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The Curse Of Attractive Numbers

On July 7, 2011, in Advertising, Digital Signage, DOOH, by Tony Hymes

Everyone in the digital out of home industry knows that audience metrics, evaluated by a third party metrics agency, is the key to successfully selling advertising. The DP-AA has done a great job in trying to standardize how people define the reach and frequency of their network. But the learning curve of DOOH has been [...]

Everyone in the digital out of home industry knows that audience metrics, evaluated by a third party metrics agency, is the key to successfully selling advertising. The DP-AA has done a great job in trying to standardize how people define the reach and frequency of their network. But the learning curve of DOOH has been lengthened by the entrepreneurs driving this business.

When the business leaders behind the expansion of DOOH checked their cocktail napkin math, it seemed so obvious: a dollar per day here, a few per week there, yearly buy outs, all the math added up: profitable.

Now DOOH network operators are finding it more difficult to educate marketers on how to integrate DOOH into their campaigns. There is a lot of negative noise, or for a harsher term, deconstructive interference, which is making it impossible for marketers to value the different networks. For example: which costs more money, a network with 1 million weekly impressions that costs $5,000 for a month, or a network with 10 million monthly impressions that costs $500 per day? Who wants to do that math?

Math has never been this writer’s strongsuit, but numbers themselves are beautiful, and they can be manipulated better than letters.

Another question (this is turning into a pop quiz!) what sounds better? 1,000 impressions per day, or 30,000 per month? What counts as a milestone? 1,000,000 impressions per week? per day?

For most of us, big numbers ending in lots of zeros are the ones to celebrate. For the sales process, big numbers are the easiest to attract eyes, and therefore attention, probably the single biggest hurdle in the advertising sales game. Throwing out your most attractive number is the go-to action for sales people, but this is often performed without understanding the math that must go into the evaluation of the opportunity.

As stated, the DP-AA has released much information on the different audience metrics of DOOH, relating to the unique characteristics of this medium. Depending on the qualities of each network, marketers and network operators should be able to find good pricing agreements.

The cocktail napkins say it’s not difficult, but the truth of digital out of home is that it’s complexity is a value and a barrier. The oversimplification of audience and impressions per whatever time period sounds the best is hurting those who are spending the time to use recommended metrics to facilitate advertising buys. The learning curve may be steep, but we have seen how strong the payoff that DOOH provides advertisers is. If everyone went about selling DOOH advertising the same way, the adoption rate would increase rapidly.

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