Taking Advertising In-House? Think Long And Hard First!

Guest Post: Brett Farley, NanoLumens

Part 1: Think About It First …

We’ve seen a trend where I work with large real estate ownership and management groups are either initiating their own advertising sales teams and networks, or having outsourced that function unsuccessfully, reclaiming ownership of that function and taking it back “in house.”

Brett Farley

These companies include property owners and management companies controlling retail shopping centers, corporate office portfolios, convention centers and other publicly accessible real estate.

Also, we’ve seen companies currently under contract for other services (IT, Telecom, Data) for those properties try to add OOH advertising to their services.

The impetus to sell advertising is typically obvious; adding an additional revenue stream to augment the monetization of the facility. In this two-part series, I will break down how to go down this road. If you decide to run your own OOH advertising enterprise on your own property there are a few things that need to be thought through before you begin.

The Network

Delivering OOH advertising to your property or properties will at a minimum require that you create a dedicated network of visual displays which will act as the destination for the advertising you intend to sell. Let’s call this collection of displays “The Network.” These media surfaces typically fall into one of two categories – static or digital. Deployment of these displays should be done to optimize the goals of your advertisers, not where you believe they are the most aesthetically pleasing to your architecture.

Additional questions you’ll want to ask yourself about the display network you’re going to deploy:

  • Where on the property makes sense to deliver displays/signage against our advertising sales goals?
  • How many advertising surfaces do I need to maximize exposure, how many is too many? Not enough?
  • What size and shape should these displays be? Should there be standard aspect ratios/formats? Should there be dominant displays mixed in with smaller displays or should my network contain homogenous sizes?
  • Will the network be all static? All digital? Some mix of the two and what makes the most sense given the advertisers I’m trying to attract? What are the pros and cons of each?

Now that you’ve built your network…you’re going to want to monitor it and perform the necessary maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Why do you care? Because your advertisers are going to ask you about it. Believe it or not, when they buy a month long surface share of their new ad pushing fall fashions in 10 of your shopping centers – they’re actually going to want to know those ads played on the screens they bought, when they want them playing. You’re going to want to put some thought to having technologies that provide:

  • For Digital Advertising – Proof of Play – Uptime – and if the content played did it get to the display? Proof of Display
  • Minimizing Downtime / Maintenance
  • Data Capture and Presentation for future media sales

Many of you may realize that you do not have the OOH media sales expertise to run an entire line of business separate from your core by yourself and employ the services of a 3rd party operator to handle anything from media representation and ad sales to media deployment and everything in between (and believe me, there’s a lot in between). There is a whole other set of questions you’ll need to think about if you go down this road. Some of the most important would be:

  • Media network ownership – split investment? And if we split…
  • Revenue sharing – who gets what % of the advertising sales revenue?

And one that a lot of companies don’t really consider:

  • Operating lease of media surfaces and support network vs. capital purchase

I want to spend a little time talking about this. Think about it – did you buy your mobile phone? Or do you just use all that it delivers through your service provider who gives you a new phone every two years?

The same principal applies to your media network. There are alternative procurement apparatuses in place through various technology leasing entities and banks that allow you to pay a monthly fee for use of media hardware while reaping the benefit that this equipment delivers to your OOH advertising efforts. Is your core competency keeping a media network up and running? Maybe you don’t want that headache and would rather just pay to use that hardware to accomplish your OOH goals and let someone else guarantee the hardware is up and working properly.

Content: The Ads on the Network

What do displays do by the way? Oh yeah … they display something. In this scenario it is advertising. Visual branding, informational text, calls-to-action, etc. We’re talking about your advertising “content” in other words. Everything from static posters to vinyl and fabric imagery to digital content, static and full motion.

  • Are you going to create that for your advertisers?
  • Are you going to require that the advertisers do that for themselves?
  • How are you going to manage this content?
  • What content management system will best maintain the types of campaigns your advertisers wish to run on your property(s)?
  • Will the content be of a broadcast nature – pandering to the masses in a one-to-many fashion? Or will the content be created to be interactive, enticing the target audience to interact with the display using themselves, or their mobile device?

Haven’t had enough just yet? Tomorrow: The Considerations of That In-House Network