Each year, the world of digital advertising transforms. The truth is that it’s transforming all the time, but taking stock each year is a convenient way to mark milestones and speculate on where the digital signage industry is headed.
Ten years ago, the idea of digital outdoor signage was novel. These boxes of LEDs were more agile than their bulb predecessors, but no one was sure how integrated they would become in the advertising fabric of the future. What we know now is that digital outdoor signage and the advertising value it presents are here to stay. Looking forward, this integration is what gives us our first trend.
Everyone is doing it
As with most technology, the more advanced it becomes, the further it moves along the traditional price curve. With digital signage, lower prices mean that everyone can take advantage of digital’s responsiveness and superior return on investment.
For a small business, having its own digital advertising tool can be a very affordable option when measured against its current marketing budget. It also allows more control over production time and reaction to market pressures, like changing weather or overstocked merchandise.
For businesses of every size, digital billboard advertising will become even more affordable and accessible. With third party aggregators, literally anyone can purchase increments on digital billboards and access outstanding exposures. Many outdoor advertising companies offer an online buying experience, so their advertisers can select from open spots on digital billboards wherever their network is located. This gives advertisers extra options to expand their markets and brand reach.
Tech giants can help propel DOOH
According to industry association OAAA, the top 10 advertisers in the third quarter of 2017 were McDonalds, Apple, Geico, American Express, CBS, Coca-Cola, Amazon, NBC, State Farm, and M&Ms. Two significant standouts on that list are tech companies Apple and Amazon.
Digital advertising is a natural fit for advertisers whose bottom line depends on technology. The capabilities of digital billboards are tailor-made for tech companies that want to showcase their latest features and updated models. As tech continues to grow, so too will digital OOH, because it can provide benefits to advertisers that static displays simply cannot.
Additionally, OAAA reports that of the top 100 OOH advertisers in the third quarter, 37 of them doubled spending from Q3 2016, including technology firms Google and Amazon. Even companies that aren’t tech at heart are looking for ways to integrate technology into their brand to enhance the experience for savvy consumers.
Personalized consumer experiences will increase
When digital signage and online apps come together, the increased customization of the consumer experience will be pivotal for marketers. With a vast array of online shopping data available, user preferences can be stored and integrated into the buying experience. Right now, this takes place primarily online, but brick and mortar stores are working toward recreating that same level of personalization.
For customers who opt in to retailer apps, digital signage can advertise specials that are relevant to their buying patterns as they near a store’s location. Patterns of buying and specialty items can be displayed across networks from an outdoor digital sign to indoor displays during a store visit. Smart appliances and online grocery list apps can provide timely reminders in the store to help customers take advantage of special promotions and save money.
The millennial factor
Millennials will make up 33 percent of the workforce by 2020, and 75 percent by 2025, according to Forbes magazine. Couple those statistics with the desire by this demographic to rely on digital “word-of-mouth” (or social media sharing) and it’s easy to see how the advertising landscape will be changing. From a 2012 AIMIA, Inc. survey, “Millennials’ affinity for technology is reshaping retail spaces. With product information, reviews and price comparisons at their fingertips, millennials are turning to brands that can offer maximum convenience at the lowest cost.”
Watchfire provides proprietary software that helps customers grow their businesses and increase their revenue by using their digital signs for dayparting, mobile scheduling, and unique ways to create messages. The inevitable marriage of technology and the economy will continue to grow, with digital advertising and signage uniquely poised to fully participate.