Google Slides versus PowerPoint | Who is the real winner?

If you need to create a presentation or slideshow, you will likely find yourself choosing between Google Slides and PowerPoint. The two programs have very similar features and produce similar results, but they are different.

Is Google Slides the Same as PowerPoint?

In terms of basic functionality, Google Slides and PowerPoint are the same. However, they have a fair number of differences.

Is PowerPoint Online Free? Is Google Slides Free?

To start, you need to consider the cost of the program. Google Slides is completely free, as is the rest of the Google Drive productivity suite, such as Google Docs and Sheets. By contrast, Microsoft PowerPoint is paid if you want to use it as a downloaded program on your computer. It comes with your Office 365 (or Microsoft 365) subscription. You can use PowerPoint online for free, but there will be limited functionality.

Using Online vs. Offline

Google Slides is designed to be used online, although you can theoretically use it without an internet connection in your browser. You just need to make sure to leave the presentation open, so it saves when you reconnect to the internet. PowerPoint can be used offline or online. The downloaded version is ideal for offline use, but it is still easy to share. The free version is only available online. You can access either program via your smartphone or tablet, assuming you download the appropriate application.

Sharing and Collaboration of Presentation Files

Google Slides was specifically designed with collaboration in mind. It is incredibly easy to make edits, comment, or chat while working on a presentation, all of which appear in real-time. As long as you have PowerPoint 2010 or later, you can easily collaborate with team members. Just save it to OneDrive and share the file. However, the changes aren’t instant.

Revision History and Saving

If you want to collaborate and see the revision history, Google Slides is the best choice. It allows users to go back and see revisions made to the slides as well as restore previous versions if something gets deleted or replaced by accident. Google Slides automatically saves your slideshow as you work on it. You can also enable AutoSave on Microsoft PowerPoint if you have an Office 365 account or PowerPoint 2016 or more recent. PowerPoint also has a very convenient AutoRecover option.

Presentation Templates and Other Slideshow Features

When it comes to built-in features to create slideshows, Google Slides and PowerPoint are fairly similar. PowerPoint has 19 slideshow templates. Google Slides has 26 templates. There are also may free as well as paid Google slides templates sites able to pick from. Either program makes it easy to add JPG, PNG, and GIF files for graphics and various formats for audio files. While Google wins in that respect, PowerPoint has more advanced features, such as special effects. You can also add content from Excel files with PowerPoint.

How Do I Make a Google Slide deck vs a PowerPoint Slide deck?

Making a Google Slide is incredibly straightforward. You just have to:

  1. Go to Google Drive.
  2. Click “New” and select “Google Slides.”
  3. Start with a “Blank Presentation.”
  4. Fill in the information you want.

PowerPoint vs Google Slides Collage

Making a Microsoft PowerPoint is just as easy:

  1. Open PowerPoint.
  2. Open a “Blank presentation.”
  3. Fill in the information you want.

You will notice the steps are almost identical. Although google slides has so many additional themes and templates to choose from that are easy to use and install.

Can Google Slides Open PowerPoint Files?

The great thing about Google Slides and PowerPoint is that you can use one program to open the other’s files and vice versa. This means that you do not have to choose a presentation program to use, only to regret your decision. There are two ways of viewing PowerPoints on Google Slides. You can view them as a PowerPoint on the Google program or convert it to a Google Slide.

How Do You Put a PowerPoint on Google Slides to View as PowerPoint Slides?

If you want to continue viewing your PowerPoint as a PowerPoint but in Google Slides, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Google Drive.
  2. Click the “New” button on the top-left corner.
  3. Select “File Upload.”
  4. Find the PowerPoint presentation in your computer’s folders.
  5. If you prefer, you can open the folder with your PowerPoint presentation, then drag and drop it onto the Google Drive page in your browser.
  6. Double-click the file to open it. You can also right-click and choose “Open with” to select your preferred format.

How Do I Convert PPTX to Slides as a Google Slide File and vice versa

If you prefer to view your PowerPoint presentation in Google Slides in the Slides format, start by following all the above steps. Instead of double-clicking to open the file from your Google Drive, right-click and choose “Open with.” Select “Google Slides.” Google will convert your presentation for you.

 

How to Open Google Slides in PowerPoint?

As mentioned, you can also open Google Slides in PowerPoint, but there is a caveat. To do this, you first have to convert the Google Slide presentation to PowerPoint. This is incredibly easy.

How to Export Google Slides to PowerPoint? How to Convert Google Slides to PowerPoint?

To convert Google Slides into PowerPoint, you essentially download the presentation in the new format.

  1. Open the Google Slide presentation in your browser.
    2. Go to “File” then “Download as.”
    3.  Select “Microsoft PowerPoint (.pptx).”
    4.  Alternatively, you can stay on your Google Drive page and right-click on the presentation’s file. Then, select “Download as” then “Microsoft PowerPoint (.pptx).”
    5.  If PowerPoint is your computer’s default slideshow program, just double-click the file to open it in PowerPoint. If there is a different default program, right-click and choose “Open with” then “PowerPoint.”

The Takeaway

Google Slides and PowerPoint have similar functionality, but the former is only used online while the latter is primarily used as a downloadable program, with online abilities. They have slightly different features, which may influence your decision on which to use. You don’t have to overthink which one to use, though, as you can easily convert files from Google Slides to PowerPoint or vice versa.

Design Tips for Eye-Catching Digital Menu Boards and Displays

If you operate a restaurant, it may be time to replace hard plastic signage with digital solutions. Traditionally menu displays are not only uninspiring, but employees have to change them by printing new paper menus whenever there are new menu updates or pricing updates. Digital menu boards are changing how food establishments communicate with their customers. You can use compelling images to attract a customer’s attention, and enrich their ordering experience. Digital menu displays can also help you stand out in the very competitive restaurant industry.

