Can Ad-Funded Digital Signage Survive The Mobile Onslaught?

People In Bagel ResturantIn 2010, I wrote a white paper entitled: “Ad Funded Digital Signage: Is There A Future In It?”  That paper discussed how Apple’s 2008 launch of the iPhone 3G and the iTunes App Store was a catalytic event that spawned a new era in mobile communications.   The paper went on to describe how this new era in mobile would, over time, severely limit, or perhaps even decimate, the long-term growth prospects of ad-funded digital signage, which is also known as Digital Place-Based Signage.

The gist of the 2010 white paper was that the Apple-inspired mobile revolution was going to be profoundly different from any technology-inspired movement that had come before it.  The subtext of the paper was that mobile would ultimately offer marketers/brands/agencies/ad-buyers a new level of consumer engagement and analytic insight that digital signage could never hope to match.  The paper suggested that the purveyors of ad-funded digital signage learn how to leverage this new mobile revolution or get run over by it.

Well, here we are just three short years later.  For those of you who don’t follow the “state-of-mobile” regularly, you may be surprised to learn that the embrace of mobile – particularly by marketers/brands/agencies/ad-buyers – has been unprecedented.  You may also be surprised to learn that mobile has been sucking billions of ad dollars away from other ad media at a faster and faster pace.

As a result of this rapid change, I have written a short follow-up to my 2010 white paper entitled “Ad Funded Digital Signage: Is There A Future In It? Circa 2013.”  In this new paper, I question whether those who advocate a bright future for ad-funded digital signage really possess the necessary credentials to authoritatively do so.  I also briefly discuss the current state of mobile advertising, which I follow with a more detailed discussion of the future prospects for the medium.

During my discussion of the future, the paper briefly outlines five trends that will ensure mobile advertising’s rapid growth as well as solidify marketer’s/brand’s/agencies’/ad-buyer’s growing interest.  These trends illustrate the increasing…

  1. Pace of Mobile Innovation
  2. Depth and Breadth of Mobile Metrics
  3. Sophistication of Engagement Analytic Tools
  4. Sophistication of Content Management Systems
  5. Sophistication of Marketers/Brands/Agencies/Ad-buyers to Tap Into Mobile

This new paper also discusses the future of mobile-enabled consumer engagement and illustrates how the world of mobile engagement could realistically look around the turn of the decade – which, of course, will have a huge impact on marketer’s/brand’s/agencies’/ad-buyer’s interest in mobile.

The 2013 paper closes much like the 2010 paper by encouraging those who have an interest in consumer engagement – particularly ad-funded digital signage or digital place-based signage — learn how to capitalize on this – still early stage — mobile revolution.

One last point: Some of you have asked me if I think that the mobile revolution will affect traditional digital signage in the same way as it is affecting ad-funded digital signage.  The short answer is no, but I’ll discuss this in more detail in a subsequent post.


2 Responses to “Can Ad-Funded Digital Signage Survive The Mobile Onslaught?”

  1. It seems like you’ve been going on and on about mobile for years, and as a 15-year veteran of the industry it is fair to say I haven’t seen one inkling of evidence that it’s taking off–outside of YOUR statistics, that is.

    • Pete, you’re a 15-year veteran of which industry? Mobile or Digital Signage? As far as “MY” statistics, this is not my data, it is data provided by extremely reputable third party research firms and the public data from companies utilizing mobile.

      Yes, you’re right; I’ve been going on about this for years. Just call me a harbinger of things to come.

      Three years ago when I wrote “Ad-funded Digital Signage: Is There A Future In It?”, the paper marked for the digital signage industry a beginning to the mobile revolution. At the time I wrote the paper, I said that it would take 3-5 years before DOOH would begin to feel the true impact of this mobile tsunami. We are now well within the third year and the mobile wave is now beginning to roll with force. In the US, we have surpassed a 60% smartphone penetration rate, which is a tipping point that is propelling the wave with greater force. We are also on the precipice of a new wave facilitated by other mobile-enabled innovations that will change how out-of-home marketing and promotions are delivered. Keep your eyes opened for a new white paper dedicated to discussing how innovations in mobile wallets/payments will further change DOOH engagement.

      Pete, I don’t know you so I can’t judge your objectivity or awareness of consumer behaviors, but you can’t tell me that you haven’t noticed that people are fixated on their mobile devices. Do you not think that that will have deep and profound implications to DOOH?

      Allow me leave you with one final thought. In only five years since the launch of the 3rd Era of Mobile, over 1 million mobile apps have been developed, over 100 billion apps have been downloaded, the wireless purchase of digital goods via mobile has increased by over 3,000% and the mobile industry have grown to over $1.2 TRILLION dollars. Tens of thousands of companies are feverishly innovating ways to change the way we work and live using mobile technologies. Do you not think that that will have an impact on the Digital Signage industry… an industry that continues to struggle to explain its value? The good news is, there is a way for the Digital Signage industry to take advantage of this mobile revolution. Look for my next paper entitle: “Mobile Wallets and The Future of Retail Digital Signage” on ways to do this.

      Thanks for your feedback.

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