Infotainment | Screen Displays to Engage Your Audience
Digital signage content creation is typically a sales-oriented process where marketing and creativity collide. We all know how effective digital signage is at capturing attention, and when paired with relevant marketing messages, the benefits are hard to ignore. But digital signage doesn’t need to be only a marketing tool. Its power to inform is matched by its power to entertain—a concept known as Infotainment. There are several ways to get your audience to engage with screens through infotainment.
Infotainment for digital signage involves acknowledging the value of entertainment for reaching an audience and leaning into that concept through content creation. It’s not meant to push marketing goals directly, but rather, to engage audiences in a different way. When done correctly, infotainment for digital signage acts as a value-adding complement to your more direct marketing messages. And in this way, the concept is a must-have strategy for digital signage engagement.
1. Trivia Quizzes
This is a versatile option applicable to any industry. Companies can come up with unique, interesting trivia questions to splash across the screen, offering a blend of entertainment and actual industry knowledge, depending on your preferences.
For example, a healthcare clinic installing digital signage in its waiting rooms (as it should, if it wants to keep its waiting patients entertained!) could ask the following question:
- Is LDL the “good” cholesterol or the “bad” cholesterol in your blood test results?
This is a simple, relevant question that may actually improve a patient’s knowledge about his/her health, particularly when it comes time to see the doctor. (It’s the bad cholesterol, by the way.)
But while questions like these can be used for educational purposes, remember, the goal here is entertainment! Don’t feel like these questions need to be informative. It’s trivia, after all, and any topic is fair game.
Come up with plenty of questions, industry-focused or not, and display them on the signage. And don’t forget to add visuals, photos, and other design elements to help the text pop. Companies have much more flexibility in this type of digital signage design layout than in other forms of marketing, so let the imagination run wild!
2. Helpful Spotlights
Here’s a great one for those in hotels and hospitality: local spotlights!
This can be super helpful content for viewers unfamiliar with the region. Come up with a few restaurants, bars, or recreation areas nearby and create a custom digital signage layout featuring the brand. Describe what’s great about it and some key options that visitors should try out.
Of course, companies will need to get buy-in from the restaurant in question before beginning, but many companies are open to these types of shared marketing partnerships—particularly small businesses that want exposure!
In terms of infotainment for digital signage, this one is a little more marketing-centric than entertainment proper, but companies can add some flair to give the messages more appeal beyond what viewers typically see in digital signage menu boards.
- Wrong: “Watson’s Deli down the block offers chicken salad sandwiches for $5.99.
- Right: “Feeling hungry? Head down the block to Watson’s Deli and try a house-made chicken salad sandwich!”
And so on. It’s important to phrase these ideas as helpful recommendations rather than sales pitches. The idea is to inform and entertain at the same time. And again, make sure to supplement these descriptions with good looking photos of the restaurant’s interior, food options, or whatever other features being highlighted in the text. Infotainment on your screen sound still be interesting to look at!
3. Travel Inspiration
This one is great for airports, hotels, or any company speaking to travelers. Why not leverage infotainment on screens for digital signage to give people a more entertaining travel experience?
This is another area where creativity pays off. The sky’s the limit (no pun intended) when it comes to travelling tips. Display photos of different destinations, offer quick, bullet-list style tips for getting through airport security comfortably, or detail some of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.
For this strategy, high-impact imagery is a must. The goal here isn’t to necessarily arm vacationers with all the information they’ll need to travel, but rather, to encourage their innate wanderlust and get them excited about their plans. Leverage photos of nearby locales, restaurants, parks, or recreation areas, and don’t be afraid to pair these images with relevant data points that might be of interest:
- Did you know that London receives over four million more visitors per year than Paris? (Paired with relevant images of these cities, of course!)
This is a localized strategy that will depend on what facilities are near the signage in question—but in truth, the benefits apply to whatever gets put up on the screen.
4. Infotainment on Screens via Social Media
Infotainment is a blend of information and entertainment. And up until now, we’ve focused mostly on strategies that prioritize information over the more lighthearted, fun side of things. This is where social media comes into play.
As many of us would agree, there’s very little that’s “informational” about the average person’s social media use (news outlets notwithstanding). For most of us, social media is about fun; it’s about relaxing and relating to others—which gives it a particularly useful application in infotainment for digital signage. And best of all, it’s applicable to any industry or company.
With the right digital signage integration tools, companies can pull social feeds from different websites and display the data on their screens. These could be highly-rated posts, posts that have been shared often, posts with imagery, or others.
For a particular example, let’s talk about applying this strategy in educational settings. While K-12 schools might not seem like the ideal place to incorporate social feeds, but as educators know, technology is a powerful teaching tool—provided it’s used correctly!
Schools can’t just curate content from anywhere; they need to make sure the content put up is acceptable and school-appropriate. But with an integrated digital signage strategy, schools can create dedicated social feeds designed for sharing on schoolwide signage systems. Within these feeds, students will contribute ideas, jokes, memes, thoughts, or opinions. All of which should/can be approved and put on display.
These types of feeds are far more engaging to student populations than lofty administrative messages about education and learning. They’re engaging, authentic messages that draw their eyes to the screen. And while this particular example focuses on encouraging students to participate, the concept also applies to other industries that rely on grabbing a viewer’s attention.
Infotainment on your Display Screens: Blending Function with Fun
Infotainment is a delicate blend of function and fun to use on any screen. It’s not sterile, direct marketing—but neither is it completely without rules. When developing content for each screen, and work towards automating as many of the implementation steps as possible. With a little testing, companies of all kinds can develop digital signage strategies that balance these elements and work towards more effective, engaging messaging across various industries and screens.