However, just because you ditch your static menus for digital solutions does not automatically mean that you will increase revenue. You have to be strategic about your content creation, how you design your digital menu displays to encourage maximum overall customer experience and engagement. This article includes winning tips that you can implement to take your digital game to the next level.

Why You Should Use Digital Menu Displays

Almost every industry is turning to IT solutions to simplify their business operations, and the food service industry is no different. Modern restaurants are embracing digital signage with digital menu software in window displays and point of sales to boost advertising, increase sales, and provide entertainment. Fast food chains like McDonalds have turned to digital kiosks to reduce wait time, improve order accuracy, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Interactive Kiosk at restaurant

One of the primary applications of digital signage in restaurants is as a digital menu boards. Modern consumers are demanding convenience, forcing many food establishments to rethink how they operate. Easy-to-read menus is a priority for the clients who will visit your store, and you can use digital displays to showcase your offering as well as menu information. The benefits of digital menu displays include:

Engage Customers

Customers are more attracted to vivid and bright visuals. The goal of using appealing imagery in menu boards is to excite your visitors. For example, a picture of hot-spicy wings will naturally excite a customer’s taste buds.

Update Your Menu Automatically

Your customers can simply look at the menu display to determine what is available at any time of day. They can see breakfast, lunch, dinner meals, and daily specials instead of waiting to ask the staff. This is a great feature of digital signage, where content can be scheduled for a specific time. For example, only breakfast items will be display between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. and only lunch items will be displayed from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Promote Offers and Deals

Everyone loves a good deal, and you can use exciting offers to catch your customers’ attention. Some systems can be pre-programmed to stop and start seasonal promotions and promote offers based on the time of the day, like happy hour. Content can also be scheduled for a specific day of the week. For instance, Monday night specials will only be displayed from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays.

Cross-Selling

You can use digital menu boards to sell extra items to a customer. You can promote combo meals, new desserts, and appetizing ‘dishes of the day’ to encourage customers to make non-planned purchases.

example of a visual display on a digital signage screen

Common Mistakes in Designing Menu Boards

Before you settle on a digital menu board design, it is essential to know the common mistakes. There is a lot of planning involved in designing and deploying menu boards for them to be effective in your restaurant. Some pitfalls to avoid like:

  • Overcrowding digital menu displays
  • Using statistic menu images
  • Poor location and size of digital screens
  • Ignoring video
  • Excluding allergy, calorie counts, and nutritional information
  • Placing menu items in the wrong categories
  • Including only text in the menu displays

Designing Tips for Digital Menu Displays

If you want to transform your restaurant with digital signage displays, you can implement best practices below:

Add Polished Imagery

While the internet is littered with generic food images that you can use, you want to use unique visuals that will represent your brand. By using actual photos, you will also avoid disappointing your customers when they actually receive the food.

You should hire an experienced food and beverages photographer to capture the qualities of your offerings. The photographer will use consistent lighting to suit your brand’s image. Keep in mind that some menus don’t need images, and you shouldn’t overload your audience with imagery.

Include Video

People are naturally fascinated by movement, which is why you shouldn’t shy away from using video content in your menu displays. Videos and animations can add depth to your restaurant messaging and boost brand recognition. For example, you can use a video of a juice splash to highlight your commitment to using healthy produce. Keep in mind that animations can be distracting, and you want to use them sparingly.

Take Advantage of Free Digital Content Platforms

Don’t let a low budget keep you from enjoying the benefits of digital signage in your restaurant. The internet has endless resources that you can use to create interesting menu displays.

You can use PowerPoint or Google Slides to create free digital menus. You will get hundreds of digital menu board templates by using a platform like Google Slides. Once you create your menus, all you will need is a digital signage software to display it to your customers.

Use Clutter-free Designs

A confusing menu will only interfere with a customer’s ability to make a decision. You want to create menu displays that are easy to read by breaking down information into categories, rows, and columns.

You can use multiple slides to display your items in logical groups. For example, you can use digital signage software to display your breakfast slide from 7AM to 11Am. Avoid loading your menu displays with too much content. You want to ensure that people can understand your menu items quickly to improve the customer’s experience.

Do Not be Afraid of Color

When used well, color can appeal to a customer’s eye and enforce branding. Pay attention to tone and readability when choosing colors. For example, red, yellow, and other vibrant colors are attention-grabbing, but they also contribute to eye-strain. You can use these bright colors sparingly to indicate freshness.

To make things easier, pick three primary shades that you will stick with. You can also use color to create a mood for the restaurant environment. For example, black is often associated with elegance while blue promotes relaxation.

Use Large Fonts

You should ensure that your customers can clearly see the menu options from the point of ordering. Use easy-to-read fonts and avoid brightly-colored fonts if you have used bold colors on the displays. Apply different font sizes to categorize items and you can even bold or italicize similar categories.

Social Media Experience | What is it and How can you build it

More and more companies are automating their operations and establishing strong brands on online platforms like Facebook. This trend has opened up thousands of opportunities for social media managers, marketers, and other digital specialists. Even if you are not looking for a social media job, having social media experience will help you stand out. For example, candidates for marketing jobs will find elements of social media in the job description.

If you already have social media skills, you will need to describe them adequately in your resume to impress recruiters. This article includes tips to develop social media experience and the social media skills to win jobs.

Social Media Apps on a Smartphone

What Is Social Media Experience

While many people use several social media sites, there is a difference between using a platform like Twitter for personal and professional purposes. Someone with social media experience will understand the strengths and limitations of various platforms. They will track trends, user demographics, and other analytics of different apps.

