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The 10 Minute Guide to Digital-Out-Of-Home (DOOH)


Courtesy of IMediaConnection

So you think you know digital. But do you know digital out of home (DOOH)? Chances are that many of you are a little rusty on this segment of the industry. Several DOOH leaders told me that there is clearly a divide between those who know, understand, and utilize this space well, and those that don’t understand the space at all.

The number of people “in the know” is growing, but my suspicion is that there are plenty of iMedia Connection readers that would find an overview of this category valuable. Without further ado, here is a ten minute primer so that you can decide if DOOH might have value for you.

DOOH size and growth
No doubt about it, we all need to pay more attention to the size and growth of the DOOH segment of our industry. Take a look at these figures and think about them in the context of the size of the industry segments we talk endlessly about.

With greater than $3.5 billion in sales expected this year, it’s apparent that DOOH has a whole lot going on.

Category structure
Most industry observers break down the opportunities into four main buckets:

•Retail: The retail category encompasses in-store opportunities like PRN’s Walmart TV, grocery store checkout TV, and the like. The idea, of course, is to impact consumers at the point of sale. Sometimes these units work as broadcast screen only, while other units may offer deep interaction to help a consumer learn more about an item or choose the best product for them.

•Place-based: These screens appear in a variety of venues, particularly in captive audience environments where content can entertain consumers. Examples include in-taxi ads, ATMs, elevator screens, screens in bars/restaurants, and even in professional offices like dentists’ waiting rooms. Again, some work as broadcast units, other as interactive units.

•Outdoor: Think billboards, with sight and motion. You’ll typically find these in very high traffic areas like on main highways or places that attract millions of people, like Times Square.

Movie Theatres: Not the trailers, the ads that appear in the programming before a movie, or just before the coming attractions get started.

Targeting options
While many people think of out of home as a mass play, digital out of home has always offered a variety of targeting options from broad to highly defined population segments. Those options get better and more granular all the time. Some of the options available include:

  • Demographics: The broad range of DOOH venues makes it possible to deliver to a well defined demo. You can target by gender, age range, income, market, ethnicity, and more. While you are unlikely to get 100 percent composition, you can deliver a highly targeted campaign.
  • Venue: Naturally, there are a variety of venue targeting options. In-store vehicles let you reach consumers when they are most likely to be persuadable. Here there are options to target by class of trade (grocery, drug, mass, convenience store) or even by chain/chain and market. In-taxi media might be a powerful way for NY entertainment venues, for example, to drive awareness and purchase intent.
  • Location: This can range from a general location, like the Long Island suburbs, to a particular one, like medical offices. Additionally, digital outdoor also offers the option, pioneered by traditional OOH, of targeting by proximity, for example, within a certain number of miles from a Walmart.
  • Behavior/affinity: Adcentricity also reports that behavioral and insight targeting are also becoming much more common. Says their authoritative planning guide, “The practice of deep data based/rationalized targeting is growing daily to rationalize plans and justify solutions to the end client.” Interactive units surely play a key role in this regard.
  • Daypart: Many DOOH options offer the opportunity to schedule impressions and exposure by daypart. For example, a board might feature Minute Maid in the morning and MGD at night.

When to use DOOH
In order to best make use of DOOH, it’s important to think about it in the context of overall marketing objectives and tactics in use. In my view, DOOH should be thought of as part of an overall marketing solution — a supporting part.

I’ve put together six use cases that illustrate a broad range of situations in which DOOH can play an important role. Consider the following:

  • Mass reach: DOOH can be great at this. From digital boards at key locations on highways, to a broad scale buy at the entrances of retail stores, DOOH can hit tens of millions of people in a week or less. I think it’s best to think of this as supporting media in a mass reach effort, because the more passive nature of the broadly targeted units likely make them less effective at telling a complete product story. But in-store TV, for example, would be great at reminding consumers of a new product they’ve seen on TV, putting the item top of mind as the consumer wanders the aisles. Similarly, a digital billboard on the 405 in LA could remind millions of a TV premiere or the like.
  • Addressing underdelivery: DOOH is particularly good at reaching consumer groups that tend to be harder to pinpoint with traditional and PC-based digital media. For example, Toyota spent heavily to introduce its entry level Yaris car to young people through cinema advertising. The creative helped make the messages particularly resonant with the well defined audience segment.
  • Situational awareness: Imagine you are a tourist visiting New York City. You see an ad for Sweeney Todd on the In-taxi TV. Odds are that you are more likely to buy a ticket, no? Or how about this: You are waiting in a doctor’s office for an appointment to discuss joint pain. An ad for Celebrex appears on the screen in the lobby. Again, you’re a lot more likely to “ask your doctor about Celebrex.” Or how about this one: You work in an office building. It’s lunchtime. As you ride down the elevator, Subway’s “$5-dollar foot long” offer appears on the in elevator TV. You’re that much more likely to go get that big sandwich, yes?
  • Promotion delivery: You can make offers available to consumers through interactive units AND display units. For example, a billboard might offer a short code to download a coupon. Or an interactive unit might offer the option of a QR code to deliver an offer to a smart phone.
  • Real and symbolic brand support: In-store TV or kiosks will help drive more brand sales. But they also are very marketable to retailers that you are serious about the success of that item. That you’re committed to drive velocity. This might be a great alternative for premium priced brands to pursue versus circulars and end-cap discounting.
  • Product immersion: Interactive units, in retail or in captive locations, can give consumers an opportunity to “go deep” in product information. Imagine your cough medicine has eight formulations. An interactive display can help the consumer find exactly the right set of benefits for them.
  • Naturally, the opportunities and situations in which DOOH can help support your efforts are quite broad. The important thing is to consider DOOH as you consider all of your other media options, because it may well provide an edge.

