I have watched advertiser supported Place-Based Video networks evolve from the days of the old Sony U-matic 3/4-inch videotape, to VHS, and then DVD. Although the quality greatly improved and delivery made easier and cheaper, it was always a difficult task to ensure participation in the target environment. That is, the venue had to manually insert the tape or DVD into a player, turn the power on, and press play. It made it very difficult to convince a potential advertiser that their message would be seen since we couldn’t even prove the screen was on.
When DVD was the best we could do, we had to convince manufacturers that advertising with us would yield positive ROIs notwithstanding the inherent weakness of venue reliance on compliance. It was all about the skills of your sales team and how convincing they could be. We could certainly explain to Huggies that our digital displays in pediatric offices would reach mothers shopping for diapers if they watched the screen. That would be a great way to advertise, would it not? But we still lacked accurate data proving the screens were on and verifiable numbers that could show how many people our screens reached. Because of the statistical limitation, we were then limited in our ability to prove concept to management and it was impossible to reach multiple vendors through agencies.
Now, since the implementation of Digital Out of Home (place-based media), things have dramatically changed. Uploading content directly to a digital screen via broadband internet has enabled us to eliminate the middleman between advertiser and consumer. More importantly, once we became digitally delivered, we became reportable, auditable, and visible as an industry.
With Arbitron and Nielsen providing demographics as relates to digital signage, network providers now have hard data with which to market. Advertising agencies are finally afforded the ability to enter the world of DOOH. Not that they didn’t want to previously, but they needed something to hang their hats on. As an agency, they can’t go to a client and say, “Trust me. This will work.” Advertisers need to know that their representatives are making educated choices, with their budgets, that are based on trusted third party data. Utilizing third party demographic reports, we can now work with advertising agencies to prove the benefits of DOOH and we can arm them with accurate statistics to show their clients.
Advertiser supported DOOH CAN become an agency driven business.