A solid experience can also mean people with active profiles on popular platforms such as LinkedIn. It will also help if you are familiar with social media management tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Canva, CoSchedule, and Sprout Social.

How to Build Social Media Experience

Like any other skill, you can perfect social media marketing with practice. However, it can be hard to impress a potential employer without experience. The tips below will help you get sufficient experience to kickstart your social media career:

1. Engage in Content Creation

The best way to boost your knowledge of social media channels such as Instagram is to use them yourself. These platforms are always launching new tools to encourage more engagement among their communities. For example, Instagram Stories promotes authenticity by allowing individuals and brands to show their day-to-day activities.

You can use videos, blogs, and images to build an active online community. Robust profiles will add value to your resume and open up numerous social media opportunities. It is also important to track metrics like followers, comments and likes to demonstrate your abilities to an employer.

2. Take Online Courses

The social media sphere is incredibly dynamic, and academic institutions are yet to catch up. However, many online courses can equip you with the necessary skills and expertise. You can get certifications from Google, HubSpot Academy, Hootsuite Academy, LinkedIn Learning, and other reputed platforms. Choose comprehensive courses that include highly-sought-after skills like marketing analytics, search engine optimization (SEO), and affiliate marketing.

Typing on a Laptop - Social Media Experience

3. Seek Internships

The traditional approach of getting an internship will work very well for potential social media managers. Firstly, seek brands that you admire on social media and watch out for internship opportunities. Secondly, reach out to established businesses for a social media management internship.

When looking for internship positions, it is advisable to build a portfolio that demonstrates the value you will bring to the company. For example, you can describe a social media strategy you intend to use to boost customer support and improve online sales.

Social media interns are tasked with promoting the company’s brand on online platforms, and a lot of creativity is needed to ensure the firm’s social media posts stand out. You will be the brand’s gatekeeper and will need to stay on top of the changing social media sphere.

4. Volunteer

If you are part of a marketing department, you can volunteer for social media campaigns. You can also volunteer to manage the social media profiles of a school, non-profit organization, or small business. Such opportunities will help you learn how to develop a marketing strategy, measure results, and appeal to social media users.

Essential Social Media Experience or Skills for Your Resume

Social media managers refine a company’s brand image, and you will need to demonstrate expertise before you can be hired. Fortunately, you can work on the essential social media skills, including:

1. Analytics

Most social media platforms provide metrics to help you determine how users interact with your brand. You will need to analyze metrics like comments, likes, views, and shares and draw useful conclusions. Similarly, you should track business insights like conversions, leads, and traffic to measure the performance of your strategies.

During data analysis, you will decide which metrics matter to your company and which do not. It is easy for brands to be caught up in the wrong measurements, and your insight will save time and money.

2. Communication

Strong communication skills are among the highly-sought-after skills in social media professionals. They will help you put your strategies into words and amplify the brand’s presence online.

Highlight your communication skills on your resume to assure your company that you excel in problem-solving. Most social media managers are part of a larger marketing department, which means that there will be plenty of collaboration.

3. Writing

Social media managers have to create compelling headlines to grab attention. Therefore, if that tweet is not captivating enough, your company will lose out on engagement. To hone your writing, you will need to understand the art and science of writing excellent headlines. Additionally, you should learn how to structure your text so that it is readable or skimmable.

Pay attention to grammar, tone, spelling, and punctuation when crafting content. If you are writing for global customers, adjust your text where necessary to accommodate dialects and culture.

4. Creativity and Design

The social media landscape has become saturated, and users are treated to a lot of generic posts. As a result, creativity is necessary to stand out. For example, some brands use controversial content to spark debates, while others use humor to encourage shares. You will also need to jump on trends quickly before they die out. Remember to keep posts visually appealing, and do not shy away from taking risks.

Creativity and Design - Drawing to create digitally

Designing visual content is a desired skill among social media managers. Thankfully, there are numerous tools to use, including Canva, Google Slides, and Adobe Photoshop. It is advisable to be familiar with the basics of design, photography, and videos to make your work easier.

5. Community Management

An expert social media manager should know where to find the news and trends. Subsequently, you should react quickly and accordingly to drive conversations around a trend or hashtag. You should continuously monitor Facebook posts, tweets, and stories and engage brand advocates. Additionally, your job will include handling trolls and managing negative feedback. In summary, you will act as part of a PR team.

6. Efficiency

You will rely on project management skills to handle all your tasks. In addition to maintaining social media accounts, you will schedule your posts, conceptualize campaigns, manage budgets for ads, and many more tasks. To keep up with all these job demands, you will need excellent organizational skills.

You will also need to plan your time correctly and schedule strategic planning, report writing, and data analysis. In short, you will need to be a multitasking guru.

7. Customer Service

The primary benefit of social media platforms is driving engagement between people. Therefore, a social media campaign that is solely focused on promoting your brand will be ineffective. People want to be part of important dialogues, and it is your job to engage them and receive feedback. You also have to understand your online customers’ concerns and be proactive about the perception of your future clients.

Social Media Experience is Key

Social media platforms are invaluable tools for a business that wants to grow its brand. If you aspire to be a social media professional, the first thing to do is gain experience. You can seek an internship, volunteer in small businesses, and take online courses. Additionally, work on your communication, organization, creativity, writing, and customer service skills.

Everything You Need to Know About Outdoor Digital Signage

Digital advertising is increasingly becoming a popular communication channel for many businesses. Businesses using digital signs for indoor advertising can also leverage outdoor digital signage displays to communicate with customers outside their stores. Outdoor signage can be displayed on billboards, bus stations, train stations, and outside busses to attract potential customers.

Unlike traditional outdoor signage, outdoor digital signage provides powerful visual communication, which is engaging to the audience and saves on operation costs. With the use of outdoor digital signage expected to increase over the next few years, below are essential facts about using commercial outdoor signage displays.

