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It's unlikely that you'll make it through the day without seeing at least one digital sign. Digital signage is becoming a ubiquitous part of our daily lives. On the way to work, on the subway, at shops, and even at your doctor's office, digital screens are everywhere.

While I know I'd be preaching to the converted if I just evangelized the benefits of digital signage in general, what you may find more of a revelation is just how powerful the combination of digital signage and social media is for building brand awareness and influencing customer behavior to benefit the bottom line.

Before I get to the social media bit — and I know I said we wouldn't evangelize — let's revisit a few of the highlights. For starters, digital signs are far more engaging than their static counterparts:

  • 63 percent of us see digital signage every day, and
  • digital signs capture 400 percent more views than static signs.

With stats like that it's no wonder that while print advertising revenue is projected to decrease by 23.8 percent over the next four or five years, digital advertising revenue is set to grow by 11 percent in the same period.

So, considering that the consumer seems to prefer impactful, eye-catching digital signs, brand awareness and sales should both see big benefits. Research provides evidence that this is indeed the case:

  • a 48 percent increase in brand awareness among consumers, and
  • a 33 percent increase in sales.

The benefits don't stop there. Exposure to digital signage has been shown to increase:

  • the average purchase amount of consumers by as much as 29.5 percent, and
  • repeat customers by as much as 32.8 percent.

Upping your customer retention by a third is a powerful step in increasing brand advocacy.  And there's more: 29 percent of consumers, when asked, said that seeing an in-store video urged them to make a purchase they otherwise wouldn't have.

Appealing to our emotions, compelling consumer behavior and encouraging advocacy is at the heart of digital signage. While conventional content achieves this to an extent, there is one medium that makes use of consumer behavior and emotion more than any other: Social media.

Social media dominates so many aspects of modern life, and the business world is no exception. Eighty-eight percent of B2B marketers and 76 percent of B2C marketers are making active use of content marketing to build their brand online and generate stronger digital performance. However set this against the reality that the majority of shopping still happens offline, face-to-face and with a physical presence of both parties. Using retail as an example, 92 percent of sales in the U.S. were offline. This goes to show how important social media and content marketing is both offline and online, and how powerful combining social media with offline sales can potentially be.

Owned and earned content

Brand-owned and earned content such as user generated content are, in combination, responsible for a 28 percent rise in brand engagement. Not only that, but more specifically for UGC:

  • 84 percent of those who trust social media are much more likely to trust content created by their peers than by a brand, and 
  • 68 percent trust consumer reviews versus the 64 percent who trust professional reviews.

Most importantly, UGC increases sale conversions by 7 percent when featured at the point of sale. Further rises in sales, by 13 percent and 18 percent, respectively, can occur due to either presenting the number of "likes" in posts or by showcasing reviews, which are both inextricably connected with UGC.

With all of that in mind, it comes as no surprise that digital screens containing an integrated mosaic of social media posts are to be found at events, retail stores, restaurants, hotels, streets and just about everywhere. We know that digital signage increases sales and that consumers trust each other the most, so combining these two winning formulas is where the sweet-spot is. Combining digital signage and UGC across social media provokes substantial sales increases. It is the exact point where we as marketers want to be: Closely associated with two marketing mega stars that happen to be even better when they duet!

How do we make the most of social and UGC content?

We are at a crossroads in terms of modern marketing, an era in which the borders between all of the different marketing disciplines have become increasingly blurred with each passing day. Social media marketing is powerful, especially if integrated and combined with digital signage. What separates the good marketing campaigns and activities with the great ones is vital.

Being able to tailor your message to a specific audience by targeting defined groups is what will make the difference. The extent to which companies will adapt and learn to adjust their message through social media — depending on factors such as location, culture, demographics and time zone — is the ultimate challenge. Programmatic and content marketing are no longer buzzwords but realities that need to be faced head on.

By Konstantinos Vgenopoulos, Digital Marketing Executive, Miappi Ltd.

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