Much has been made of the upending of media as we used to know it. Two views have personally piqued my interest: the multi-screen scenario that is often discussed vis-à-vis the interplay between TV, PCs, tablets and mobile phones; and the Paid-Owned-Earned (POE) perspective often spoken of, in relation to digital media.
While the media industry and its thought leaders have been spot on in discussing the disruption brought about by the digital nature of today’s media, not much has been really said about my space, our space – that grand-daddy of all media: signs.
OK. Let’s use the sexier term: Digital Out-Of-Home.
The Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH) media segment is familiar to most via its poster child (pun intended), Digital Signage (DS). Digital signages generally refer to those ubiquitous screens that you see indoors (place-basedsignages, found in walkways/corridors/lobbies, elevators, restaurants, malls, fuel stations, train terminals, airports,etc.) and outdoors (large-format LED screens along roadsides).
I propose to adapt these two views (Paid-Owned-Earned and Multi-Screen) to DOOH. My idea is, that if we took on these very much talked-about views and applied them to DOOH, we may promote a better understanding of its application
- The Multi-Screen Scenario. In August 2012, Google came out with its New Multi-Screen World Study, which showed how smartphone, tablet, PC and TV screens come together in our daily lives. Interesting. But limited. Because it made no mention of the screens that you see on roadsides, on train stations, on lobbies, on elevators, etc.These screens do play significant roles in our lives now. Proof: in the last couple of weeks, the 2013 Interactive Europe Study revealed that “77% of people reported doing something as a result of seeing an Out-Of-Home ad”, which includes “liking” on Facebook, downloading an app or actually making a purchase online.
While TV certainly remains an influential medium, it cannot be argued that DOOH is already a significant player today. And whether Google notices it or not, the number of DOOH screens that are immersed in people’s lives, whether as commuters or as consumers, are increasing –well, thanks, in part, to Google itself (to Android, that is).
- The Paid-Owned-Earned Perspective. The POE perspective tells us that media right now is a summary of a brand’s own assets (websites, Twitter feeds,etc), its paid advertisements, and the reaction of people via their own owned media, to the brand’s messages.This perspective, which has become increasingly popular in the last four years or so, applies largely to interactive and social media, and lends itself quite naturally to DOOH.
Thinking Two-Screen and POE with DOOH
The reality of our everyday lives is that we spend a number of hours on the road, in the office and in retail environments – media consumption contexts where TV is not around, but where DOOH screens certainly are.
In this reality, I propose a two-screen scenario: with Screen #1 being the DOOH Screen paid or owned by a Communicator; and Screen #2, the Mobile (Smart)Phone and/or Tablet Screen controlled by the Audience.
The true potential of DOOH lies in the interaction between these TWO Screens.
If the message on the DOOH Screen is truly compelling and conveniently actionable using a mobile phone, the Communicator potentially earns an interaction on Mobile Screen #2 – an SMS, a scan, a check-in, a ‘like’, a download, or even an actual purchase. I view this as the Holy Grail of mass media advertising: an ad or a message that leads to an actual transaction or, the very least, an exchange of values between a brand and a real person.
In many respects therefore, DOOH represents the most immediate and most relevant, paid or owned opportunities to introduce an idea or impulse to an audience. Advertisers already get that part when they think OOH.
Where we need to take them now though is that sandbox-to-be-shared that we call Mobile Marketing – because DOOH belongs there!
And because, yes, Google did get it right: we do live in a multi-screen world where audiences on smartphones and tablets interact with paid and owned screens – i.e., our DOOH screens.