Benefits of Outdoor Digital Signage

Most businesses generalize that digital advertising is expensive than print media. However, it turns out that ignoring the use of digital signage is expensive as your business misses several key benefits.

Outdoor Digital Signage at a bus stop

Some of the benefits include;

  • Better visual appeal – outdoor digital signage is dynamic, enabling businesses to display adverts in multiple formats. You can use videos, animations, social media, emergency alerts, texts, and more.
  • Use scheduled content – you can create a content calendar that determines what will be played at specific times. For instants, restaurants can display a breakfast menu in the morning, a lunch menu during midday, and dinner in the evenings.
  • Flexible – you can easily change the content on outdoor digital signage. With this, businesses can experiment with multiple messages to determine effectiveness and audience engagement rates.
  • Multiple ways of influencing customers – digital signage enables businesses to leverage user-generated content in their adverts. For instance, you can display customer reviews, contests, and more.

Outdoor Signage vs. Indoor Signage

Unknown to most businesses, indoor signage is quite different from outdoor digital signage. This explains why most businesses already using indoor digital signage don’t consider the use of outdoor digital signage. As the name suggests, indoor signage displays information to customers already within the store, while outdoor reaches customers outside the store. Other differences include;

  • Signage screen – since outdoor signage is affected by external natural light, you will need bright screens for effective display. Indoor screens don’t have such requirements, as they are placed in an area with neutral lighting.
  • Screen protection – outdoor digital signage are exposed to several tough conditions that necessitate strong screen protection. From harsh weather conditions to arrogant people, you should use a screen that withstands such conditions. Screens with IP65 ratings are the best. Similarly, indoor signage is protected from such harsh conditions.

Types of Outdoor Digital Signage

Before embarking on outdoor marketing, consider the right hardware to use.

Outdoor signage at a theme park

The three main types of outdoor digital signage include;

LCD – LCDs are best for indoor signage applications. However, with additional technology, they can also be used for outdoor signage. They offer high resolution and affordable. For this, ensure that you use the right protectors to prevent them from harsh weather conditions.

Projector – this involves projecting images or texts to large surfaces, including metal, ice, stone, and more. They can be used everywhere, making them easier to install. Unlike LCD and LED options, they cover a larger area at an affordable cost.

LED – these digital signage are large, durable, and offer more brightness. They provide multiple programming options and best for outdoor environments. They also require simpler fixtures and enclosures.

How to Install Outdoor Digital Signage

Installing outdoor digital signage is not as challenging as you can imagine. However, most businesses struggle when it comes to choosing various components of outdoor digital signage.

For starters, begin by choosing appropriate digital signage hardware components. Hardware components of digital signage are primarily the screen, mounting, enclosures, and the media player. For the displays, choose between LCD, LED, and touchscreens.

Next is choosing a suitable software. Digital signage software is the actual brain of the signage. It controls the content displayed, as it is the main platform around which the content is created. With good software, you can easily upload content, create and deploy the content playlist to multiple signage screens.

That said, consider several factors when choosing the best digital signage software. Your goals and objectives should be guide your choice. You should also ensure that the software has all the necessary features, such as 4K support, wireless or wired connectivity, and more, before sourcing the software from various vendors. Lastly, you should identify the best outdoor digital signage player to use. Players make it easy to deploy content to signage screens.

To capitalize on this medium, ensure that you use content that encourages potential customers to take immediate action. For the best installation and guidance on selecting the best components, consider employing the services of an experienced outdoor digital signage company.

Tips to Create Successful Outdoor Digital Signage

Here are several factors to consider before launching any outdoor display signage.

Content ideas

Investing in outdoor signage with poor content structure may not be effective. This is why you should consider several factors and follow several steps when creating content for your outdoor digital signage. Check out this link to find great content ideas for your outdoor signage.

Weather protection

Outdoor signage is constantly exposed to harsh weather elements. Therefore, you should choose a display that doesn’t give in to any type of weather. For instance, the screen should withstand snow, heavy rains, and immense humidity. You should also insulate it with a weatherproof casing.

Outdoor signage that is weatherproofed for rain

Keeping signage safe from vandalism

Apart from the harsh weather, arrogant people and random violence can also damage your outdoor signage. To avoid this, use a fixed, robust protective casing that cannot be stolen. Also, install your signage close to public places.

Assess for optimal lighting

Outdoor signage should deliver clear and steady text and images despite the bright sunlight. The display screen should display at more than 700 nits to beat the sun’s brightness level. The light should also pass the squint test. 

The Bottom Line

Outdoor digital signage significantly increases your store’s visibility to potential customers. However, before using this visual advertising method, make sure that you consider the above-mentioned factors. You will also need a reliable power supply and internet connection for maximum effectiveness.

What Advertising Platform is Best for You?

Are you starting an online business or trying to get more visibility online? When building your digital marketing strategy, you have to look into advertising. And once you start looking into advertising you may get overwhelmed. Why? Because there are so many digital advertising platforms available and it can be hard to choose which ones to invest in.

Digital Advertising Platforms Graphic

Before you make the decision, you need to know your options and what your advertising needs are.

What to look for in an advertising platform

Comparing and contrasting platforms without your needs in mind is a waste of time. Before you start researching platforms, define your advertising goals and know your audience. When you look at your potential platforms, consider the two points below. 

Purpose of the platform

People use different platforms for different purposes, so consider the purpose of every platform you look into. Google, for instance, is a platform that specializes in giving people answers and solutions for every kind of question. Therefore, the chances of someone searching for your solution on Google are high. For this reason, Google is one of the best advertising platforms in the world.

On the other hand, people go to Facebook and Instagram for fun and are not searching for answers. These platforms are mostly for pushing ads into people’s feeds so that they can be aware of your business.

