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January 8, 2018

Playlist Size

A question that comes up often in the digital signage industry is how a playlist should be organized and managed. We’ve discussed in previous blogs, Content and White Noise, what the ideal content is and how it’s managed. The playlist order and management utilizes your unique content and displays it to your audience at a specific time and frequency.

The Question 

What’s the optimal number of messages for audiences? No one size fits all solution, so how are system owners handling this?

That’s one of the most challenging aspects of digital signage content, the playlist. First, you must assess your objectives and strategize your content plan and delivery. For example, here are a few scenarios and what we recommend.

Example 1

Client – Retail

Location – Entrances

Objective – Increase sales and promotion awareness for the top 3 items per week

Audience – Weekly big basket shoppers

Example 2

Client – Museum

Location – Exhibit

Objective – Educate visitors to a specific exhibit

Audience – Museum visitors

The four minimum factors to consider are what industry, location, objective, and the end user or audience. After you’ve addressed these factors you can implement a specific strategy. In retail, you’ll want to consider how often customers are shopping at your store, how long the dwell time is in front of the digital display, and general demographic information. After you’ve assessed these factors the content is created based on dwell time and the 3 top items objective. The playlist would have to then include at minimum 3 quick messages that are engaging and address the top 3 items within the dwell time. Another aspect of the playlist is to include non-promotional items to not overwhelm customers and keep them engaged with local and relevant information, such as events happening near them. With all these factors included, a playlist should be at least 4 messages long and be updated weekly with the available promotions. This will keep the audience engaged and informed while helping meet the objective.

In the museum example, the same four factors will need to be considered. Museums typically have a longer dwell time and can keep their audience engaged for longer periods of time. This playlist recommendation could have one long informational video that explains the exhibit. This playlist could be updated less frequently as returning visitors are not as often for this industry. However, the dwell time should be factored into the content for how often the playlist should repeat.

The Process

Overall, the process is contingent on your audience and specific information pertaining to client objectives. Below is a quick overview of how we initially approach a new digital signage project and organize the playlist.

Step 1 – Industry considerations

Step 2 – Audience

Step 3 – Objectives

Step 4 -Hardware/Software

Step 5 – Dwell times

Step 6 – Content-length and frequency of updates

Step 7 – Content Management

Step 8 – Playlist organization

The Playlist

The content itself will play a significant factor in the organization of your playlist. If the content needs to be longer then the playlist organization needs to factor that aspect into the strategy and dwell times. There is no one answer to playlist organization, but a dedicated content development and management team is always recommended to help overcome obstacles and meet a client’s objectives.