In a little over five years, digital out of home (DOOH) has exploded from being a small part of outdoor advertising to become quite possibly the most important part of its future.
Media owners are investing vast sums in dramatically increasing their digital estates across the out of home environment and the opportunity being generated for innovation and creativity is vast.
Media agencies, creative agencies and brands are starting to clearly see the opportunity for everything from data-driven dynamic campaigns to right-time marketing and extraordinary campaigns integrating digital billboards and experiential.
It's almost as if a perfect storm has been created to finally empower brands to communicate and broadcast campaigns outdoor with the same level of relevance that has become so commonplace online.
Yet with all of the signs, momentum and opportunity being created we are still absolutely scraping the surface of what can and will be achieved by DOOH in driving the outdoor advertising industry forward in the battle against TV.
Going from £66m in spend in 2008 to £214m in 2013 isn’t bad but real challenges still remain if DOOH is to become ubiquitous across the industry and be the principle part of the outdoor plan for every brief – not just the ones who want to do something that little bit special.
The key challenges are starting to be overcome and the market is evolving incredibly quickly. Where the cost of producing dynamic digital campaigns used to be prohibitive, competition and volume of demand means that agencies are rethinking how they can charge and lower prices means more campaigns. We have gone beyond the tipping point from DOOH being niche and have entered the stage where it is about to become mainstream.
Running brilliant creativity across screen networks isn't rocket science but traditionally cross-platform campaigns have always created challenges both in terms of cost, time and efficiency. Media owners are now becoming wise to the importance of delivering efficient and affordable solution to DOOH and as a result are proactively investing heavily in systems and the facilitation of these campaigns with minimal hassle to the agency and client.
Efficiency will be the the thing that fuels dramatic growth and the outdoor media owners know that DOOH is their future and a key competitive battleground.
Lastly, the innovation and creativity delivered by the 3 main production pioneers of DOOH, Grand Visual, Live Poster and ENIGMA are inspiring new startups to enter the production market and agency and brand marketeers who are starting to see the potential and creative opportunity that exists in differentiated messages that can now be broadcast across thousands of screens.
Google showed everyone the way online with programmatic and following the model in outdoor is impossible to ignore. Ultimately, everything is now in place for the DOOH industry to become the most important driver of outdoor spend globally and finally get to the stage where it’s not a niche opportunity for the few but an absolute must for the masses.
We are at the point where outdoor can finally start to deliver the relevancy, context and right time message to the right audience just as you can online. Maybe that’s why the most logical move for an ad giant like Google would be to buy a market leader like JC Decaux or Clear Channel and revolutionise programmatic media buying outdoor. It's not going to happen yet but watch this space: programmatic outdoor is the future of DOOH.
Andrew Newman is CEO and co-founder of Enigma