Digital Out Of Home Is All About Location, Location, Location

February 2, 2014 by guest author, Colin Bovet


Guest Post: Jeremy Ozen, Vistar Media

Whether you’re house-hunting or just watching people do that on HGTV, you’ve doubtlessly heard the magic triplicate phrase: Location. Location. Location.

But “location” is no longer just the provenance of the real estate industry. Location, increasingly, is the domain of the marketer.

For those of us who have embraced this idea, and made location marketing our business, I offer you this: each of those three locations mean something very different.

Submitted below, for your consideration, I offer you the definition of “Location. Location. Location.” within the digital signage and digital out of home space.

Location Is Context

This is the obvious one. Traditional signage — static billboards, bus ads, and the like — worked because their physical locations made them visible to a specifically targeted audience. Similarly, for our digital world, where your screens are matters, a lot.

The advantage we have over our traditional media predecessors is that digital screens can be more ubiquitous. We no longer have to worry about which freeway overpass will have the best view of our ads, because we can now display these ads in taxicabs, elevators, and hotel lobbies. The location being picked to put these screens is driven by the physical context of the consumer.

Location Is Data

While location was originally limited to the context of the ad, increasingly location equates to data. With the mass adoption of smart phones and the ensuing proliferation of apps, some of which use location services, there is now a huge amount of data on consumers tied to location.

Users’ locations may be determined from many factors: app registration data, IP addresses, cell tower triangulation, WiFi network triangulation, and GPS data. Some providers offer what is called “centroid” location data, using the geographic center of an area as the provided location.

While this sort of information is perhaps helpful for sweeping campaigns meant to target a wide swath of the given population (think political ads, PSAs, etc.), it’s utterly ineffective in the granular targeting that we need as location-based marketers.

Ideally, location data is updated in as close to real-time as possible, and is faithful to an area within 20 meters of where you want your ads. Make sure that your location partners can help you deliver what you promise to your customers: targeting on the right signs, for the right results.

Without data to back up location, “location, location, location” is an empty ideal, instead of an actionable philosophy.

Location Is Audience

With huge amounts of consumer location data, location can also be used for creating and targeting audiences. First, you can define users based on their historical location data by looking at the places they have gone and things they have done. It’s easy to extrapolate that a given mobile user is a mother, if you can pinpoint her cell phone at a school between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

However, this insight is only step one, as you also need to know where else this consumer goes in the physical world, in order to reach her with a targeted digital signage ad.

For example, say that you have a client who wishes to advertise a luxury watch, and wants to see good results on his ad spend. You could target your placements based purely on the context of where your screens are located—in business or shopping districts. But the assumption that all people in these areas would be interested in the watch, and that people in other areas would not, is fallible at best.

Your location data partner (provided you have a good one) would be able to tell you that yes, ads on signage in the business district would be good, but only before 6 p.m., at which point the area empties of high-earning business-people and is largely populated by service and support staff, for whom such a purchase is unimaginable.

Similarly, your location partner could tell you that a certain shopping district is populated almost exclusively by tourists on weekends, and they’re unlikely to make a purchase of that nature while on vacation—the real big spenders are home in the suburbs all weekend, and signs in those areas should in fact be advertising expensive watches

Integrate The Insights

As I mentioned above, such calculations and changes should happen nearly instantly. Having a strong programmatic platform in place that integrates your location partners’ insights into available inventory and ensures sold content displays on the correct screen at the correct time will ensure that your customers get a maximum ROI from your screens.

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