Digital out of home media is driven by a number of different factors because of how versatile a technology it is. In the DOOH industry, companies refer to end-users as those who buy the systems (screens, media players, software, distribution systems, content). The end-users come from different verticals: hospitality, transit, and government for example. Or they are network operators who have found a niche and are displaying relevant content on a larger scale. But this idea is actually quite short-sighted, as this group is only one type of end-user.
The different types of end-users:
1. Venue Operators:
Granted, from the stand point of importance, venue operators who buy the DOOH technology are critical to the success and growth of the industry. It is their idea, their messaging, and their places that house DOOH media. Much is being done now to educate these types of end-users about the various forms of DOOH investment and how to achieve an ROI or ROO (return on objective). Without them, it would be very difficult to see DOOH anywhere.
Often overlooked as an end-user, advertisers are just as critical to DOOH as the venue operators and investors. Without advertising dollars flowing to networks, there would be little chance of an ROI, and investment would quickly diminish. It is also simply the chance of money from advertisers that keep digital out of home value propositions tangible. There is absolutely not enough education for advertisers coming out of the DOOH industry (though the Digital Signage Expo is devoting an entire day to this).
Uneducated advertisers might try to treat digital out of home media like traditional out of home media, which may or may not work. Alternatively, they might treat it like television or the internet, which also may or may not work. Quantifying the objectives beforehand and understanding what has working and not worked in the past is crucial to the continued success of DOOH advertising as a commercial medium.
3. The Viewer
With everything else stated, the absolute most important end-user of digital out of home technology is the viewer. Everything is made for the viewer, conceived for the viewer, positioned and selected for the viewer. Yet this is often overlooked from a business perspective, because the viewer doesn’t buy the technology or make advertising spends.
Educating people about DOOH and what it can provide for them on location, while they wait, or in a retail environment is critical for the success of DOOH media campaigns and the coveted ROI of investors.
Finally the industry is focusing on content strategies to better engage the viewers, and with the spread of mobile technology and interactive technology, DOOH is unique because it can provide its operator with immediate feedback. Anonymous Video Analytics also reveal what content is working, without requiring directly inputted feedback from the viewer.
Once the industry realizes that these three groups make up the end-users, strategies will be put in place to please all of them, not just the ones spending the money up front.
Tony Hymes is the Editor of the Digital Out Of Home industry website DOOH.com. He produces introductory videos of the companies working across the space from digital signage hardware providers to content companies, DOOH networks, consultants, and software groups. Tony Hymes writes extensively about the strategies behind DOOH advertising, digital signage networks and deployments, and customer engagement trends.