“What can DOOH networks do to avoid losing ad revenue to digital?”
There are three key areas that DOOH networks can focus on to avoid losing ad revenue to digital — transacting on digital currency, offering robust audience targeting, and enabling improved digital measurement.
Much of DOOH inventory is still transacted on a spot-per-loop or share-of-time basis, which are transactional currencies that most digital buyers are unfamiliar with or require extra work on the buy-side to normalize with their data sets from other digital channels. The most common currency for digital is cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM). While there are understandable challenges in measuring impressions from DOOH media, organizations like GeoPath, the Media Ratings Council (MRC), and the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) have been taking measures to create standards. Making this shift will go a long way to speaking the same language as digital buyers.
While place-based and location-targeting for media is still vitally important, digital buyers are accustomed to layering additional audience data to better inform location targeting. Whether it’s simple demographic data, behavioral intent data, or even first-party, advertiser customer relationship (CRM) data, DOOH networks need to invest in methods for incorporating those data sets into sales planning and campaign setup tools to offer digital buyers a means of targeting their messages to the audiences they most want to reach.
And just as vital, digital buyers fully expect to understand the effectiveness of their media. Going beyond plays or even impressions, DOOH networks must offer other engagement metrics such as measured foot traffic, interactive ad engagement (i.e. click tracking), or offline or cross-device conversion. While providing these types of performance metrics is not new to DOOH, to avoid losing revenue to other digital channels, we need to not only consistently show performance, but provide that data in shorter time-frames and in automated means that can be consumed by third-party measurement platforms. These types of integrations not only make performance data more actionable for campaign and creative optimization, but also allow more apples-to-apples comparisons across media channels and support multi-touch attribution models such as Marketing Mix Modeling. As well, the same data that we incorporate into targeting can also be used to provide valuable audience insights to digital buyers.
To avoid losing ad revenue to digital, DOOH needs to embrace the ways we are similar to other digital channels and behave more like the media they are already buying, rather than only highlighting what makes us different. Don’t get me wrong…all the things that make us different are great. And we mustn’t lose sight of that. There will always be a place for impactful, premium DOOH experiences. But as many digital buyers look to consolidate media plans and unify measurement, DOOH needs to transact the way they are buying and offer the same types of targeting and performance measurement to be included where media dollars are shifting and ensure we continue our growth.