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Sep212011

Place-based Digital Signage Advertising Has Arrived

Results of a new survey from GfK MRI reveals six in 10 U.S. adults have seen place-based digital video advertising within the past 30 days.

How important is out-of-home advertising (OOH) becoming in the United States? Results of a new study from GfK MRI finds quite important actually.

Nearly 61 percent of U.S. adults report having seen a place-based digital ad on a video screen in a public place in the past 30 days, the research found. Of those, 64 percent expressed interest in this type of communications.

Pause for a moment to consider these findings. How often did you see a digital sign in public 10 years ago? How about five years ago? Not only do these findings reveal that some 138.5 million U.S. adults have seen a video ad on a digital sign within the past month, but they also demonstrate that out-of-home video displays and ad networks have slowly and quietly crept into a place of prominence in our culture that likely will soon evolve into ubiquity. How in the world did we get here?

It would be easy to enumerate a list of reasons. I've done so in the past in this space. Reasons like reaching consumers at the point of sale with targeted video messaging, the availability of new place-based media audience metrics and evolving attitudes of professional media buyers come to mind.

But there is a much more fundamental reason that digital signage and place-based advertising has grown to the point that six in 10 Americans report seeing a video ad on these screens within the past 30 days. That reason is place-based advertising and digital signs work -without a question- and that fact is being realized by everyone from merchants to vendors, ad agency executives to mall owners.

Don't overlook the significance of this recognition of the effectiveness of the powerful duo of digital signs and video advertising. Years of effort on multiple fronts ranging from actually deploying digital signage networks, to measuring audiences to educating those in control of ad budgets about this emerging medium, is coming to fruition. Findings like those of GfK MRI indicate that this form of advertising is on the downhill side of the transition from avant-garde to tried-and-true. With this acceptance comes success. "Place-based digital is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the advertising industry," a press release announcing the survey findings quotes Scott Turner, SVP of Agency and Advertiser Sales at GfK MRI, as saying.

The survey also examined where respondents reported seeing place-based video advertising. The No. 1 location was grocery stores with nearly 32 percent saying they had seen a video ad in the previous 30 days. Quick service/casual dining restaurants, warehouse/club stores, shopping malls, pharmacies and coffee shops/cafes or delicatessens, followed in that order, as the most likely place consumers viewed place-based video ads.

As time goes on, I would not be surprised to see the list of locations where consumers recall seeing place-based video ads grow significantly. Already digital signage networks at gas pumps are a reality and convenience store signage is popping up around the country. Other place-based locations are sure to follow. Even as the number of locations grows, new ways to exploit the power of digital signage advertising will be developed, such as smartphone-driven interactivity, which will elevate this medium further.

Digital signage and place-based video advertising has come a long way to achieve this level of prominence. The future is bright, and there surely is more success to follow.

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