Digital signage trends in 2021

Fredrik Lund
Fredrik Lund | 4 minutes to read

Even though the year 2020 can be defined as the year when everything stood still, a lot has happened when it comes to digital signage. 

Organizations that have had employees work from home have discovered that digital signage is an excellent tool to keep employees up to speed directly through their PC-screen or cell phone. Office buildings have been using digital signage to communicate important health and safety information. Retail stores have been using digital signage in order to increase sales. So what could the future hold? In this article, we take a closer look at five key digital signage trends that are starting to emerge.


Increased interactivity

There are numerous studies proving the positive effects that digital signage has on customers' behavior and that they are more attention grabbing than print ads. When you successfully manage to grab your customers' attention, it's important to utilize this attention in the best possible way. This might be why one of the emerging trends that we're seeing is an increased level of interactive elements on the displays. Studies show that interactive marketing can have a big impact on whether a customer makes a purchase or not, and how satisfied they are with this purchase afterwards. However, interactivity should not be confused with touch-screen function.

In fact, one common form of interactivity in digital signage is to add a QR-code on the ad that can help the customer perform an action or make a purchase directly through their cell phone. Another interactive element that is becoming more widespread is the use of social media widgets where a retail store or an office can share their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds in real time. This opens up a world of interactive opportunities.

Customer are, for example, able to send a picture or a comment to the store's Facebook-profile, which the store can then choose to publish on their wall should they wish to do so. Stores can also hold contests to promote new products where the customers are encouraged to comment on the post in order to participate. It's really only ones creativity that sets the boundaries for what's possible.

Regardless of whether the goal is to drive short-term sales or long-term brand building, interactive elements can be an effective way to use digital signage.


Internal sharing of KPIs from Microsoft Power BI

Digital signage is also increasing for internal purposes. Does everyone in the organization know what the goals of the organization are, or how you're currently performing in relation to these? If the employees don't know what the goals are, trying to achieve them can be challenging.

Being able to share KPIs internally from, for example, Microsoft Power BI helps solve this challenge and ensures that everyone has the insight needed to pull in the same direction. At the same time, this poses some security challenges. In order to securely share information from Microsoft Power BI in real time without having to take screen shots and pasting them into PowerPoint, you would need a digital signage software that is integrated with Microsoft Office 365.

Learn how Databeat solves this challenge here.


More cost efficient technology

While digital signage long has been associated with high costs and something that only larger corporations can afford to invest in, this is no longer the case. With more competitive players on the market, we will most likely be seeing several SMBs invest in digital signage in the coming year. There's no longer a need for external media players to administer the information on the displays and content can easily be updated from the comfort of your own home.

Don't be surprised if your local dentist or fast-food establishment greets you with a digital sign in the new year. The competition for visibility is showing no signs of slowing down and 2021 looks to be the year when digital signage went from "nice to have" to "need to have".


Focus on sustainability

If 2020 was the year when everything stood still, it was also the year when we saw things more clearly than ever before. Literally. Cities that had been covered with smog cleared up, and the topic of sustainability was once again put in the lime light. In order to reduce waste, many organizations are now implementing digital signage as part of their sustainability strategy. Rather than printing new posters on a regular basis, organizations can easily communicate their message through digital signage and update this message in just a matter of minutes, whenever they want to.

It should also be mentioned that recycling has become as important as it is difficult to navigate. Knowing how different types of waste should be handled isn't always straight-forward. An increasing amount of companies working with waste disposal are thus investing in digital signage to communicate information about recycling and sorting in suitable places.


Ownership of content

In order to reduce costs and get more control, many organizations are now opting for internal administration of content on their digital signage without involving external parties. This requires that you have a digital signage solution that's user friendly, regardless of your technical skills, where content distribution, media players and the software for content administration communicate with one another. As mentioned earlier, digital signage solutions should no longer be a major expense, and it shouldn't be so advanced that only specialists can use it. To take control of one's own content thus looks to be one of the major trends we'll be seeing in the new year.

An effect of this is that local shops or offices that are part of a larger network have started publishing their own, customized content. Content that focuses on their local area or target demographic.



Predicting usage areas within digital signage in the upcoming year isn't an exact science, but based on the trends we're seeing in terms of demand - digital signage appears to be growing significantly in the next year.

This isn't surprising considering that studies are showing that the global digital signage market will grow by 6 % annually and the fact that there are so many proven benefits. Here at Databeat, we believe that it's important to monitor the market and look at the different needs of our customers. This is why we continuously develop our solutions to match these needs. Feel free to try our solution for yourself and see if DatabeatOMNI could be the right choice for your organization.

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