May 1, 2020 1:54:23 PM

Digital Signage Network Measurement and the Power of Attribution

Driving action is one of the goals assigned to a digital signage network. But without being able to attribute those actions to a particular prompt you don’t really know if those efforts are working. For example, say you have a screen that displays

information about your store’s loyalty app. If you direct viewers straight to your website URL to download the app, you can’t tell what drove them to that page. But if you send viewers to a custom URL only shared via that particular digital screen, you know exactly how they got there. That’s attribution.

Ideally, you should design content and digital experiences with attribution in mind up front. That way, the attribution is clear, and it’s easy to measure the success of your content.

But if your content wasn’t designed with attribution in mind from the beginning, then you’ve got some work ahead of you. Because without it, you have no proof what content is driving action and what is falling flat. Did the customer download the app because of the sign, or because the cashier told them about it as they were checking out? With your passive content, how can you tell if your audience is even engaging with it?

Measuring attribution—how do you start?

Attribution is a key goal in any marketing initiative, yet it is a challenging one. That’s because marketing almost always involves multiple channels. Using several tools in your marketing toolkit lets you provide multiple paths for customers to take action. Without attribution, however, you won’t know which tool gave you the results you wanted. That means you could focus your efforts tweaking a tool that’s already working great, while not addressing one that’s not working at all.

These days, most attribution comes through technology that’s specifically designed to reveal whether Outcome A is the result of Effort B.

Both primary types of customer experiences—passive and interactive—each have their own attribution challenges. However, interactive experiences have more obvious ways to attribute data. A touch screen lets you record how customers interact with it. Or, as mentioned before, a screen displaying a custom URL can help you determine how many viewers used that URL to take a particular action, like downloading your shopping app.

The challenge with passive content is that the screen content is view-only, and how do you attribute any action to that? One way is to have anonymous video recording of people in the area, so you know how many are pausing there and viewing the screen’s content. Or, a little less invasively and using the right Wi-Fi technology, you can read signals from smartphones. Either of these can tell you how many people came through that area and stopped to view the content.

There are other technologies to measure attribution from either interactive or passive experiences. You might simply survey customers and ask whether they saw the digital screens. You can look at POS data to correlate purchases to sign content. For example, a screen near a product display that recommends complementary products along with a rise in sales of those products suggests the digital screen content is working.

Tap other groups in your organization

Uncertain about where to start? Other divisions and departments in your organization may already be measuring attribution, so talk to them and find out what works—and what doesn’t—based on their experiences.

Is the digital marketing team already using custom URLs to attribute actions to their content? Is the store management or merchandising team already running surveys to measure customer experience? Does IT already have the Wi-Fi tech to track devices in the store? Find out what’s already available and in use, and you may find several methods you can adapt for measuring attribution on the network.

Once that’s part of the conversation, it’s important to continue touching base on a regular basis, as well as every time you develop a new content campaign. Eventually, you’ll always be looking for ways to attribute results to your content. Designing for attribution will become second nature.