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Measuring Digital Signage ROI

(March 2017) posted on Fri Mar 17, 2017

Having actionable data is essential for any new technology; how you obtain that data is just as important.

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By Beth Osborne

To measure if wait time decreased, one option is to measure total wait time from entrance to checkout, but that may be prohibitive because there would need to be some kind of sensor at the door. Another, easier span of time to measure is from order time to actual receipt of food, which is usually tracked in quick-serve or fast casual restaurants. You would want to calculate the average wait time during lunch (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and determine if that decreased. But watch out for outside factors, like new staff who might not be as quick as more seasoned staff, or a new menu item that takes longer to prepare. Again, it’s critical to isolate the experiment so that digital signage is the only new factor.

Step 3: What Does the Data Mean?
The next step is to analyze the data and determine what worked and what should be tweaked. If sales increased on the promoted product, but not to the percent expected, then maybe work on the content. Ask questions about how it was presented and how long it was on the screen. Maybe change the imagery or animation. But remember, if you are going to change something and then re-measure, pick only one thing to change. You can also look for data trends. For example, did sales spike at specific times? If so, leverage this.

Looking at brand awareness on social media, you should be able to isolate mentions and engagements specific to the hashtag you chose. If there’s no significant change, then maybe it wasn’t a relevant hashtag, or maybe Twitter isn’t the end users’ social platform of choice. If there was an increase, map those engagements to better understand if they led to new followers or website clicks. To put it all in context, you should look at overall engagement stats for Twitter, and determine the percentage driven by this hashtag. For example, if you had a total of 300 new followers for the time period but could only link 120 to the hashtag experiment, then the total of new followers is 40 percent.

For customer experience, create a graph of wait times by time of day, then compare to the data collected before digital signage. If there wasn’t a decrease, then the main culprit is probably content. Can the fifth or sixth person in line see the signs clearly? Is important information not being shown long enough? If wait times did decrease, spot the trends. If wait time decreased by 20 seconds consistently from 11:30 a.m. to noon, what does this mean compared to other times that performed better or worse? Add another line to the graph that includes volume so the data has context. If there is high volume and you’re still seeing decreases in wait time, then something is clearly working well.



ROI doesn’t need to be mysterious. It’s important to understand what a client’s goals are: revenue increases, brand awareness, or customer experience. Once the goal is determined, it’s essential to make it a SMART goal, understand how and what to measure, and analyze the data. Then you can take action.

Consistently setting up ROI experiments in cooperation with your clients not only helps them understand the value, but also provides you with the opportunity to author case studies, which any prospective client is sure to love.

Find Beth Osborne on Twitter at @bethfosborne and follow Big Picture at @BigPictureMag.

Read more of Beth Osborne's Digital Signage expertise or check out Big Picture's March 2017 issue.

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