DOOH expert Lyle Bunn continues to diligently cover digital signage industry growth, extracting data from the latest studies and analyzing trends.
In his recent post he estimated, among other things, that the volume of unique ads played across all DOOH networks in North America in 2009 exceeds 1,000,000. Lyle further quotes a research company that puts the total number of DOOH displays in North Amedica at 900,000.
Lyle’s latest numbers are definitely useful to industry players and they most certainly will have an effect on new would-be venue owners, operators, suppliers and resellers researching the industry. However, as exciting as the numbers may look, it is not likely that they will serve as a catalyst to entice agencies or adverisers to put more money into DOOH space.
Unfortunately, to agencies, who for decades have been evaluating, planning and buying media using tools that process impressions, ratings and demographics, the number of ads displayed is not a metric.
The question today is no longer whether DOOH is a significant and viable medium – this much has been proven beyond doubt; the question is: how to buy it?
The main complaints from media buyers are that the industry has not yet been able to answer a few simple but critical questions:
1. What is the audience by geography, demographics and consumer behaviour? – so they could plan it like they do other media.
2. What is the ad spend by brand? – a standard metric – so Unilever, for instance, could see if P&G is already advertising on certain networks and decide for themselves… The problem here is that networks are withholding this information whereas in mainstream media it’s a standard parameter.
3. When will DOOH network ad space and audience data be included in agency media mix modelling tools and into syndicated research reports? This is what media buyers use for their media plans and if DOOH is not visible in those tools, it cannot possibly become a line item.
4. Another big question is: what category does digital signage belong to? Is it part of OOH (which in itself is not a big category), should it be a subset of cable, digital or alternative ‘buckets’? In fact, none of those category options actually do digital signage any good, as they do not reflect the unique and enormous potential it carries. So the debate goes back to: what this medium should be called and whether a separate, independent media category should be created to properly identify it.
OVAB is spearheading efforts to resolve all of the above issues. Following the publication of Audience Metrics Guidelines networks are now equipped with agency-endorsed approach to bring their audience measurements to a common denominator – impressions. The next big thing on the agenda is to standardize proof-of-performance metrics (proof of ad delivery, proof of effectivenes). Arbitron is going full steam ahead to assist networks in creating proper campaign performance validation.
Communication is underway between OVAB and syndicated media and consumer research suppliers on ways to include DOOH ad space into regular standard surveys. OVAB is also talking with media mix modelling software companies.
True, despite all impediments, digital signage has been growing even throughout the recession. This is a phenomenal result. But the real growth will commence when real advertising money starts flowing in.
Hopefully, 2010 and 2011 will see a shift towards the integration of digital signage into media planning and buying infrastructure on a systemic level. Only then can we expect a tidal change in ad spending in favor of our exciting but underfueled medium.
You can read Lyle Bunn’s article that inspired this commentary of mine here.
Add comment October 2nd, 2009