Target audience

Your target audience will determine the platform you advertise on. If you are targeting clients in the age range of 45 to 60 years old, then using a platform like Instagram may be futile since most people in that age range do not have Instagram accounts. Choose a platform your audience spends time on because that is where the money is.

Now let’s look at the different advertising platforms that exist. Keep in mind the advice above as you compare the different platforms. You need to know your goals, and your audience to choose the right platform.

Google search ads

One of the most popular advertising platforms is Google search ads. Using Google to advertise your business will help you reach people who are searching for something similar to what you offer. It is one of the easiest ways to advertise your business because Google brings people to you. Google search ads are ads in search results that are triggered based on the user’s search query.

Google Ads - Platform example

The ad you place on Google will appear to potential clients on whatever devices they use: laptops, desktops, smartphones, or tablets. Google search ads are great because they show up when people need what they offer. For example, someone will only see your ad when they search for it. Whereas on Facebook, your ad will show up in their feed even if they don’t want it. Your audience on Google has specified that they are interested in your offer.

Google display ads

Unlike the Google search ads, Google display ads appear randomly on Google Display Network sites. That means there are certain sites that allow Google to show display ads on their sites. When you see a display ad on a site, it is not because you searched for something similar, it is because the ad relates to the site content.

When you run a Google display ad, you may not reach people who are actively on the lookout for what you offer. This should not discourage you since your ad will still reach a specific target group that may have an interest in your services or products. Google display ads help you to reach a larger audience.

Facebook and Instagram ads

Facebook and Instagram are among the most popular social media platforms, making them a great place to advertise. The platforms are visual, so your ads need to be creative, attractive, and also simple. Ads on these platforms help build brand awareness. They reach people who may be interested in your business based on what they interact with online.

On Instagram and Facebook, you can get lots of insights into your ad performance. This includes feedback from your potential clients through comments, likes, messages, shares, tags, and reviews.

Instagram display on a mobile phone

Criteo

This advertising platform is best for retargeting. You can get a higher ROI because they are targeting people who have engaged with your brand before. If you are not looking to build brand awareness and have a large enough audience to retarget, Criteo is right for you.

Bing

Bing is a search engine designed for Microsoft users. Before using Bing to advertise, you need to know if your audience is on Bing. To do so, look in your Google Analytics to see if you receive traffic from Bing. If you do, then Bing may be the right choice.

The Bing platform limits your advert to Microsoft users. If you run an ad on Bing, you should also run it on other platforms so your audience is not limited.

Takeaways

Using any of the above advertising platforms will help to boost your business and once you have decided where to advertise, it’s time to learn how! There is no limit on the platforms you can use to advertise. When choosing a platform remember why people use that platform, who uses that platform, and what your advertising goals are. 

 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic and Digital Bulletin Boards

An electronic bulletin board is an online communication system that allows people to share, discuss, or request information. It’s also known as a message board or computer forum and functions the same way as an email. However, these bulletin boards differ from emails in that they are public, while the latter are private. The global market for bulletin boards is growing, as they have become essential in the corporate world, schools, and sports groups. This market was worth $1.6 billion in 2019, and is still expanding. Forecasts show it’ll grow at a 7.6% CAGR between 2020 and 2027.

Some of the factors driving market growth include:

  • The growing infrastructure in corporate offices
  • Ease of availability of these electronic boards
  • The enhancement in the educational sector infrastructure
  • An increasing popularity of artificial intelligence that offers an adaptive, user-friendly, and engaging learning experience

Today, bulletin boards are part of the digital signage industry that has paved the way for communication transformation. Thousands of electronic bulletin boards populate the internet today, also known as newsgroups in large collections. Each newsgroup focuses on a single topic, such as skin defects, roof-repair, and computer languages.

Example of online bulletin board - Reddit

How do Electronic Bulletin Boards Work?

Any person who has access to an electronic bulletin board can respond to the message they find there. However, access is only through registration, which allows a visitor to have posting privileges. Nevertheless, anyone can start a discussion on a specific topic and wait for replies from community members.

The initial posting and all its subsequent replies comprise what is known as a “thread.” It can be weeks or months before a thread ends conclusively. Long threads attract several responses that sometimes do not relate to the original post. A person who joins later in the conversation may have longer threads to unwind before getting to the original post.

Unfortunately, a question or statement may sometimes not attract any replies or comments. Where there are replies and the discussion is ongoing, bulletin boards provide an open discussion forum for issues in diverse nature.

Electronic Bulletin Board Systems

A bulletin board system (BBS) refers to a computer network that facilitates electronic communication between users. They can share data by having their computers linked through satellite links, dedicated cables, telephone lines, or other communication forms.

In most cases, BBSs use phone lines in transferring data to users through chat rooms where they can interact with each other. This is an upgrade from the previous systems that used modems in the late 1970s for connection. Modern BBS systems comprise a central computer that serves as a message store that also sends messages to callers. The computer stays permanently connected to a phone to send messages to callers. The dial-up internet system offers global access and ease of use.

For your computer to reach the central computer, there’s a need to install communications tools or software. This is responsible for controlling the transfer of information between computers. Besides, you can use public domain communication software or commercial programs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bulletin Boards

One of the most significant advantages of these online system boards is that they are public. This makes them easy to access, giving users a broad scope of information sources. Besides, each source has a high possibility of providing original and unique information, sometimes from a global perspective.

Effective

The message boards utilize the latest technology in both display and software. For example, in the corporate world, they play a crucial role in keeping employees updated, thus promoting effective workplace communication. It becomes easy to reach workers at their specific location and to send messages to multiple places. The bulletin boards have also made it easy to conduct web-based video training. Companies can use simple interfaces to add their content to the company bulletin board.

