Written by Jess Zynda, Sales Account Manager, Screenfeed

As 2020 comes to a close and 2021 approaches, what will digital signage look like as workplaces begin to open back up, continue remote work, or a combination of both?

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a unique year for us all. We’re experiencing changes in many aspects of our lives, especially in the way we work. Working remote and zoom meetings have been normalized over the last eight months but as many of us start heading back to the office it begs the question, how does that impact digital signage and what will digital signage look like in 2021?

What We Can Expect

We all expect to see two things happen in 2021: some businesses will open back up in limited and potentially full capacity, while some more virtual businesses may stay mostly or fully remote. In light of the changing audience location and worldview shift that has occurred in 2020, network operators are likewise shifting their content strategy. 

As 2021 approaches the most common digital signage content priority I’ve heard is to create a playlist that will provide information to audiences with a little entertaining or lighthearted content added in to round out the playlist. This will make sure audiences not only pay attention to but also enjoy the content they’re seeing if and when they’re back in their places of work.

The most important part of this strategy of blending entertaining and informative content is that when digital signage is done well, employee engagement goes up, which in turn can increase productivity by up to 25%. So, what should your digital signage playlist include to increase engagement and retention?

A Playlist With Your Venue in Mind

The perfectly curated playlist should vary based on the environment that network operators are planning for. For example if your network is in a clinic and you’ll need a playlist to keep people entertained in your waiting room, a curated source of positive entertainment content may be more critical than ever in addition to your traditional messaging.

If your network is for a school or campus and you need to accommodate your on-campus students, staff and faculty, content that features quick alerts, tips or social media updates are great options as students quickly pass your screens.

As business offices return, financial graphics or fun content like pop quizzes or other engaging types of content are a perfect way to keep employees in the know while enjoying the office community again with conversation starters.

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Your content mix can (and should) vary based on your audience and venue

The trend in all of the above examples is that each set of content combinations are curated to benefit each audience group in each venue: entertain audiences who are waiting, quickly inform on-the-go audiences, effectively communicate with office goers… you get the idea! However there is one more strategy I expect to see network operators implement into their digital signage playlists in 2021.

Adding a Dash of Good

Already in 2020 I’ve seen companies increasingly focus on showing digital signage content with a “feel good” aspect, and I expect that trend to continue and even rise in 2021. For example when Screenfeed’s Good News content was launched, we aimed to provide this exact option for any network operator looking to add uplifting stories and positive highlights of the world around us.

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A little bit of good news might make you happy dance, just like this flash mob in NYC in one of Screenfeed's Good News stories!

Another option network operators may take advantage of would be content with trending social media topics such as Google and Twitter trends. There is almost always something entertaining trending and sometimes even a little humorous! Top trends, searches and hashtags also let viewers know what’s on the mind of the collective population. These are just a couple examples of fresh digital signage options to start using. 

For Those Remaining Remote

Of course, not everyone will be returning to their workplace next year! You would think for those still remote that digital signage content strategy would be less relevant, but that’s not the case. I would expect to see those staying remote in 2021 use downtime to hone in on their content strategies or even start learning about and planning to use digital signage when their place of work inevitably begins to be more in-person.

As some return to work, some plan for remote work and most are somewhere in between for next year; digital signage will still be an important tool for companies. When planning, keep in mind the strategy of creating a playlist with informative and relevant content for your venue, and don’t forget to add some positive content. Feel free to check out the Screenfeed digital signage content store to get started and reach out to me if you need any playlist advice along the way.