Blog: Keith Kelsen 

Keith Kelsen (bio)
Chairman & CEO
5th Screen Digital

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Changing content based on what time of day it is and what day of the week it is can critically affect the impact of digital signage content on customers and associates. The same loop that is effective for the demographics of morning customers or midweek customers will not necessarily appeal to customers who frequent the business at other times. In addition, the employees of the business can easily become annoyed or bored with an overly repetitious loop of content. The danger is that associates may communicate that feeling—even unconsciously—to customers, negating some of the value of the screens. Or they may simply tune it out altogether, eliminating the screens’ usefulness as training or employee information tools.

A simple approach is to change the loop of content three times a day: morning, midday, and afternoon. This will keep associates happy and also creates programming that is diverse to the customer. It’s also important to think about changing the order of the content within each playlist as it is repeated. The content can still be delivered in an overall pattern that is effective for the marketer in reaching different customers, but that doesn’t appear to be overly patterned to either customers or associates. A more sophisticated approach is to add and delete pieces of content throughout the day and week to keep playlists fresh. Like a radio station playing popular music, hit songs are repeated often, but not at the same time every hour, and new songs are brought into the mix as others are taken out to create variety and interest and keep people listening. The same idea applies here; continuous small changes to the overall content, plus shuffling its order, will prevent customers and associates from tuning out.

Although this may sound like a lot of work, the process can be automated through the use of cloning tools for playlists that are built into some software. These tools take one playlist, create a clone, and then change the order of the content according to certain rules. In effect, one now has two interchangeable playlists. This can be done several times depending on the length of the playlist and the length of the day segment for which that particular content is intended.

Software can also greatly help in delivering relevant content at the right time, right place, and right target. One can profile day parts with the demographic information, and that profile can be applied to each screen. Then, if one applies that same profile to a piece of content, that content can automatically match up to that screen. As networks become larger, automation is a must have to apply maximum relevant content to the right audience at the right time.

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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Well is it? Your viewers might think so…

Boredom –It’s the moment in time that drives us to do something better.

Hopefully not better than watch your screens!

Content is King and to the viewer that content better be great or risk the bored viewer. The bored viewer is a brand nightmare.

Funny thing is boys tend to be bored more often than girls, said Stephen Vodanovich, a professor of psychology at the University of West Florida, especially when it comes needing more, and a variety of, external stimulation.

“Boredom is the brain’s way to tell you, you should be doing something else,” says Gary Marcus, a professor of psychology at N.Y.U.

Jennifer Schuessler wrote about boredom in an essay in 2010 and said; “Boredom may itself be a highly useful human capacity…as an important source of creativity, well-being and our very sense of self.”

On the other hand Anne Gosling wrote; “People who are often bored are at greater risk of developing anxienty, depression and drug or alchohol addiction, display anger, aggressive behavior and lack of interpersonal skills….”

When it comes to feeling bored frequently it may be ones physiology…individuals with fewer dopamine receptors need more excitement to stay stimulated.

Brands want a positive emotional response to their image even on DOOH and digital signage and boring content does just the opposite.

Robert Plutchik created a wheel of emotions. He believed there were eight primary/bipolar emotions: joy versus sadness; anger versus fear; trust versus disgust; and surprise versus anticipation. His model also connects the idea of an emotion circle and a color wheel. The primary emotions can be expressed just like colors at different intensities and you can mix with one with the other to form different emotions.














In Plutchik’s color wheel; positive feelings  such as optimism, love and submission are the results of feelings that are interest & anticipation, serenity & joy, acceptance & trust. As a brand one would want content that is cool, exciting, fun that brings out positive emotions like optimism, love, submission and awe that ultimately bring on feelings that are positive to the brand. These are feelings that we strive for in creating great content.

On the opposite side of the wheel is boredom which is on the way to disgust and lothing…just the feeling of what bad and mediocre content will impart to the viewer.

In my travels I have seen many many really bad pieces of content so, I’m going to vent here….

Ask yourself; Is my content boring? If you don’t know or if it is, then you are hurting your brand or the brands you have on your network. A bunch of text on PowerPoint does not equate to good content, it’s boring! If you are not putting up great content then take the screen down. I’m not suggestion that you spend $250K on creating content, but for goodness sake recognize your limits and bring in the pros for some help or find out how to create great content. Digital Signage is its own medium and it’s unlike any other medium. Content must be created specifically for DOOH/Digital Signage.

Ok…how do you create great content? Follow a few tried and true rules listed below.

In section above, I wrote about boredom and how it directly affects all brands on the screen…

“Content is King and to the viewer that content better be great or risk the bored viewer. The bored viewer is a brand nightmare.”