    Media costs cover a broad range, with many broad vehicles offering CPMs similar to good online media, and more highly targeted tools charging significantly more for their precision.

    Creative considerations
    Digital out of home units tend to be rather “forefront.” They have the motion characteristics that demand consumer attention, and often appear in “captive venues” where there are few other distractions. Indeed, that is part of their power. I am sure some will take issue with this article for not vilifying certain DOOH vehicles as “over the line.” I’ll leave it to you to decide what’s OK and what isn’t.

    In an era of consumer empowerment, it’s important to think carefully about value exchange when you plan a DOOH effort. What information or entertainment value are you offering the consumer in exchange for their “captive attention?”

    In my view, there are two things to consider:

    1. What inherent value does the specific channel offer the consumer? For example, PRN and WalMart are careful to maintain a strong edit to ad ratio in Walmart TV. Ads surround strong content including home, lifestyle and entertainment stories. When the medium has value, consumers are willing to tolerate advertising to support it. It’s the classic US media model.
    2. What tangible value does you execution offer the consumer? DOOH experts may disagree with this, but I believe that the consumer should be able to expect more value from a more intrusive medium. The less value the medium offers, the more value your execution needs to offer in order to be received positively by the consumer. I’m not saying that it wouldn’t be effective to run a TV ad in an elevator, but rather that we are missing out on some of the promise of the medium by doing so. But at the same time, we need to consider cost/benefit of producing specific executions for media.

    Value can come in the form of information, lifestyle ideas, and entertainment. For example, that Toyota Yaris ad was clearly designed to reflect the high entertainment standards of the movie goer. No one wants to spend $8 to $12 to watch a “sale-a-bration” ad, but Toyota added value to the viewing experience with great action, storytelling, and production values.

    Interactivity is playing an increasingly significant role in DOOH. With the advent of larger displays, gesture control, multiuser touch screens, and other whiz bang technologies, consumers are getting more and more opportunities to become a part of the DOOH execution. Check out these two programs to get a sense of what I mean. The first is an InWindow Outdoor execution for PNC Bank.

    While historically these programs have been difficult to scale, that is slowly changing, and they continue to provide a create deal of buzz and news value when placed in the right locations.

    While such executions have their place in DOOH, many brands make the mistake of thinking about DOOH as “special occasion” media. As a result, they might consider a whiz bang program like this on rare occasions, but might overlook the work-a-day tools and tactics that are really driving the sales and growth in this industry. To think about DOOH solely in the context of these kinds of programs would be analogous to buying only site takeovers in online, without broad reach video, banners, or social programs to deliver a communications foundation.

    Are DOOH media right for you? How the heck would I know? But it is safe to say that they warrant serious consideration by a larger number of brands. DOOH is growing like a weed because it is powerful, proven, and affordable. That’s a combination a lot of brands might find very valuable indeed. With expected sales this year of more than $3.5 billion, it’s quite possible that your competitors are already utilizing it to create competitive advantage.

    I’m indebted to two key sources of information and data for this piece:

    I hope this piece provided a useful overview for you to consider as you devise future strategies and tactical programs for your brand.

    Jim Nichols is senior partner, strategist at Catalyst S+F.

Related Articles

Digital Out Of Home Ads Increasing


by Garry McGuire IMedia Connection

Digital-out-of-home (DOOH) is demonstrating its value as a relevant, consistent, and effective medium for advertisers. It’s predictable and easy to buy. But reaching maturity, and realizing broad acceptance and prosperity, will take more work.

