Is Danoo The Next Generation of DOOH Network?

Manolo Almagro, Weekly Columnist

If you haven’t already heard of Danoo, – trust me, you will! Danoo is one of the leading DOOH networks in North America, its name is derived from the Chinese word for “bow” as in “bow and arrow” – which is a perfect metaphor to describe the way this network targets its viewers.

This 3 year old DOOH network is backed by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Buyers – of course this firm has a history of backing some other notable companies like Google, Amazon and Macromedia.

At first glance, most people would read this post and think “what’s the big deal, – there are a whole bunch of older and more established DOOH networks that I can choose from?”

Well, the best way to understand the difference is this way…

If DOOH networks were based on military strategies, Danoo would be a laser-guided surgical strike compared to a PRN, which is more like a carpet bombing attack.

Danoo executes its pinpoint-hyper-micro targeting by providing multiple tiers of site localization;

  • there is a regional ‘city-editor’ that is responsible for ensuring that the regional messages are contextually correct for each particular neighborhood
  • the IP address of each player helps identify the neighborhood zone
  • and finally there’s a store manager facing web User Interface (UI) that provides the store with a way to create a customized micro-content loop of in-store related messages

I validated this concept by making my own journey into various NYC neighborhoods…

There’s a Danoo screen in the local bakery situated in the basement of our building (which all the locals rave about). The store’s content loop, played information relative to NYC news & events, the in-store message was a personalized welcome message and food promotion for the Bakery.

On my way home, I dropped by a highly recommended pizza place that I found on Yelp, – it too had a Danoo screen – this time the message was relevant- just to my neighborhood, advertising the upcoming concert in the music venue across the street, with the in-store messaging promoting a 2 for 1 pizza slice deal! now, if only the sign could tell you what kind of pizza you were hungry for, Ed

In my interview with Aileen Lee, Danoo’s CEO, she explained that Danoo takes a unique approach to locating the prime urban locations and viewers for its signs – “Our typical viewer is from the ‘Coffeehouse Crowd'” she told me.

Read: urban, disposable income, spends at least $3 bucks on a cup of coffee.

Aileen told me “We use the social network Yelp and find the highest user rated locations for each type of venue and put a sign in it.”

Interestingly enough, the recent results from an Arbitron study on audience engagement, by **Danoo support that this strategy of location scouting has its merits.

In addition to leveraging social networking sites to find the best locales to install their screens, Danoo took the ‘Build’ route in the ‘Build vs. Buy’ decision when determining what platform to use for its networks.

CTO and Founder of Danoo David Liu, told me he felt that “using internet scaled technologies such as web-services and Flash as part of its distribution application would be a more cost effective and flexible approach” to building the Danoo network than buying into the current crop of third-party digital signage solutions and appliances.

I had the opportunity to speak also with Doug Scott, Danoo’s VP of Marketing who provided insight into the company’s plans for 2009 – basically focusing on deepening its penetration in the already established markets of San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York & Boston vs. expanding outside into new cities.

As per some of the predictions I posted in April 2008, I believe Danoo provides a great example of what happens when a DOOH company embraces scalable web technologies (rather than rely on older digital signage platforms) and cleverly (not just proving a way to SMS a shout-out to the screen) integrates with on-line experiences – in this case mining a social network like Yelp to help pinpoint places where they are ensured a high level of viewership.

*Note: Danoo is 100% compliant with OVAB audience metrics guidelines.

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