Example of digital notice board

Budget-Friendly

Setting up a digital bulletin board is not costly. With a few hundred dollars, you will have a platform where you can share unlimited notices.

Eco-Friendly

Online bulletin boards help save the environment. They eliminate the use of paper printouts and help reduce the carbon footprint.

Engaging and Entertaining

Electronic bulletin boards allow you to use graphic designs for signage, rich text, animations, and colorful photos. This combination of elements makes them more engaging than paper printouts. It is also easy to update content on the boards quickly without the involvement of printers or designers.

Disadvantages

On their downside, online system boards come with their fair share of threats. Since they are public places, they are often unedited and open to troublemakers who like controversies. They hide behind their screens to badmouth the users and the content posted. Bulletin boards also face the risk of the influx of unwanted ads or spam. As such, they require massive computer resources to monitor and weed out spam messages. The boards also lack archive features for each thread and post. This means that content can disappear with time as new posts come up.

How to Make a Digital Bulletin Board

You can create your digital bulletin board quickly and easily if you have the right tools and resources. Here’s what you need to do.

1. Choose the Appropriate Display Screen

You can choose from two main hardware options for powering your digital bulletin board, both comprising cloud storage. Cloud-based signage provides the advantage of being easy to update from anywhere.

In choosing a display screen, consider the following:

Display screens are available in many types, including:

  • LED screens- they are a lot more flexible in large scale settings as they provide high contrast levels and rich colors
  • LCD screens- they are lightweight and most affordable but are limited in contrast and brightness levels
  • OLED screens- new in the industry but offer infinite contrast, high energy-efficiency, low weight, and high resolution

In choosing your display screen, also remember to weigh between consumer and commercial displays. Commercial displays last long, have high processing power, and most of them come with a warranty.

2. Choose a Digital Signage Media Player

The media player is the central control system of your electronic bulletin board. It helps you run the system with minimal flaws. You need one media player for each display screen unless you use a video splitter to create a video wall.

Media players fall into three categories, namely:

  • Boxes
  • Sticks
  • All-in-one solutions

Digital signage media player

Their primary difference is in the size, price, memory, storage, and processing power. Media boxes are more popular because they have more processing power, are more durable, and have larger storage capacity. Plug-and-play sticks are an inexpensive option, while all-in-one digital signage solutions are inbuilt in the display.

Knowing the goal you want to achieve with our bulletin board will help you choose the best media type.

3. Create Your Message

You can use online tools to create and share important messages on a digital bulletin board. Here are some options to consider:

  • Notice – you can use it to create catchy text-based signage. The app can create a single message of several different messages for the app to rotate through. It allows you to pair your message with graphics or create personalized backgrounds for a more engaging bulletin board.
  • The Events – it’s one of the simplest apps to help you broadcast information across a large audience. You can add events manually or connect the app to a calendar for automatic display.
  • Google Slides – you can loop your published Google Slide presentations to your displays for automatic updates when you make changes to the document. It comes with interactive functions like notes, slide playback control, and a virtual laser pointer. Google Slides allow you to upload graphics in the form of PDF, JPEG, or PNG.

Remember to schedule your messages depending on what you want to display at a specific time. Having a tailored schedule will increase the efficiency of communication and save you time. Consider using a playlist to allow you to control the timing and length of the display. A playlist helps you cycle your messages in a loop to keep the content fresh and engaging.

Bulletin Board Systems and the Small Business Owner

Some bulletin boards are created with educational or recreational aims. However, they now have a significant role to play in business functions, activities, and occupations. Self-employed business professionals will find the boards to be valuable in solving specific problems.

Bulletin boards seem to exist for almost every topic under the sun. As such, small businesses engaged in complex fields will benefit the most from using electronic bulletin boards. Computer hardware, programming, construction issues, and wiring problems are infinite issues that can be served by knowledgeable bulletin boards.

It is, therefore, essential to discover the right BB by sampling a few threads. This will help gauge the seriousness of the participants on how they handle issues.

Hotel Electronic Bulletin Board on Digital Signage display

Small business owners can discover bulletin boards that focus on their products. On such platforms, they can establish what the market feels about the performance of the business. This can come as a pleasant or unpleasant surprise.

According to Patrick Collinson in an article in Retail Financial Strategies, businesses can follow public comments. With some special marketing software, a business can get alerts when anyone mentions it anywhere on the internet. The company can request the removal of any false or misleading information on the boards.

Final Thoughts

The way people and businesses communicate is changing. Recently, the world has seen the entrance of electronic bulletin boards that reach a wider audience. They allow people to exchange thoughts and messages, as well as share files through a central computer.

Bulletin boards are common in the educational and recreational sectors, but the corporate world is also catching up. The advantages of using them include cost- and communication-efficiency, versatility, and sustainability. Businesses that have not yet identified appropriate bulletin boards should start engaging.

Vimeo App | Everything You Need to Know and Its Use with Digital Signage

The Vimeo app offers a convenient way for people to stream videos and for companies to extend their branding and recognition. The content appears in gorgeous ad-free HD that you can watch on bigger screens, such as digital signage display screens.

What Is the Vimeo App?

The Vimeo app is a video application, similar to YouTube app. But without any advertisements. Additionally, it allows users to create their own profile to upload videos. Vimeo offers the ability to watch videos offline or use Chromecast. Videos are streamed in full 1080p HD.

Vimeo Logo

What Is the Vimeo App Used For?

You can use the Vimeo app to upload, share, or stream videos. This is great for anyone who wants to share videos online, including individuals and companies. Companies, in particular, can use Vimeo to further their branding by displaying their Vimeo content on their digital signage displays.

How can you watch Vimeo videos?

