Parallel Worlds: What Privacy Concerns?

Manolo Almagro, Weekly Columnist

Internet Privacy Concerns Prompt Advertisers to Increase DOOH Ad Spend‘ wrote Jason M. Kates over on the usually quite good Digital Signage Expo site a week or so ago.

This post should raise a few eyebrows. The Chairman, CEO and founder of rVue reports a surprising trend; it seems (he writes) that advertisers are turning to DOOH as an ‘alternative’ to online + social media.

Why the shift?  He explains that it’s due to rising consumer concerns for the ‘privacy issues‘ inherent in on-line and social media. Ummm.

Perhaps this is another sign of the coming apocalypse foretold for 2012, or could this be the disruptive epiphany that our industry had hoped brands would inevitably experience?

Are there really agencies and brands making strategic decisions that migrate digital campaigns away from online heavy weights such as Facebook, Foursquare and Google AND reassign them to go for the “safer, less controversial” channels of DOOH?

Well the short answer is Nope … nada, no way. In fact despite ALL the privacy concerns, online ad budgets grew a significant amount in 2010.

At the end of last year, digital ad spend increased 13.9% (USD 25.8 Billion) surpassing Newspaper print ads (USD 22.8 Billion)

For 2011, credible media agencies like ZenithOptimedia predict continued growth in global digital (online and social) advertising spend – please note that there are definitely no trend shifts that indicate DOOH cannibalizing social or online budgets, Ed

The big issue that continues to be near and dear to my heart is when will people in our industry ‘see the forest for the trees?

I’ve said it before, There’s not a snowflakes chance in hell that DOOH will ever be an alternative to on-line, mobile or social media – remember, it’s not about either/or but rather that DOOH should be part of a fully integrated campaign.

Sadly, The rVue article highlights all the reasons digital OOH continues to struggle in the overall media ecosystem. Now is not the time to think of digital out of home in a silo, it needs to work as a part of the entire customer experience.

Please don’t try to “force fit” DOOH as an “alternative” to social and online for the sake of self-promoting a media planning tool. In fact, a true media planning tool should include all customer touch points, not just digital signage networks.

5 Responses to “Parallel Worlds: What Privacy Concerns?”

  1. Ken Goldberg Says:


    I get it. You don’t view DOOH as an alternative (i.e. either-or) to mobile and social. And you use statistics to deny that there is any kind of shift.

    Perhaps Jason’s use of the word “alternative” is what rankled you. Maybe he should have said “additional channel to consider”. But if we agree that DOOH ad spend is increasing (perhaps at a rate faster than other digital channels due to a smaller base), and that ad spending is essentially a zero sum game, then there can be no argument that some kind of shift is occurring. Those dollars had to come from somewhere. I doubt that every one of those dollars came from non-digital budgets. Your assertion that because Zenith says online and social will continue to grow ignores the distinct possibility that those channels would grow MORE in the absence of DOOH.

    You seem pretty focused on belittling Jason’s point of view based on semantics and weak statistical support instead of arguing the central theme. You presented no arguments against the assertion that privacy concerns were driving increased dollars to DOOH, which by the way was the TITLE of the article in question.

    No one, including Jason, would argue with your point that DOOH is not a silo, and I didn’t interpret his article as saying that it is. Jason Kates certainly doesn’t need my help to defend himself or his ideas, but he is a good person and a good friend, and your piece just seemed oddly personal to me, so I had to respond.

  2. manolo almagro Says:

    Hi Ken – no offense meant to Jason. Don’t know him, never met him. And if you say he’s a nice guy. I’ll take your word for it because I value your opinion.

    and yes, the word Alternative is exactly what caught my eye. Deliberate or not – it still sends the wrong message.

    Jason is entitled to his ideas and when he posts them on a public forum – he should expect people to question his views. That’s what blogging is all about. Sorry you felt it was a “personal” attack. Like I said – I don’t even know the dude, so why the hell would I try to attack him on a personal level. Sure, I can be sarcastic at times, but that’s my personality, ask anyone that knows me. (really knows me)

    If you are out there Jason, and reading this, I’m no hater, I’m sure you a good guy- I’m just a sarcastic blogger with an opinion that is contrary to yours. I’m not apologizing for my viewpoint – but I don’t want Ken be cranky with me – so if it seems I am attacking you personally, I’m not.

    And Ken, thanks for pointing out I didn’t provide stats for my rebuttal, (please note Jason’s post has no stats either) but – you are right – I didn’t do a good job making my case.

    so, here’s my supporting argument. I personally work with several large brands helping them with integrated digital strategies that – yes, include DOOH. I also work for media agencies (I have for over 15 years) So I know where they tell brands to spend their money. And – I can, tell you that despite privacy concerns AND even lackluster performance on CTRs marketers continue to pour money into social. Why? because they are learning from each campaign, how to make the next one better.

    here’s a bundled bitly link for everyone to read, – a few articles that talk about how despite privacy concerns brands and marketers continue to pour money into digital (social+online)

  3. Chuck Says:

    I don’t feel like Manolo is personally attacking Jason. What Manolo is saying is true backed by facts and figures. It’s certainly true of what I’m seeing in the retail world.

    I went back and read Jason’s article – certainly nothing new in it but good tender to keep the fire going for DOOH growth. That new money is not shifting from digital though. It’s coming from print, radio, and promotion channels as well as some TV due to the fact that the major upfronts were wildly successful and they have to go somewhere to spend the money. But digital is growing quickly, mobile is growing faster, and their growing more quickly than most DOOH if you back out cinema and digital billboards which I see as different and skewing the numbers in an unrealistic way.

    Privacy concerns are a straw man argument if I ever saw one. Digital and mobile (because the evolving digital web will make them really the same prop from an advertising standpoint) will win this battle on performance metrics if the DOOH community wants to make one. They’d be smarter to continue to flog the traditional budgets because they’re bigger and have more chinks in the armor.

  4. Ken Goldberg Says:

    Good discussion, and I’m glad we’re having it.

    I don’t think anyone would say that social/mobile is not grabbing mindshare and $ from traditional media. And I agree that DOOH is not a silo or a strict alternative to social/mobile. But I have a hard time believing that buyers who diversify their digital spend beyond social/mobile into DOOH are spending incremental dollars taken only from traditional sources. In the absence of DOOH, I would guess that they would simply spend even more on social/mobile. DOOH offers them diversification, which is the basis of good portfolio management. (There, I finally used my Finance degree 30 years later!) That goal is probably a bigger driver than privacy issues.

    Manolo, sorry if I read ill intent where there was none, because I know that isn’t your style. Like you, I get passionate, sarcastic and emotional. But we all (and that includes Jason) on the same side in the end.

  5. Privacy Issues Shifting Digital OOH Ad Spending: The Rise of True Cross-Platform Integration » ANYWHERE WITH A PIXEL Says:

    […] Interesting discussing emerging on DailyDOOH in response to CEO and founder of rVue reporting a surprising trend that advertisers are turning to DOOH as an ‘alternative’ to online + social media. “Why the shift?  He explains that it’s due to rising consumer concerns for the ‘privacy issues‘ inherent in on-line and social media.” Manolo Almagro didn’t agree but I wanted to focus on the last paragraph of the post, which I found interesting and extremely relevant to what we’re trying to achieve over here at D.A.T. […]

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