5 min read

Top 4 Digital Signage Fails and How to Avoid Them

Written by
Pavlo Fedykovych
Published on
August 24, 2022
May 29, 2024

Digital signage fails happen. And while making mistakes is part of a learning process and a way to improve yourself, you definitely don’t want to screw up in front of your customers. That’s why we’d like to review the top digital signage fails and give you a piece of advice on how to avoid them. 

Digital signage fails differ

Every single business has its share of mistakes. But while there are digital signage errors that can be easily overcome, there are others that leave a mark on the perception of your business and can lead to serious consequences. 

Little typos, funny blunders, and occasional lagging are alright if you have efficient damage control in place and are able to mitigate the outcomes. But if the failures happen systematically, that’s a more serious problem and it needs to be addressed. 

You see, digital signage is just a tool. And whether you make mistakes or not using it depends on your mastery of this marketing solution. When your customers see that you neglect it and tolerate errors, that’s not a good image.

That’s why it’s extremely important to treat digital signage seriously and be cautious about what you’re putting in front of your audience. 

Let’s get straight to the most common digital signage fails

1. Blue (or white (or any kind of)) screen of death

What happened: you wanted to impress your customers, broadcast a cool video or a fascinating promo image. But something went wrong and now the whole shopping mall is staring at the blue screen of death. Even worse, if you’re the last one to discover that through some mocking tweet that has already been reshared a thousand times. 

Yes, it’s bad. Yes, you screwed up. But it happens and you have to be prepared for a force majeure situation when one part of your digital signage network decided to take a rest. 

How to avoid it: as simple as it sounds, check twice every single part of your digital signage chain. Are all the screens working well? Is your software up-to-date? Do you have enough power to pull off that kind of content? Make it a morning ritual to do a quick check of the hardware and software.

2. Showing bad content

What happened: while the definition of “bad content” is quite a philosophical one (with some even saying any content is better than no content), when it comes to digital signage it becomes more nuanced. 

If you are conscious about where you invest your money and would like to make sure that your marketing works according to a previously-developed strategy, then you may already have an idea of what is “good content” for your case. 

Sometimes, when you didn’t do your homework or don’t really have a hand on the pulse of your audience’s interests, there may be a miscommunication in a form of content that not only looks bad but is going against your audience's interests. 

For example, let’s say you’re running a restaurant and you’ve taken a pledge to promote more vegan choices and become more sustainable. But then you use the screens to show the live broadcast of Spanish-style bullfighting completely shocking your target audience. 

How to avoid: before putting any kind of content before your audience, ask yourself “will it fly?”. Seriously, please, do it. 

3. Overestimating your technological capabilities

What happened: you would like to impress and amaze. And you’ve advertised your, let’s say, clothing store as a “next-gen ultra-modern digitalized space”. But then when people come they see that all the technology you’ve been promoting was in fact a screen with an image asking for a follow on Instagram. 

How to avoid it: when you boast about something and don’t deliver, it looks pathetic. So try not to bite more than you can chew and focus on having a technology adequate to your marketing goals. 

If you’d like to create a special atmosphere for your customers in a retail store, one screen won’t do the magic. You would need to thoroughly design this experience, deploy multiple screens, and make sure that the content matches the mission. 

4. Choosing the bad software

What happened: you wanted to run a network of 100 screens but decided to cut corners when choosing the software, didn’t pay attention to the specs, and were blindly seduced by the low pricing. Now it kinda works but the quality is bad, it’s slow and always crashes. Not only have you lost money, you’ve also spent a few months to get it running and faced a complete long-term failure. 

How to avoid it: we can’t stress that enough: choose the digital signage software wisely and thoroughly. Spend extra time to match the capabilities of the solution you’re choosing with the things you’d like to have as a result. 

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