Content must be created specifically for DOOH/Digital Signage. So how do you create great content? Here are ten tried & true basics to follow.

1. First and foremost understand who your audience is and tailor your message to that particular demographic.

2. Make the message relevant by understanding why the viewer is standing in front of your screen in the first place.

Now the nuts and bolts;

3. Analyze the current traditional media that is being used. Most digital signage will be deployed as an additive component to existing marketing and advertising campaigns. it’s important to keep campaigns on digital signage aligned with the images and messages of the overall campaign. Operators should closely examine all the raw assets available for each of the other screens—TV and Online, primarily—for material that can be pooled and then reused or re-purposed in digital signage content.

4. Leverage existing content from other media assets. Existing content can consist of both finished and raw advertising footage, still photography and graphic images, animations, sounds, and voice-overs, in addition to the basic graphic elements and in addition to considering the screen-based assets that are available, don’t neglect the potentially large volume of assets intended for use in printed materials. Because print preproduction today is almost entirely digital, the photography, illustrations, and even text are likely to already exist in computer files that are immediately useable on a digital signage screen; images are almost certainly in sufficiently high resolution to take advantage of even the highest of high-definition screens.

5. It’s important not only to collect the available assets but also to take a complete inventory what’s on hand. There are two reasons for this. The first is that one will need to understand what’s available before deciding on what the most relevant and useful pieces of content are and how they might be reused. This will save considerable time when creating the final digital signage content.

6. Networks that are successful have a consistent set of guidelines that dictate the styles, tone, and other characteristics that will make it instantly identifiable to viewers. This includes colors, fonts, position of photos, showcasing products, etc.

7. Choosing contrasting values — such as white on black and gray on black — directly affects how well the content will be comprehended and the speed at which one can comprehend the message. Similar thinking can be applied to color in practical ways while choosing contrasting colors that work. First and foremost, choosing a dark color for the background and a light color for the foreground or vice versa will have a direct impact on the ease of comprehension

8. Simplify text - less is more. Shorten your message and bring forth the highlights. Another issue to avoid in general is the use of text over pictures. This tends to make the message very difficult to read, especially when the picture has shadows, dark colors, or sunny areas with light colors.

9. Define up front the action you want your viewers to take. Tell them the specific benefits. Use curiosity as a motivator to the solution. Headline the most compelling benefit. Call for viewers to take action.

10. Remember that digital signage is a moving, living medium. Using motion to emphasize and bring attention to one’s message, even in text, can be an elegant method to help recall. Use motion and strong bold graphics to make your messages clear and instantly understood.

In summary, creating content is best achieved by following a process that begins at the highest level of your network’s identity and works down. Networks that are successful have a consistent set of guidelines that dictate the styles, tone, and other characteristics that will make it instantly identifiable to viewers.

Posted by: Admin AT 01:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Relevance; constructing content to carry a company’s messages in a manner that has meaning to the specific audience whose behavior the company is seeking to influence. OK…now how does one do that?

Even before companies decide to make DOOH part of their marketing and communications strategy, they usually have a good idea of who the most likely buyers of their products or services will be. The choice of network depends in part on the habits of those buyers—digital signage needs to reach them in places they are most likely to be, at the times they are most likely to be there. But it is the content itself that takes its cue most directly from the intended audience.

As with any type of marketing, a solid understanding of the audience is what will provide the keys to creating compelling content. Further, because digital signage allows marketers to take advantage of so many variables—from the length of a content segment to the time of day it appears—it is vital for marketers to understand their specific audiences at a high level of detail…including Behavioral Attitudes, Demographics, Emotional Relevance and making the content relevant to one’s environment and what the audience is doing in that environment.

If one looks at the Golden Triangle of Digital Engagement, one can see this is just a portion of considerations for creating a successful digital signage engagement.



When engaging the digital consumer one must keep an additional three things in mind. 1. Create a Two Way Street.  Let them share the experience and talk to you the brand. 2. Create a Compelling Experience…where the consumer actually looks up from their pocket screen and engages with your retail screen (s). 3. Create the Latent Conversation. If the experience is engaging enough, the consumer will give up their personal mobile number or email and opt in.

Remember that it is no longer about the screen on the wall or the kiosk in the corner, that is quickly becoming glance media in the retail environment.

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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Point of Wait (POW) digital signage network—one targeted to consumers waiting for a product or service. Usually we encounter these in retail lines and healthcare and hospitality locations, as well as internal corporate communications.