Watching videos on Vimeo is as simple as clicking play on your smartphone or computer. The interface is highly intuitive and follows the same general structure and functionality found on other mobile applications. This results in a low learning curve.

Key Features of a Vimeo Player

Playlists and Customized Feed

You can customize your Vimeo feed by following creators and categories. You are in total control of the feed. Vimeo also features an Watch menu that helps you find new creators and videos you may love. There is also a daily fresh batch of Staff Picks that the Vimeo team picks. These features help you dive into content from the world’s best creators.

Offline Viewing

You can save videos to watch offline. This is an awesome feature as you don’t need an internet connection to be able to watch those saved videos.

Categories

Vimeo conveniently divides its videos into various categories. For example, travel, documentary, and animation. This makes it easier to find the specific videos you are looking for. 

Screenshot of Vimeo Site

Notifications

Notifications is a great way to stay up to date with the latest videos. As creators or categories you follow update a new video, you will be notified. Ensure you never miss a video!

Ad-Free

Arguably the best feature, Vimeo has no advertisements. This feature definitely enhances your vising experience, as it is not constantly being interrupted by ads. Vimeo’s always ad-free playback is a sharp contrast with other video-based social platforms.

Chromecast for Smartphones, Tablets, or TVs

You can easily Chromecast Vimeo videos to watch them on larger screens and take advantage of the gorgeous HD. 

Is the Vimeo App Free?

You can make a Vimeo account for free, but you will only have the Basic membership. This membership limits you to 5 GB of total storage in your account and 500 MB of weekly upload space. It also limits you to uploading 10 videos per day and only creating one channel, one group, and three showcases. If you need more than this, it may make sense to purchase a membership.  Vimeo Plus, works out to $7 a month, if you pay yearly or $12 a month, if you pay monthly.

How Does Vimeo Make Money?

Vimeo makes money via its paid memberships. What you are playing for is increased storage, how many team members you can have, and other features. Asides from Vimeo Plus, mentioned above, there are a couple other membership options. Those memberships work out to $20 for Pro accounts, $50 for Business accounts, and $75 for Premium accounts a month, if you pay yearly.

Uploading Videos to Vimeo

Uploading videos to Vimeo is incredibly straightforward. First, you login to your account. On the top-right corner, you will see an icon labeled “New Video.” You will be asked to select which files you want to upload. If you are on a desktop, you can also drag and drop the files. After Vimeo uploads the video, you can make tweaks, including adjusting the privacy settings, tags, description, and title. Click to save videos and the information you input. 

Digital Signage display with the Vimeo App

Vimeo is a very versatile app, it is compatible with may other. For example, the Slack app and Google drive. It’s a great application to consider when displaying videos, especially on digital signage displays. Contact us to learn more about how to use Vimeo on your digital displays!

 

QR Codes | Their usage, abilities and examples

So What Is A QR Code?

You’ve seen a “Quck Response code” before. Commonly, the term is “QR code”. They are square symbols that look like a barcode. They’ve been around a little longer than you may expect–their invention, according to Wikipedia at least, can be traced back to 1994, when the Denso Wave company is known to have first produced them.

Most people didn’t start using QR codes until the early 2000s, but the tech predates popular usage. Essentially, a QR code is a “Quick Response code”. The idea is to expedite brand awareness and/or inventory management in a sort of organic way. You can trace the concept straight to an ancient Japanese game called “Go”. This game is actually what inspired the idea. If you look at the game board for “Go”, you’ll see why.

The Humble and Practical Roots 

QR codes were originally used in factories as a means of managing inventory effectively. Specifically for vehicles. Today, it’s more commonly used for mobile phone interaction. Especially, in the wake of COVID-19, there’s a lot of QR code utility. The main reason being it’s touchless and can help limit the spread of the virus. QR codes make it easier for those wearing masks and trying to avoid infection to figure out what a given restaurant outlet offers.

QR Code use in a restaurant scanning for the menu

Beyond restaurants, there are commercial applications built around convenience. For example, once someone has scanned the code there are many actions that can follow; receiving a text message or a web-page opening. QR codes can represent an entry vector into a wireless network, and even smaller businesses can jump on the bandwagon by using QR code generators to design their own unique solutions.

QR codes are a two-dimensional way of quickly providing information that, in 2021, represents an exceptionally prominent marketing tool. In America alone, roughly 11 million households are using these codes. It is true that since they hit their initial zenith around 2011, they have declined slightly. However, different means of incorporating such codes into things like business cards and movie tickets have changed the game a bit. Especially when you factor in COVID-19. Instead of a touching menus or other items, somebody can simply scan a code.

The Analytics Angle

Another place that has become vastly enhanced by QR codes in 2021 is as regards analytics. As 2020 has forced quarantine, decentralization has expanded, and businesses have leaned into options like QR codes to acquire key data. This data can be used to help inform future marketing, product development, and sales.

How QR Codes Are Used

A QR code can do many things. They can be put to use in a restaurant, it can be used for digital signage, it can send users to a website where they can download something or it can make a particular ad more effective. These are just a few of the impressive things this little tech innovation is appropriate for.

Here’s a few more ways they can be utilized:

  • Advertisement
  • Loyalty Tracking
  • Product Marketing
  • Transport Ticketing
  • Commercial Tracking
  • Vehicular Part Tracking
  • Object Hyperlinking, Or “Hardlinking
  • Digital Signage Marketing Enhancement
  • A Means Of Storing Personal Information
  • To Facilitate Viral Marketing As Inception Did
  • QR Code Scanning In Government Identification
  • Marketing – great conversion enhancers
  • In-Store Promotions – act as a coupon
  • Paying – at a grocery store or an invoice

Smartphone Scan for Bill Payment

There are quite a few different options to choose from. Leverage Google to find thousands of unique applications. QR code generators output a unique code, that can be used to send whoever scans the symbol where you want them to be.

