Neuromarketing Hacks for Digital Signage Content

embed signage neuromarketing tips for digital signage content

Digital Signage can be a sizeable investment for any business, therefore understanding how to get the most from your Digital Signage is vital.

Neuromarketing… if you are unfamiliar with the term, traditionally it is defined as measuring the brains reposiveness to specific stimuli such as products, advertising or other marketing elements, using techniques such as (fMRI) Functional magnetic resonance imaging and (EEG) Electroencephalogram. A common adaption of late is a broader term which includes understanding many different kinds of brain activity that leads to a desired action.

In this post we cherry pick key studies from Neuromarketing and behavioural psychology, providing you with valuable tips and tricks in order to improve your Digital Signage content.

The Human Brain

The human brain is divided into 3 distinct zones, each playing key roles both consciously and subconsciously.

  • The Neocortex (Outer-most) Brain, responsible for tasks such as logic, conscious thoughts and spacial awareness.
  • Limbic System (Middle) Brain, used for emotions, long-term memory and behaviour amongst other uses.
  • R Complex (Inner) also known as the ‘Reptilian’ Brain, controls our survival functions such as breathing, fight-or-flight reactions and pain reduction.

The Reptilian brain overrides logic beyond our awareness, therefore being able to trigger a positive reptilian reaction is key to strengthening your brand loyalty and sales.

embed signage neuromarketing for digital signage

The reptilian brain is by all means not the only decision maker. A recent study shows the frontal lobe (part of the neocortex) has a large role in mediating the balance between predetermined value compared to a new offer.

But let us begin…

Pain vs. Gain

When creating Digital Signage content, especially for advertising or sales purposes, tap into a consumers reptilian brain by demonstrating how your product or service removes pain points. The brains natural avoidance of pain makes this technique extremely effective. For example, advertising a fruit’s health benefits instead of displaying an offer on price should be the main selling point.

embed signage remove pain through digitial signage

Make sure to give the message a Positive Frame as its 3 times more persuasive than highlighting in a negative way.

Emotion Is Three Times More Powerful

fMRI neuro-imagery shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions rather than information such as features and facts.

Advertising research reveals that emotional response to an ad has far greater influence on a consumer’s reported intent to buy a product than does the ad’s content – by a factor of 3-to-1 for television commercials.

So when it comes down to delivering your message on Digital Signage, spend time thinking about emotional triggers that will really get your point across. Consider all aspects including imagery, sound, colour, and tigger words. A great list of trigger words can be found here.

Cognitive Fluency With Fonts

When our brains struggle processing a task, that extra work is “transferred” to another part of the brain making the original task seem more complicated or time-consuming.

Research by Hyunjin Song and Norbert Schwarz revealed that the way we perceive information is affected by how simple the font is. The researchers expected that getting people to commit to an exercise regimen would depend on how long they thought the workout would take. A longer estimated time would need a bigger commitment, therefore less likely to sign up.

Two subject groups were tested. The first saw the exercises displayed in a simple font (Arial), the second saw the same text but in a harder to read font (Brush). The subjects who read the instructions in the brush font estimated that the regime would take 15.1 minutes vs. 8.2 minutes with the Arial font, all due to the font!. The group that thought the exercise would take only 8 minutes was significantly more likely to commit to the regime.

embed signage digital signage conitive fluency

On Digital Signage, if you need to convince a customer or staff member to perform an action, you should describe that task in a simple, legible font. Of course there are other aspects to take into account such as leading, kerning and the image your are trying to portray, but this point highlights the importance of choosing the right font.

One example when a more complicated font can be used are Digital Menu Boards. Another study by Song and Schwarz discovered that the harder the font is to read, the viewers believed the skills needed by the chef were higher. Therefore when justifying premium pricing, a more complex font could be used.

Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to Good Digital Signage Content.

Reciprocity Pays Dividends

In other words the obligation to give after receiving. In a study that backs up this theory, tips were correlated with a varying amount of after-dinner mints. Tips quadrupled, receiving up to 14% more when multiple mints were provided compared to a single mint.

This natural emotion can be harnessed when creating digital signage content. For example providing a QR code to a free coupon on your display will not only encourage reciprocity, but increase brand engagement and advocacy.

embed signage digital signage qr code

Scarcity Creates Desire

Stating what people stand to lose by not taking you up on your offer, in turn makes people want it more. This could be a limited time offer, a small amount of a product or even not being part of a tribe.

On average people like to conform and have a sense of belonging, following others and being part of a tribe, ideally around your brand. Digital Signage content can take advantage of this principle by providing a platform for people with similar interests to connect. This could be anything from the company they work for or the shoes they wear. Adding a live social feed to your signage in which members from that ‘tribe’ can communicate will undoubtably grow cohesion with your company or brand.

embed signage digital signage scarcity example

The Decoy Effect

Boost sales by implementing decoy effect pricing on your Digital Signage.

The goal of this model is to get consumers to buy into the more expensive model, when they may be leaning towards the cheaper item. Reduce the perceived pain or cost of the item by offering an even more expensive item (the decoy) with similar features. The result is that the lowest and most expensive options are ignored as the perceived value of the middle item does not seem as painful. This is regularly used in subscription models and labeled ‘Our most popular package’.

fMRi evidence of this concept can be found here. In short, a less attractive option is offered after making the initial offering, therefore making easier choice and more pleasurable experience.

eclipse digital media decoy effect example

The Beginning, Mi… and End

When displaying video adverts on Digital Signage, the most crucial time to make the biggest impact on the consumer is at the beginning and at the end. Very little is remembered throughout the middle of the ad. This highlights the point of making a good first impression but also leaving on a powerful note. A DS-IQ study found that shorter adverts of around 15 seconds lifted sales by more than 50% when compared to a 30 second version.


Using content that is unexpected, whether it be video, imagery, text or sound can cause a surge in activity of the hippocampus, making for a much greater impact. The human brain is constantly comparing, predicting and referencing; spark interest and reaction in the brain with something new.

embed signage surprise reaction example

As you can see, there is a fine art to creating effective Digital Signage content. Understanding how consumers think and act is key to getting the greatest penetration. Make the most out of your Digital Signage by signing up to our Insights and following us on social media.

There will be many more insights to come.

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