The consumers watching these screens are dwell time viewers. One typical POW network is found in retail banking, where consumers are entertained in a queue while also being exposed to advertising and general feel-good content. Good content, usually lengthier, results in a happy customer for the teller. It is all about perceived wait time.

Digital screens installed inside elevators present a quick news bite, an ad, and perhaps a weather forecast during the short trip from one floor to the next and enable advertisers to reach viewers during this dwell time. The largest POW networks today are in health care, doctor offices of all types include vets, hospitals, ophthalmologist etc.

Posted by: Admin AT 02:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Monday, 29 April 2013

Every day the consumer becomes more and more involved in a digital world. From movie screens, TVs and PCs to smartphones, tablets and digital signage, the screens are converging on several levels.

The consumer demands a rich media experience across all screens. They expect each screen to look and act similarly. The lines used to be very clear between a TV and a PC, but today the lines have been blurred by interactive TV and TV on PCs. And then the consumer is watching TV and movies on mobile and tablet screens.

It is no longer a separate screen for a separate purpose; it's really "One Screen." And in a "One Screen" world the consumer can change to a shopper in a matter of seconds and buy anything, anytime, anyplace. This has far reaching effects in retail.

Today the consumer disposition changes based on two things: where they are and what they are doing. For instance, a personal screen (tablet, mobile) or the screen on the wall becomes a point of wait whenever the consumer has "Dwell Time." They could be in line getting coffee or at a doctor's office. When the consumer is driving down the road, or at a train station or airport, the consumer is "On the Go," and their screen or the screen in the venue or on the roadside becomes a point-of-transit screen, where the messages are brief and about the brand. And when the consumer is either in a retail environment or just sees something they want to buy, the screen then becomes a point of sale, where the consumer is now a "Shopper."

Now the content must change according to what the consumer is doing and where the consumer is located. It doesn't matter if it is their pocket screen or tablet or the interactive screen in the venue. What does matter is the content that is on that screen and how the consumer interacts with it.

The major shift we see in the marketplace is this interaction with any screen. A screen on the wall is not as compelling an experience as a screen with which the consumer interacts. This interaction can be on their own screen in the venue with specific content that is related to the that particular venue, or it can be on a "Digital Destination" screen that is there to create a fun entertainment or an educationally engaging experience. A "Digital Destination" is a place in reality that ties into the digital frontier while enhancing the consumer experience. One might consider that in the very near future, not only are all screens converging into one screen, so also is the multiverse/virtual reality converging on reality.

The consumer has become a "media monster" that needs to be fed. The new digital consumer has developed and appetite for media like no other generation before — and it's not just consumers born after 1980 (the digital generation); it is the baby boomers (analog digital wannabes) too. Changing the strategy to accommodate these newfound consumer interactions is critical. As content creators and strategists, we must take into consideration what particular mindset the consumer is in (on the go, shopper or dwell time) and create media that addresses that need in that particular mindset and in the particular venue. In addition, we have to consider how we create content and create it once for all screens and not just one-off messages for a particular screen. This means that we have to create media in such a way that the final message can easily be assembled for any screen in automated ways.

To create final messages that are close to the mindset of the consumer at a particular venue, one needs to consider data-driven intelligent messages that are assembled to create a more relevant message that match the consumers mindset and what venue they are in. It is this customization on digital signage that is driven by anonymous video analytics (like Intel's AIM Suite) that helps drive more relevant messages to the consumer in specific age and culture groups that are also "Shoppers," have "Dwell Time" or are "On the Go."

Data-driven intelligent content will be designed so that the ecosystem (defined as connected devices) knows and learns from our choices and patterns that are created in our lives while delivering the experience that we desire. In addition, information from other connected devices adds to our experience. Because ultimately content is designed to give each of us a memorable experience, the more tailored that experience is to me based on data that's about me the better experience I might be able to have.

Big intelligent data in retail can drive content to do one of two things: learn my behaviors to help me find and buy products that I might be interested in, or bring me in-venue information that is relevant to my experience. This convergence of venue-driven data versus my personal data is on an impact course that can only produce spectacular experiences. The more sophisticated the data and the learned behavior the better matched the experience tailored to me will be. For instance, an auto parts store in the U.S. uses big data to find out what kind vehicles residents are driving in the proximity of each store and then they focus on creating advertising around the most popular vehicles.

The bottom line is, it will not matter which screen I am engaged with, because behind all the screens is one intelligent media data landscape and what the consumer ultimately sees is "One Screen."

Keith Kelsen is the author of "Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage – Content Strategies for the 5th Screen." More information about his book and the book's companion website can be found at His company, 5th Screen, is at Follow him on Twitter @KKelsen.

Posted by: Admin AT 12:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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