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Published on June 24th, 2020 | by Sean McCaffrey

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For Brands Seeking True Attention, Perceptions of DOOH and Place-Based Must Change

Sean McCaffrey

Sean McCaffrey President and CEO, GSTV


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We’re in the thick of IAB’s NewFronts week, when brands tune in to presentations from Snap, TikTok, YouTube, Roku, GSTV, and others. Presenting alongside notable digital and video platforms, OTT and CTV newcomers, and others across the media and entertainment landscape, how does a platform like ours — rooted in legacy “placed-based” association, yet boasting video partner-like capabilities — fit in?

Historically, it wouldn’t. Part of our reason for being here is to continue shifting the narrative around what that means, because for us and others, it has evolved dramatically and demands a closer look. There is significant opportunity for brands seeking real attention and engagement and the ability to reach consumers at scale to deliver meaningful business outcomes.

Media buyers are tearing up playbooks and focusing on proving to clients that their investment drove sales lift and ROI, creating massive opportunity for DOOH publishers to change perceptions and refocus marketers’ thinking on what true scale, attention and impact can mean. Why? Because efficiency and impact are more important than ever to earn a place in media strategies.

We need to move beyond screens and towards obsessing over audiences, behaviors and impact — and how DOOH has a valuable place in media plans to deliver on those outcomes.

The OOH industry classically prioritizes the physical nature of billboards and screens — geographic location; proximity to destinations; display and resolution; one-to-many audience ratios — context and cost. Location is important, however, marketers miss a bigger POV by not investing in DOOH. The DOOH industry has rapidly evolved from static environments into dynamic, engaging, attributable video platforms with similar, and sometimes larger, audience scale and measurable returns than other household name video publishers.

Consider how DOOH platforms fit consumers’ state of mind, the place in their journeys before and after as behavior shifts, and how we connect, amplify and impact the entire comms planning strategy and media mix.

Video buyers are aware that DOOH platforms have become dynamic and share traits of traditional video platforms they love, but perceptions are hard to change. In a recent OAAA Lunch Break, Essence Global Chief Media Officer Adam Gerber shared that while both watching a show on the couch or scrolling through the phone and seeing a billboard are valuable from the POV of agencies and marketers, those experiences aren’t equally weighed.

What differentiates them is the notion of attention. While TV and walled gardens may be the de facto buy for premium experiences and captive environments, what marketers forget is consumers are screen surfing and likely to see both while not paying attention to either.

We hear this regularly from buyers new to GSTV who are surprised to learn that we are more than our 24,000 locations, and more than just video: Our platform engages a captive audience surrounded by important purchase decisions, during a moment when consumer attention and engagement is at the forefront. 

The renewed interest in DOOH, and its rapidly evolving definition, has opened the window for companies like ours and others to make these points clear. We should embrace disruption and seize opportunities to accelerate the pace of change. “Place-based” is an oversimplified idea that fails to capture the depth and evolution of DOOH, and reconsidering the DOOH opportunity for consumer attention, engagement and action are in the best interest of every ROI-focused brand.



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