is known, however, is you have to attract the power users – the networkers, the people who talk to others and who habitually share content. Have some videos that are funny, some that are cute, and some that are just beautiful to look at, and you’re sure to get people interested.

Because videos tell very short stories, they’re perfect for long-tail campaigns. Have a character or set of characters in different situations, in multiple videos over time, and people will tune in to see what happens next.

More than 65% of markets are increasing their video budgets, so they must be on to something. With just a little planning, you can incorporate short, enticing video content into your digital signage deployment, and get your audience engaged.