Apple and Android products commonly feature compatibility with these codes. The camera on a tablet or iPad can act as a scanner, and it’s actually pretty fun. So if you wanted, you could put a QR code on a print ad, then users could scan it with their phone and be sent to a website where you’ve either got some sort of guerrilla marketing materials, a coupon, special information on your website, an app, or whatever your marketing team deems most appropriate.

Effectively Engaging Target Markets

The big question will be: what level of your target market is in a position to regularly use some sort of digital scanning solution, like a smartphone camera? More than you might expect. Before, if you wanted to use QR codes, you’d have to download them through an app. Now, most smartphones naturally provide this service through their camera. So essentially, everybody’s got a QR reader these days. Since mobile phones don’t tend to last more than a few years, the majority of the market can interact with these codes. Approximately 11 out of 128.45 million households in America use QR codes regularly.

That’s around 1 in 12 people. It’s expected that this trend will continue expanding. By 2022, approximately 5.3 billion coupons should be redeemed by devices like smartphones scanning these codes. It’s also expected that, beyond coupon redemption, over a billion smartphones will access QR codes. Statistically speaking, that’s 5 in 8 people on the planet redeeming coupons, and about 1 in 8 accessing these codes. Filter out undeveloped countries, and that’s a massive swathe of your demographic.

Products And Businesses that Leverage this Technology

Especially if the products or services you’re producing are more relevant to QR interaction, there’s a lot to recommend their incorporation into marketing outreach. Vehicles, fast food, soda, and even PayPal heavily feature QR code use today. Some additional businesses that often feature such tech include:

  • Netflix
  • Snapchat
  • Nike
  • British Airways
  • Chili’s
  • Ikea
  • Instagram

That’s the tip of the iceberg, but you can see that there’s a broad cross-section of the general population who is likely to resonate with a QR code marketing campaign, simply because businesses who incorporate them regularly are very diverse.

Use in Traditional Marketing

Technology, consumption, conveyance, disposable income–all represent notable areas where QR code use makes sense. Think of it like a new barcode, or a new logo, or a new sort of slogan. QR codes have crossover with these categories of marketing. Especially for western products that have a large “following” in Southeast Asia and India, there’s notable reason to use QR codes.

Scanning a QR code to buy a ticket

15 million and 8 million households will regularly scan in QR codes in Southeast Asian countries and India respectively by the end of 2020. Australian markets have a 90% smartphone penetration. Apple, PayPal, and Amazon Pay also heavily feature QR code usage; and you can explore dozens more statistics like these at this website.

The question is: why would any of that matter if your company isn’t seeing an increase in rates of conversion? You need ROI (Return On Investment) from any marketing tactic. You don’t just try strategies out to see if they “fit”–not unless you expect they will, and you’re just assuring yourself. With that in mind, one of the most relevant uses for QR codes is the CTA angle. A QR code is an interactive Call To Action.

Calls To Action Take Many Forms

Earlier, we mentioned coupons. The dynamic QR codes send users to URLs, where they can potentially explore a variety of time-sensitive in-store discounts unavailable elsewhere. You could redirect to a YouTube video to help give customers more information and assist them in making an informed choice.

Through a dynamic QR code, a user might be sent to a digital form (or “gateway) where, by entering an email address, they get 10% off. Maybe you use their phone number instead, then send them an SMS text at intervals which corresponds to varying promotions.

Examples of QR Code Usage

Apple is especially involved with QR codes, providing iOS and iPhone utility through a built in QR reader allowing users to scan QR codes on a variety of media. A few other key applications of QR codes include digital business cards, or a “vCard”, Bitcoin commonly incorporates QR codes, restaurateurs use these codes to display a digital menu on user devices, and the list goes on. Strictly as regards marketing, common QR code usage includes:

  • SMO (Social Media Optimization) And SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Creative Marketing Campaigns
  • A Direct Link Between Online And Offline Media
  • High Regard From Customers, Who Like QR Options

Social media applications like Facebook and Twitter have some interesting applications in that way. That said, The last point on this little list is perhaps the most relevant.

QR codes are like a game to many customers. By playing along, they get new information, discounts, and a lot more. Essentially, you can bring people along to your digital outreach campaign through physical media.

The Digital Signage Angle, And Thinking Outside The Box

Digital signage and QR codes go well together. In other words, you can use them to engage new markets, funneling more traffic to your business in an organic way. Think of it like a sort of scavenger hunt. The QR code represents a clue, when it’s scanned, the user gets the next clue, and they “win” the scavenger hunt when they convert to your products or services. Giving them a coupon or other discount for the journey makes a lot of sense, and it can even be a little fun for marketing departments to put such miniature journeys together.

Scanning from a screen

Another use for a QR code would be to download a mobile app. What has changed in the last couple years is that you no longer have to download some camera app just to use QR codes, instead you can simply use your device as it was manufactured. Around 2017, as Apple became more involved, competitive aspects of the markets initiated the shift. A built-in QR scanner invites users to explore it.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Marketing Through QR Codes

That said, traditional billboards represent one of the best modes of interaction. Like a QR code under the message on a paper menu could offer diners in a restaurant the chance to get a future coupon, a billboard QR code or one on a digital sign invites the reader to explore new possibilities in a fun way that’s naturally attractive, and affects more than 1 in 12 people across the US.

Mvix Digital Signage offers considerable options as regards QR code solutions. The bottom line here is: for all kinds of marketing campaigns, there are QR code uses which are definitely worth looking into. Between Apple computing and the strange nature of 2020, there has been an up-tick in QR code use, and so for marketing departments seeking a solid future tactic, incorporating QR options today makes sense.