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Google AdWords for Outdoor Advertising?

13 Jun 2017


De Wachter thinks it will happen soon

Frederik De Wachter is deeply embedded within the DOOH industry. Not only as an entrepreneur but as an innovation manager too. He was also involved in the creation of DOOHapps – the world’s first digital signage app store.

With a massive amount of experience in DOOH, we thought we would have a chat about how he thinks the industry is going to look in the future.

What do you think is the greatest opportunity for DOOH in the next 5 years?

In the future, there will be a lot more possibilities because of the Internet of Things (IoT), smart screens, and sensors. The context and knowledge about the people in front of these screens will be a lot wider. DOOH would be treated as a full digital marketing channel.

For example, cameras in shopping centres will see you coming, what you pay attention to, and the route you take. That information can then be translated into ‘likely behaviours’ and used to present more targeted content on digital screens.

Our physical world will behave more and more like the online world. The technology is already out there and continues to be rolled out, becoming available to everybody.

Marketers and advertisers will need to see the physical world as a digital one. This will be increasingly true as smart screen networks open more opportunities within smart cities.

With new technology, you’ll have plug-in apps for digital screens so you don’t have to build them yourself. A lot of digital processes could be carried over to OOH, such as demographic profiling and the impact of communication on the funnel. The physical world will become much more measurable.

And what about the greatest challenge?

Data. It’s important and intriguing, but we will get a lot of it. What will be important is translating that data into meaningful insights. As a marketer what do you need to know? It’s important to know your goal, to translate them into KPI’s, and to pull your data into dashboards that show the effect of your communications.

Are there any themes that you think will lead the next DOOH evolution?

The word ‘smart’ and the technology that will allow us to measure everything. For a while we have been trying to digitise OOH, but a large part of it is still traditional. Sensors becoming more common will have a huge impact.

Until now, display companies are not thinking about screens that will be enabled with sensors to make them smart. Companies should start building smart screens to begin the process of making OOH smart.

There will also be more standardisation between companies and brands. If a company like Google is interested in OOH as an advertising channel, then you could be able to book a screen through AdWords. And, as more smart screens are connected, the better this is going to be.

What are some barriers you see that prevent more companies from jumping on the DOOH wagon?

DOOH is still behaving as a traditional medium.

Let’s imagine if you’re a small company who understands digital, you can easily advertise on Google or Facebook. It’s easy and effective to target the audience you want. If the world of DOOH behaved in the same way with booking screens and targeting audiences being just as simple, more companies would be doing it.

But it’s not easy to do that right now. DOOH networks are islands, who is going to be able to connect them together?

At some point in the future it will be easy to connect these display networks and book them in a simple and effective way. And it will be easier to measure impact from say, booking a screen near your shop.

What is your favorite or most innovative DOOH project? And why?

Google opening up DOOH and making it accessible and easy to use for everyone.

Also, although it hasn’t happened yet, tech that will be able to measure walking paths of people in shopping centres. It would know if they have been looking at a screen on floor 1 and if they go on to enter a store. Based on facial recognition technology and anonymous datasets, it will tell you about the effects of DOOH advertising.

This interview has been edited.

We want to thank Frederik for taking the time to speak to us and answer our questions. If you want to hear more from him, you can follow him on Twitter here.

To learn more about DOOH and Google, read this interview with Peter Fahlman.