Going digital in the great outdoors

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Simon Badinter
Co-chairman, OnSpot Digital Network

As more people watch what they want, when they want it — often ignor­ing commercial messages at home — advertisers need to reach them where they are, which is no longer on their couches watching TV. Digital out-of-home (OOH) advertising allows adver­tisers to talk to consumers using digital and video messaging on plasma, LCD and HD screens at the gym, in a taxi, in a bar or at a gas station. Today, the Out­door Video Advertising Bureau boasts 900,000 screens in more than 34,000 venues, and that number is growing.

Digital OOH can deliver true ROI, allowing advertisers to speak to custom­ers at the point of sale — that critical time when they're thinking about spend­ing. In a world of consumers suffering from “continual partial attention,” why not reach your audience with your product message when they're actually focused on making a purchase?

Many advertisers continue to hold back when it comes to new media, but the first step in digital OOH is easier than it may seem. Move beyond psychographics to examine what your consumer is doing throughout the course of the day. Consider mothers, some of OnSpot's core audience, who have transformed the shopping mall into the hub of the community where they meet friends, socialize, and play with their kids; or teens and tweens, who visit coffee shops, go to the gym and head to the mall. These are all places you can reach them with digital OOH ads.

Many have debated where the money for digital OOH ads should come from. In my opinion, all advertisers must earmark a portion of their budget for experimentation. Those that do will be rewarded, especially as we incorporate new technology, such as larger, more vivid screens as well as Bluetooth appli­cations into our networks. The industry is also working to ensure consistent measurement, so you can evaluate digi­tal OOH ROI against your TV, radio or interactive buys.

THE TAKEAWAY
Early adopters of digital OOH ads will be rewarded as technology improves


John Ochoa
Director of business development, DT Research

Static signs and billboards are becoming all but invisible to consumers today. The widespread use of the Inter­net, combined with the popularity of the iPhone and HDTV, has raised the bar.

The good news is that the technology is now available to bring digital adver­tising to consumers outside the home. Digital signage technology can pump video ads to audiences inside commer­cial buildings as well as outdoors.

Because digital signage content can be dynamically updated and changed, advertisers can distribute specific ads in different locations at certain times. This gives advertisers the flexibility to better match the content to the audience, location and timeframe. Running a one-hour product promotion at a single retail store using traditional signs was cost-prohibitive in the past, but this would be a common digital signage promotion.

A typical digital signage system includes a media player, an electronic display and remote management soft­ware to control when the content is played and whether the display is on or off. Displays range from very large outdoor billboards to small, on-the-shelf signs that provide specific product infor­mation and educational demos. Adver­tisers can choose the size and shape that best suits the environment.

Many digital signs provide interactiv­ity through touch-screen displays that run ads until a consumer touches the screen to get more information. This increases the depth of information that a consumer can access about a product or service. Some digital signs also include barcode scanners and magnetic stripe readers, which can provide additional information about a product, such as pricing and availability.

Digital signs can blend advertising, personalized information gathering and educational tutorials into a single experi­ence. Advertisers who take advantage of digital signage technology can better capture consumers' attention and speed the purchasing process.

THE TAKEAWAY
Flexibility and interaction are the main attractions of digital OOH ads


Monte Zweben
Chairman, SeeSaw Networks

Digital out-of-home advertising has emerged in places across the coun­try such as gas stations, coffee shops, office elevators, grocery stores, health clubs, bars and restaurant, to name a few. This medium has now reached the scale necessary to compete with television and the Web for national advertising dollars.

According to the Digital Out-of-Home Media Awareness and Attitude Study (OTX, October 2007), people report that digital out-of-home advertising is the number one way to capture their attention in today's fragmented media landscape. People are engaged by compelling and relevant content, such as news, entertainment, community information and weather while they are tuned in, not tuned out.

How do marketers take advantage of this exciting new medium to connect with their customers and prospects? Oneway is to use a behavioral marketing methodology such as life pattern mar­keting, which maps the work, play and social routines of a target audience to digital out-of-home media opportunities. This methodology includes a discus­sion of the type of creative that would be most effective in communicating a brand message or a call to action. In many cases, creative repurposed from existing Web, print or television assets can be repackaged with text and anima­tion to deliver an effective message.

This media can also be made inter­active by integrating a call to action through text messaging within the advertising creative and tracking responses in real time. Some digital out-of-home media networks also enable marketers to connect people in places to the Web through social networks using SMS text messaging, thereby creating the opportunity for a campaign to be viral through social networking.

THE TAKEAWAY
Behavioral marketing can be combined with digital OOH ads to maximize reach


Mariana Danilovic
EVP of business development, NTN Buzztime

The Alternative Out-of-Home Media Forecast 2007-2011 (PQ Media) notes that US residents now spend twice as much time outside their homes and workplaces as they did just a few decades ago. Where out-of-home adver­tising was once limited to billboards, bench ads, bus ads and similar static media, today's digital technology allows advertisers to engage consumers with more exciting, interactive digital ads and signage.

At NTN Buzztime (which produces interactive games, contests and poll across different consumer platforms), interactive advertising and digital sig­nage has emerged as a focus. It became evident that we had a unique oppor­tunity to not only convey advertisers' messages through our network, but also to collect data on consumers. Interactive capabilities get consumers involved with the ad or product, increasing ad reten­tion and brand recall. We can also acquire consumers through our interac­tive network while they are in bars and restaurants and having fun in shared social experiences.

When planning the digital out-of-home advertising campaign, it is important to identify where the target consumers spend their time and their patterns of engagement. Will they be rushing to work, or having fun with their friends? Will they have time to participate in an interactive ad, game or contest, or will they have only seconds to read a few words? By answering these questions, one can have a better idea of which ad buys are most effective and how to create an optimal campaign.

As a member of the Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau, we are working with other digital signage industry leaders to develop standard audience metrics guidelines and the entire ecosystems necessary to launch this important marketplace for media planners. This new area of consumer engagement has the feel of the early Internet ad marketplace, so the time to participate in these innovative cam­paigns is definitely now.

THE TAKEAWAY
Standard metrics to measure digital OOH ads' success are in the pipeline

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