A few weeks ago I participated in a panel discussion at the IAB Canada MIXX event held in Toronto. The theme for the conference was emerging platforms and the opportunity we have to create truly innovative marketing in Canada. It was a call to action and speakers illustrated three key points:
- How Canadian media usage patterns have dramatically changed
- Why advertising within VideoGame, Mobile and Digital Out-Of-Home channels are poised to reach critical mass, and
- Where Social Media is being harnessed to drive sales.
Prior to the conference I got a chance to discuss these topics with Eyal Zilnik from One Stop Media. He delivered the presentation for the panel I was on, Do It Digital: How The Latest Advances In Digital Out-Of-Home Bring Internet, Mobile and Social Media To Life. Eyal did an excellent job of illustrating how DOOH has changed. And it was exciting to throw ideas around with someone else who gets as excited about Digital Out-Of-Home as I do. We came to several conclusions, namely:
- Marketers still regard DOOH as an animated billboard or a placement to run video loops (often running adapted TV spots without audio)
- Few people understand that DOOH boards are more like desktop computer screens than they are Out-Of-Home billboards – they are integrated into a network with a unique IP and facilitate the full range of dynamic targeting we now take for granted in traditional online advertising, and
- Few Canadian marketers have experimented with DOOH despite the low cost of participation, and fewer still have embraced the opportunity to link DOOH with mobile and social media.
These points were reinforced by the comments and questions we heard during our session. Several attendees came up to me after the conference and said they had no idea that the things we discussed were even possible. Maybe it’s because I’m interested in this topic but that came as a surprise.
To me, DOOH is much more than just another media tactic. DOOH will play a key role in the future of marketing. With the rise in smartphone usage and the recent introduction of the iPad (and the announcement of Apples’ iAd platform) consumers are moving away from the desktop. One only need look at consumer adoption of Facebook and the platform changes announced at F8 to understand that for many, social media is the backbone of current communication habits. Could a retail marketer integrate their social presence with DOOH (or their in-store signage network) and enable consumers to engage over mobile? Most definitely. The technology and systems are already in place.
My hope is that marketers will seize the opportunity to innovate and begin to create communication that does more than shout messages, but instead engage with consumers in new and profound ways.
Dave Stubbs is a member of the Emerging Platforms Council, IAB Canada