Testing Digital Signage Strategies: Best Practices

In this age of rapid decision-making in an uncontained environment, a variety of factors can have an influence. Gauging the degrees of outcome with certainty are tough as well as challenging. Today, we want evidence that a particular idea will work (or can work) before pushing that big GO button. One of the tools available to us in this complicated decision-making process is “Testing.” Testing an idea or hypothesis lets businesses fail-fast, fail-cheap and succeed-BIG.

Going into 2017, fast food restaurants, stadiums, arenas, movie theatres, retail supercenters amongst others, can leverage testing as means to validate their Digital Signage (DS) strategies (in-store and/or drive-thru, kiosk vs. order confirmation systems, menu boards and/or merchandisers, digital content, etc.). When it comes to testing DS strategies, at CRI, we adhere to these five crucial elements or what we call as “Best Practices”:

  1. Limit to ONE OBJECTIVE for the test: Stick to ONE objective when testing DS strategy. You can consider two hypotheses (but only if your life depends on it)! As a general rule, multiple hypotheses often hurt, not help, your efforts when testing. Having more than one objective, not only gives you an unclear picture of what’s working, but it can make it extremely complicated to scale your testing to various locations.
  2. Keep the testing CLEAN: Elements such as promotions, menu changes or price changes can modify the nature and magnitude of the visitors’ motivation. This shift in motivation could be significant enough to offset the effect of the Test variables.
  3. Always keep a HOLDOUT Sample: A sample of locations should be set aside as a holdout. This sample will act as the baseline in assessing the effectiveness of DS strategy. Identifying a holdout for every (group of) Test location while designing the Test is advisable considering it ensures robust measurement & predictability
  4. Normalize for other KNOWN FACTORS: The holdout sample itself normalizes for several of the factors that influence performance, such as seasonality, trend, etc. Nonetheless, it’s necessary to realize that the holdouts will never have all the conditions and environments same as their Test counterparts. There could be differences in weather, or where they are located – such as malls vs. independent sites, nearby competition, type of demographics, etc.
  5. Allow sufficient TIME-PERIOD: “Sufficient” is not subjective. It’s very much definable and objective in nature. Monitoring response data from the Test on a regular interval will help define it better. Observing consistent deviation for an amount of time is crucial to determine the success of a Test.

Testing can become incredibly complex and ultimately wind up inconclusive if not done right. Getting these five basic steps right is imperative in making the entire process go smoothly & efficiently.

Most importantly, it takes an open culture and mindset to try different ideas and be ready to fail and learn through the process, so approach your digital signage testing with a spirit of curiosity and excitement – you’re about to learn a great deal that can positively impact your strategy and actions in the future!

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