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Not All DOOH Networks Are Good Ideas

On December 13, 2011, in Advertising, Digital Signage, DOOH, Network, by Tony Hymes

An interesting post from Paul Flanigan on DigitalSignageToday about the “Field Of Dreams” quote, If You Build it They Will Come, Really. Flanigan is an expert on creating a compelling experience and content is his charge. Now working with Saddle Ranch Productions, his blog experiate.net links to our DOOHFinder with some of his most educational [...]

An interesting post from Paul Flanigan on DigitalSignageToday about the “Field Of Dreams” quote, If You Build it They Will Come, Really. Flanigan is an expert on creating a compelling experience and content is his charge. Now working with Saddle Ranch Productions, his blog experiate.net links to our DOOHFinder with some of his most educational articles. Especially unique is his About Me page on his blog, which will challenge the average webmaster to rise to his level of revealing information about himself without the usual droll.

But in this case, the abundantly cited theme from one of the greatest baseball movies of all time is not proving true, and in fact, taken from the position of the advertiser, it is borderline disrespectful. Advertisers and marketers do not sit around waiting for the next best thing with unlimited budgets and a willingness to stick their necks out at each new opportunity. Especially from the position of the agency folk, most of their time is spent beating back good ideas and trying to find the true gems.

For a lot of marketers, the targeting provided by DOOH is a god-send. It provides a relatively affordable way to engage consumers close to their purchases, sometimes it’s a no-brainer. But there are many ad-based networks that have failed because marketers didn’t come, they evaluated and passed. The network reoriented itself, and the marketers reevaluated and passed again. Some networks are just not good ideas.

While scale and standardized metrics are the two biggest gripes from marketers, many complaints arise from the over-use of the word “targeting” and the idea that just because screens are present in exactly the same types of places, that they reach the same types of people. Take for instance bars, which are tricky since the locations are loaded with TVs already and the ad network is competing for eyes against sports, shots, and long legs. Walk into a bar at a different hour and it can be a different crowd, even a chain of bars varies widely from location to location while the decor is exactly the same. Location is important, but demographics are more important, at least to a company big enough to have a formal marketing department or an agency.

One more common misconception from ad-based networks is that local advertisers will flock to their screens since they are nearby. There are too many examples of networks of 10 screens in locations around a city, with the intent to approach local businesses with dynamic content opportunities and relatively low ad rates. But local area businesses do not generally have formal marketing departments, the owners do not have the time to educate themselves about all forms of emerging media, and they view their promotional budgets as luxuries, not meant to be tapped on experimental media. Even though a business could be surrounded by DOOH screens that fit their exact demographic and customers, it takes a lot of time to convince someone who has been doing business in a certain way to change their mind.

As this blog has argued over and over again, and something that the American revolutionary Thomas Paine said over 200 years ago, time changes more minds than reason. The idea that if you build an advertising network then people will use it to advertise is not a guarantee in itself, how many websites have failed due to a lack of revenue? TV channels? DOOH networks? Though we argue heavily for the advantages of DOOH, and have stated repeatedly that one day every sign will be digital, this bodes better for the digital signage suppliers than the ad-based networks and their investors, unless of course, they can afford to wait a long time to see their ROI.

2 Responses to “Not All DOOH Networks Are Good Ideas”

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