DOOH Is Poised to Grow, But Accountability and Collaboration Are Key

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minority reportWith nearly half of all media consumed outside the consumer’s front door, according to PQMedia’s Global DOOH (digital out-of-home) Forecast 2012-2016, many advertisers are looking for ways to evolve messaging to consumers through their day, while they are on-the-go.

But to date, according to eMarketer, DOOH has garnered only 35% of OOH’s $2 billion in annual advertising dollars. Why are so few dollars in media plans allocated to on-the-go media? Primarily because this sector has not provided the basic, traditional tools to the planning community that is expected with all other media types to evaluate, plan, place and track in a standardized way.

Something needs to change for this sector to experience growth and revenue levels on a par with that of digital, social and mobile. At Spafax Networks we think the key areas the industry should be focusing on to maximize the growth potential of digital signage are Technology, Data and Collaboration.

This centers around the utilization of an automated platform that will give buyers the ability to purchase and implement media in real-time. The real-time buying (RTB) method of media purchasing has seen tremendous growth in the digital sector and is already spreading into other media types. It is the logical next step for the DOOH marketplace to adopt a technology platform that will leverage an API that will connect both buyers and sellers.

RTB jumped to 72% growth in 2012 for the digital space, according to an eMarketer report. This is a huge indicator that the budgets are out there. If we can speak the same language and buy digital signage in the same fashion that traditional digital video ads are bought it should open up larger video budgets to which the sector would otherwise not have access.

To date, the DOOH industry has had a lack of intelligent third-party data that can provide brands with a deeper sense of where their target consumer is traveling throughout a given day. All information currently available to buyers and brands is typically provided by the media owner and is only updated every two or three years. More intelligent data needs to be available to buyers to allow for smarter buying practices and to ensure campaigns are not being built off of preconceived notions.

Much like the online world uses cookie pools, we at Spafax Networks have set out to solve this issue by creating our own surrogate cookie pool by calibrating three unique datasets, including behavior-mobile diary and geo-centric location data that when aggregated provides an index which can tie back to a gross rating point. One enables us to identify where consumers are over the course of their day. Another measures audiences for specific place-based networks. And the third identifies consumer context and intent.

The melding of these three data sets creates a unique synchronization of data that can be linked to a demand-side platform that will allow clients and agencies the ability to analyze and purchase DOOH media in the same fashion that they buy digital inventory. This common currency should be easily digestible across modern media sectors and accounted for in the broader communication plans.

The industry as a whole needs to work together rather than against each other to win bigger budgets. Digital signage is much more powerful when combining multiple environments rather than working as individual entities. Once we can collaborate to standardize ad formats and audience measurement, and keep CPMs consistent, it will allow the industry to advance and innovate. By standardizing, we will have created a common currency that eases the adoption of the medium as a whole through the planning community. A “plug and play” solution for planners is the only way to move the industry forward.

If the industry as a whole does not follow the trends of the more advanced media sectors, revenues will suffer. DOOH should be able reach great heights if the vendor community works together to embrace the advances in technology that are readily available to them. If they don’t, DOOH will remain stagnant, chasing the small OOH budgets and inadequately answering the same old questions about measurement and reach.

14527b9Patrick Bonomo is EVP at Spafax Networks, a division of WPP’s tenthavenue. He can be reached at [email protected]