How to measure digital signage ROI

Doug Bannister, Founder & CTO
June 10, 2019
pink piggy bank against green wall

Digital Signage has experienced a rapid increase in popularity as more and more organizations realize the value this technology can add. In addition to allowing for live audience interactions, compared to what used to be just static paper advertisements, digital signage creates a prime opportunity for brand building while also influencing customer behavior in real-time.

It creates a stimulating environment, engaging the customer and impacting short and long term behaviours. However, simply throwing money at digital signage won't deliver the best return on your investment (ROI). Here are some guidelines for measuring your digital signage ROI.

figure pointing at ROI statistics


1. Define and Articulate Your Objectives

Each organization has unique goals and therefore unique requirements for what they expect to get in terms of return on an investment in new technology, products or processes. First, the organization should define what their definition of “return” entails. Increased sales? Increased efficiency? Time savings? In other words, based on the expectations of the return, what will the signage system be used for? Your objectives for digital signs may vary throughout your organization. For example, some signs may be used for keeping employees informed while others may be used to help customers.

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2. Understanding Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Objectives (ROO)

Return on investment is important because of its broad applicability. ROI is, at its simplest, hard dollars returned versus hard dollars invested; the gains from your investment less the initial investment cost.

ROI and Return on Objectives are closely intertwined. Digital signs  utilized for wayfinding may not appear to lead directly to increased revenues. However, by freeing up staff time, previously spent providing directions, the staff are now available to perform revenue generating activities instead. Thus, the wayfinding system indirectly leads to increased revenues.

When thinking about ROI it is also important to consider the timeframe. Generally, the ROI in technology needs to be looked at from a longer term point of view and a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).  The cost of investing in a digital signage network in the near term might far outweigh the cost of printing posters or adding additional staff. However, with digital signage you now have the ability to update your screens with real-time information, the option to update a single screen in a certain location for a specific purpose, or the entire network instantly. Compare that to the cost of trying to do that with printed signs or people, ROI and TCO appear a lot more appealing and the processes become a lot more efficient.

clipboard of ROI measurements


3. KNOW What to Measure

Another, more subjective form of ROI is measuring positive feedback from guests before and after installation of digital signage. This can help you determine the impact of the investment and if it is meeting your objectives. Even simply observing people can answer some questions: How long do customers spend in front of a digital sign? How many followed up by buying a sale item advertised on the sign?

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4. look at Advanced Methods of Measurement

If these simple ways to measure digital signage ROI aren't sufficient, technology allows you to establish more detailed measurements. For example, by integrating the Internet of Things and electronic sensors you can measure foot traffic or interactive touch screen responses.

Another, more involved type of ROI measurement is conducting surveys or interviews and recording people's responses. Did they notice the digital signs? Did they find them helpful?



5. Measure It, and Manage It

The old saying "You can't manage what you don't measure," while a cliché, is true. Fortunately, technology is making those measurements easier and more scientific, so businesses can track performance over both the short and long-term. Measuring ROI for digital signage makes sense, particularly for companies that plan to start small and roll out a larger digital signage project or network over time. Calculating ROI on initial projects can influence better ways to do things later on.

Businesses in industries ranging from healthcare to manufacturing to hospitality and more have turned to digital signage solutions for informing employees, communicating important messages, enhancing safety and engaging customers. To make the most of your digital signage investment you need to calculate ROI. You will gain a deeper understanding of customer or employee behavior and can be fine-tune your digital signage strategy for maximum benefit.