In the course of my daily travels on the web, I came across WPP's 2005 Interim Results, reporting the usual slew of information including earnings, business segment profitability, growth areas and the like. And while it's nice to see that the company is doing so well (net earnings up over 45% to $253M on $4.7B in revenue), what really caught my eye was a paragraph towards the bottom stating that, "clients are seeking new ways of reaching the consumer and finding new geographic growth opportunities. Satellite and cable television, outdoor and out-of-home advertising and radio in traditional media and more importantly direct, internet and interactive are taking a growing share of client spending...."
WPP has been fairly bullish on the concept of digital retailing (as I've mentioned before in "Ad Execs Excited by Digital Media Networks" and "Digital Media Networks Catching on Fast, According to UK Researchers"), so this shouldn't come as a surprise. However, it did get me thinking about what kind of medium an interactive kiosk or an in-store TV display really is. On the one hand, these devices fall under the umbrella of out-of-home media (at least according to Wikipedia's definition
of the term). Placed in public or semi-public places, kiosks and
digital signs are meant to appeal to users outside of their homes. On
the other hand, it's hard to argue that captive audience networks
in waiting rooms and interactive kiosks that deliver instant coupons or
affinity services aren't extensions of classic direct marketing
Regardless of whether we look at these technologies
as out-of-home advertising media or direct marketing tools, the primary
benefit that they bring is the ability to measure playback, interaction
and even audience viewership. I wrote about measurement techniques just
a few weeks ago (in "Measuring the impact of dynamic digital signs and interactive kiosks"). Aka.tv is also in the middle of publishing a series of articles on measuring digital signage
viewership. These articles feature a number of technical innovations
and best practices to make measurement-taking easier and more accurate,
and they include cool examples of real-world networks to boot.
with the latest tools in hand, it's hard to do an apples-to-apples
comparison between digital signs and kiosks and traditional out-of-home
media. Depending on the type of installation, many digital retailing
networks will deliver a CPM somewhere between traditional out-of-home
media like billboards and fliers at $2-$8 CPM, and more standard
advertising fare like TV commercials and newspaper ads, which average
$22-$28 CPM (all of these numbers come from the OAAA).
But WPP's claim that both of these areas are growing (and getting a
bigger share of ad dollars) means that the digital counterparts to
these traditional techniques will likely grow as well. Bringing the
individual targeting capabilities of direct marketing together with the
benefits of place-based media, it's easy to understand why the big guys
like WPP are starting to take notice of our industry.