The Digital Signage Insider

DOOH Ads Sell for Average CPM of $12: Survey

For all of the blogs, news sites and industry portals that service the digital signage space, there is scant little information about the one thing that's most important to the majority of buyers and sellers: pricing. In the past, we've tried to correct this imbalance to some small extent by doing an annual analysis of digital signage pricing. However, this only covered the cost of components and services for operating a digital signage network. It didn't look at how the screens actually get monetized. So, two weeks ago we asked the DOOH and broader advertising communities to tell us about their media buying and selling experiences. With 175+ results in hand (and a hat tip to DailyDOOH for helping get the word out about the survey), we'll now be spending the next few weeks analyzing our results and publishing the findings here. We hope that in some small way, this information will assist DOOH media buyers in making informed purchase decisions, while helping media sellers price their screen inventory in a competitive fashion.

The 5 things you want to know

  • The overwhelming majority of respondents (72.3%) indicate that they buy or sell DOOH media using overall audience size/reach as a major determining factor. Nearly half (48.4%) also indicate that specific viewer demographic characteristics come into play when making a buy/sell decision.

  • Despite the above, when asked how they tend to buy/sell DOOH ads, only 28.6% indicated that they do so based on reach (using a metric like CPM Viewers). 24% indicated they buy/sell on a spot-by-spot basis, and 22.1% indicated they buy/sell on a screen-by-screen (or venue-by-venue) basis.

  • However, when asked how they would prefer to buy/sell DOOH inventory, fully 37% indicated that they would rather buy based on reach if possible.

  • The average (mean) sale price for DOOH media is about $12 on a CPM Viewers basis, with most respondents indicating a price in the $1-$10/CPM range. Categorically, this broke down to about 6% of respondents indicating they buy/sell for less than $1/CPM, 22.5% buying/selling for $1-5/CPM and 24.6% buying/selling for $6-$10/CPM. Of the rest, 26% indicated a price above $10/CPM, with a few even venturing above $50. 21% indicated they were not comfortable answering the question.

  • Almost all the inventory bought and sold is composed of ads that are 30 seconds long or less. 15- and 30-second spots were the most popular, but plenty of inventory is sold in "odd" increments of just a few seconds to slightly less than 30.
Who's responsible for all of these transactions?

Even with the advent of aggregation networks and DOOH media sales specialists, the bulk of the heavy lifting is still done by the network owners/operators themselves. More people have purchased inventory directly from networks (44.4%) than have used the next three most popular approaches combined (for the record, those were "companies specializing in DOOH ad sales" (22.2%), "professional media buying/planning organizations" (14.8%), and "DOOH consultants or intermediaries" (11.1%)). For all the hype about the way things "should" be done in the DOOH buying/selling world, only 7.4% of buyers have used aggregation services in the past. On the bright side though, that means guys like SeeSaw, rVue and others still have plenty of room left to grow.

What's next to analyze?

In the next couple of weeks, we're going to break down these results and more (including cost-per-screen and cost-per-action pricing) based on the respondents' experiences, to see if buyer and seller expectations really match up. We'll also see how some of these numbers stack up against professional analysis from the big industry research companies. And we'll have to discuss some of the shortcomings of this survey, and how they might be corrected in the future.

Finally, once I figure out how to reformat the ridiculous Excel spreadsheet that our surveying tool generates, we'll of course be sending out the raw data to all those who chose to provide us with their email address in their survey response.

Stay tuned for more digital signage number crunching. And next week -- time permitting -- there will even be some pretty graphs and charts!

At first glance, are you surprised by any of the results above, or are they in line with your expectations? Leave a comment and let us know! (If you're viewing this in your email or RSS reader, click through to /blog to comment.)


0 bill 2012-02-23 01:05
What does CPM..mean
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0 Bill Gerba 2012-02-23 02:16
CPM = Cost Per "M" (the Roman numeral for 1,000). So it's the cost per 1,000 ... something. In the context of advertising we usually say something like "CPM Viewers," or the cost per 1,000 viewers.
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0 Sunny Hundle 2014-03-18 22:10
Do you have any updated stats on this topic?
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