Digital signage is a powerful way to connect with customers, promote products and services, reinforce your brand, and share essential information. We now see businesses of all types adding digital signage to their stores, offices, restaurants, clubs, and anywhere customers, clients, or guests gather. There is no limit to the content that you can share. However, there are some things that you can do to improve the impact of your signage and ensure that it is having the intended effect on your viewers. While static images certainly have their place on digital signs, video can take things to another level. With video, it becomes even more essential to think about what you are trying to do and ensure that your content enhances your message instead of distracting.
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The Power of Video for Digital Signage
Research shows us over and over that people are more likely to notice and pay attention to video content than static images. Digital screens work perfectly for this type of content and if you are using a service like OptiSigns, adding video is just as easy as adding any other content. It is just a matter of creating compelling content that aligns with your overall messaging strategy. The topic of your content largely depends on what message you are trying to convey and the audience you are trying to reach. Using video can be as simple as adding animation to static signs to draw attention and as complex as professionally produced video segments. Still, there are some basic tips to consider no matter what type of video promotional content you are using on your signs.
Example of video content for digital signage:
Tips for Creating the Best Digital Signage Video Content
Always start with "Why?"
It is easy to get carried away with the "cool factor" of video and forget the purpose of our digital signage. Now, if you run a high-tech company, perhaps having cutting-edge video production is a message in itself. For everyone else, spend some time thinking about what you are trying to accomplish.
Consider the Length
How long, on average, does someone spend in front of your screens? This is a critical thing to consider when creating any type of content for digital signage. It is an even more significant consideration when creating video. Depend on your content and type of audiences, but in general you can expect a viewer only stay in front of the screens for several seconds to a few minutes max.
On the other hand, longer-form videos may be compelling if there are longer waiting times at your business. Considering attention span is just as critical. Even if people are in front of your screens for a long time, if the content isn't engaging, they may turn their attention elsewhere. Just remember that few people will watch video content on a digital sign from beginning to end and plan accordingly.
Get the Aspect Ratio Right
When developing any sort of content for digital signage, keep the aspect ratio in mind. Most display systems use standard format screens. That means that you need to format your content for either a 16:9 screen (if your displays are set up in landscape orientation) or 9:16 (if they are hung in portrait orientation). Since most video is shot and formatted in 16:9, it can be challenging on portrait, 9:16 screens, with large black boxes either above, below, or both. However, suppose all of your screens are hung vertically. In that case, you may consider the growing popularity of portrait mode or vertical video. Usually shot on a smartphone, this can fill a 9:16 screen and grab viewer attention.
Mind the Edges
When creating video, or any on-screen content for that matter, always consider the edges of the screen. Due to the way different displays format content, you can't always assume that the very edges of your video content. Some video and graphics software will actually show you the safe zones for proper framing. In any case, just make sure that nothing important gets too close to the edge of the screen, or it may get cut off.
Make Sure People Can Read It.
Using text is a great way to drive home to point or call to action of video content on digital displays. Just be sure that people can read it. There are three factors to consider when adding text to video content: font, size, contrast, and time. Most of us design content in a very controlled environment. Sometimes what looks fine on a 24" screen three feet away in a desk doesn't work on a digital display hung in a lobby. Keep in mind, most people will be around ten feet away from a digital sign. In many cases, the distance may be greater. This means we need to be sure that our text is readable from that far away.
Tips to be sure people can read the text in your digital signage video:
Font: San serif fonts tend to be the most readable, especially from far away. Consider using options like Arial, Helvetica, or Verdana, which are readily available and easy on the eyes. When choosing fonts, also remember not to use too many. Quality design practices should limit us to one or two fonts maximum.
Size: There are some general rules of thumb for font size, but 90% of the time, the font is too small so consider making it bigger. If people are standing at an average distance of 10 feet, you will want to use at least a 20-30 point font. This can be frustrating if you are trying to get a lot of text on the screen. The best way to fix this is to reduce the amount of text. If you have too much text, people may not read it anyway.
Colors: Contrast is crucial when adding text to video. Contrast is the difference in color or luminance that makes two things on the screen stand out from each other. When adding text to video, this can be especially tricky. Text may be exceptionally clear against a high contrast background. However, when the video footage moves, the background color may be replaced. In these cases, it may be best to add a color overlay between your text and video to ensure a constant contrast level for the text.
Sound or No Sound?
For digital signage applications, should you include sound? The answer to that question really depends on each situation. There are some signage installations where having video with sound is not practical or even possible. Very often, signs are designed to work silently in the background. Still, in other situations, it may be possible and valuable for people to hear the sound that goes with the video. Either way, it just important to know what you are trying to do and, if the sound is critical to the presentation, be sure people can hear.
So, What Does Make Good Video Promotional Content for Digital Signs?
Once you understand some basic guidelines for creating video content for digital signs, what you do with video is entirely up to your imagination. In some cases, video will not be part of an overall signage program. In other cases, video may run all our most of the time. Finally, some organizations will likely include video as one single part of a comprehensive collection of content. No matter what, it is good to know the best way to use video on your screens if you ever need it. Learn more about how to easily make videos for digital signage here.