2011 has for LocaModa, and I suspect for many of our partners, been a solid but challenging year.
LocaModa’s revenues in 2011 grew 25% year on year on year. We have a great team, patented IP and our platform continues to generate revenue and engagement for some of the largest DOOH networks and agencies in USA, Europe and Japan.
However, my overall impression of the DOOH market in 2011 is that is has been a lot tougher than it needed to be.
Growth (which should be celebrated in such a difficult economy) has happened in a background where the friction of buying DOOH media has not materially changed during the last 12 months and there is little evidence that it will be easier in the next 12 months.
Yet if I look at the DOOH predictions made at the end of 2008, 2009 and 2010, I’d have to predict that we could blow the dust off of those lists again this year. Yes, 2012 will see more interactive, more mobile, more social DOOH deployments, BUT if most of these deployments are tactical, 30 day campaigns, the market is not learning how to leverage the true value of DOOH as a strategic engagement tool. I don’t want to be a humbug at this time of the year, but the sobering truth as far as I’m concerned, is that our industry has not done enough to make itself a cohesive, easy to purchase, strategic component for marketers, brands, and venues.
So humbug or not, I think that any self respecting DOOH 2012 prediction that cuts and pastes the same old hogwash about consolidation, interactivity, mobile, social blah blah needs to self destruct! Such lists are obvious and not useful or informative and don’t deserve a single pixel on our screens – mobile or otherwise.
As if I have to say this – it was never about QR codes (see these QR codes that didn’t compute ). It’s about the “currency of attention” and understanding how to make that a sustainable and strategic tool for businesses.
DOOH Ad networks are too often focused on 30 day campaigns. And elsewhere, deployment of screens in non-ad environments is still expensive (even with falling costs), slow and difficult, and therefore has to be strategic. Deployments still need much better content strategies and ideally cross-channel approaches. This isn’t an easy economy to convince a company to spend a $1M on screens (The CapEx, even with falling costs, is significant, especially when multiplied over 10, 100 or 1000+ venues) with little motivation for the internal champion to risk their careers.
On the bright side, nothing has changed about the opportunity of solving such challenges, but if the DOOH/DS pitch is getting a little tired and investors are looking at prettier girls, we have consider what we can all do to help the market.
So my biggest prediction for 2012 is that those of us serious enough to want to make a difference in our industry will have put in more effort to collaborate. Because if we don’t, more DOOH companies will fail in 2012.
Some might think that being silent is better than being critical – but not me. I think that more 2012 DOOH predictions should be informed by the hard fought lessons of the year. At least it seems that much of the self promotion and ridiculously over-bullish market data that is ever present in our market has died down somewhat over the past 3 months. I suspect (or hope) DOOH practitioners are focusing on following the money more than trying to get Twitter followers (but feel free to follow me on Twitter @stephenrandall).