Here’s my point of view on the key issues facing DOOH network operators, and how they should be addressed.

Focus on audience
DOOH media is planned and bought much the same way as broadcast, online, and print — by audience profile. The significance of people consuming more media out of the home than in-home has become important to advertisers. The right message delivered to the right consumer, at the right time, along the path to purchase — this premise is now particularly important when targeting an audience.

Stay informed.

For more insights into the latest trends in emerging marketing technologies, attend the iMedia Breakthrough Summit, March 20-23. Request your invitation today.
The chief marketing officers and the agency planners out there don’t buy place. They are not looking to get their message running in certain kinds of venues. They want to reach a certain viewer profile broken down by characteristics like age, gender, and lifestyle. The only exception to that is true out-of-home shops that are selling billboards and, thus, selling specific locations and areas.

Digital-out-of-home is more of an online and broadcast environment than it is out-of-home. By selling audience and not place, the medium is going to get bought more broadly. Place is a great qualifier on a media buy, but the big dollars in the media world right now are in broadcast and online, and those are bought based on audience.

Here’s the sort of pitch that we see resonating with people who control media budgets.

If you operate a gas station network, for example, don’t talk about how many screens are running. Talk about the demographics of the people spending time in front of those screens as they pump gas. You want to convey the size of the audience of men and women, 18 to 52 years old, who have an average household income of $100,000 or higher, and are in front of those screens repeatedly. If you have a retail network, don’t talk about the fact that your screens are in a convenience store environment. Talk about how you represent a viewing audience of 10 million alpha moms, or whatever most powerfully characterizes your viewership.

Make this easy for advertisers and media partners
It’s been pointed out many times by media pros, but I’ll repeat it. It takes far more time and energy right now to plan and execute a small DOOH buy than it does to book a much larger broadcast buy. That has to change. The DOOH industry has to make it easy for advertisers and media planners if it wants to firmly be part of the mainstream.

Make yourself available
The biggest agencies have their own internal media planning systems. If you want to be part of major buys next year and beyond, you must figure out how your media inventory shows up in those systems. If you’re not in there, you’re not on the plans. The biggest agencies that control media dollars have in-house systems for broadcast, and they are quickly moving to systems for DOOH, as well. Starcom MediaVest is already using such a system.

If you can’t beat them, join them
You need to use the common nomenclature, measurement metrics, and pricing methodologies of the media business. You can’t invent your own and force them on a well-established industry.

Adapt to the industry’s needs
Be ready to transact the way that media industry members want you to transact with them. It has got to be the way they want to measure it. It has to be the way they want to price it. If you have a sight, sound, and motion DOOH network, and you are positioning it up against broadcast, you better be able to convert from cost-per-thousands (CPMs) to gross rating points. You cannot walk into a broadcast buyer’s office and talk about CPMs. That’s not how they work.

What happens is that planners struggle and then give up on trying to execute a cross-network buy because they can’t do an apples-to-apples comparison. That then means those DOOH networks that don’t report and sell the way agencies want simply don’t get bought.

Get better at data and analytics
Major media research firms are all now very active in the DOOH sector, and we’re seeing substantial work — such as Arbitron’s “Digital Place-Based Video Study” and Nielsen’s “Fourth Screen Network Audience Report” — being done to define audience characteristics.

We’re also seeing guidelines emerge and be refined in North America and Europe that encourage common ways to measure and report audience metrics, network by network.

Big research is really important in this sector because it makes DOOH easier to buy. The exciting thing is that all the research that is coming back from the field is coming back largely the same. There’s a positive trend reinforcing the impact and efficiency of DOOH. Those great results can’t be dismissed as anomalies because the body of evidence is now too large and consistent.

It’s that breadth of research that will hopefully stop what has emerged as a bad trend in this sector — the willingness to do custom research on media buys. We all want to sell our media so much that we offer custom research on every single ad buy. But that’s a mistake. The costs are too high, and it only adds to a story that’s now well established. Let’s focus instead on the larger industry research.

Speak with a common voice
DOOH network operators need to stop sniping at each other and start talking together about how this media format reaches, engages, and has an impact with consumers outside their homes. As long as we are fighting with each other about who has the best fitness network, or coffee shop network, or whatever it is, none of us will get bought. The media business doesn’t want to listen to us as we air our dirty laundry.

There is a lot of media money out there, and it is constantly moving around from different buckets. DOOH networks have a far better chance of drawing down from those buckets if they move off of trying to sell against their direct competitors and focus, instead, on selling the efficacy of the category.

The tide will rise for everyone if we speak with a common, positive voice.

Garry McGuire is the CEO of Reach Media Group