Place-based media is ubiquitous. You see it in health clubs, food courts, airports, gas stations and many other out-of-home locations across the country. But according to agency executives, the challenges to growing ad sales revenue for the sector are numerous.
Among them: It's not a core media for most marketers, ROI metrics are lacking and clients just don't care that much about it. On the flip side, the potential for place-based media would seem great as a complementary media -- particularly for location-focused marketers and those looking to grab the attention of specific, harder-to-reach audiences like C-level executives in the elevator on their way to the office in the morning.
Those were some of the top-line thoughts from a panel of media agency executives speaking at the Digital Placed-based Advertising Association conference in New York Tuesday.
Kris Magel, head of national broadcast at Interpublic Group's Initiative, said he believes there is a lot of “inherent value” in place-based media. It is “a large complementary source of video impressions,” he said. And it's a source he has urged his clients to take advantage of -- although many of those clients resist doing so. “I'm seeing a lot of great product not being bought,” he said. “CMOs are not asking where the hell is my placed-based media,” he added, as they are with other media like social, mobile and specific shows on network TV like "Mad Men."
Barry Lowenthal, president of The Media Kitchen, an MDC Partners unit, said a key obstacle to the media’s growth is that “it's not a core part of anyone's plan. “It's nice to have,” he said, “but it's easy to cut.” He likened placed-based media to the position mobile was in a few years ago. But now for many marketers, “mobile is more and more core.” However, Lowenthal said, he doesn't foresee that happening with place-based media in the near term.
It's also not the easiest media in the world to buy. That would be TV, which is nearly “frictionless,” said David Cohen, chief media officer at IPG's UM. He said that placed-based should play to its built-in advantage of being location-focused, which an increasing number of CPG and retail marketers are putting resources toward.
Place-based media is potentially more scalable -- industry players could collaborate on larger joint deals and pitch reach and awareness. But Lowenthal said the media offers a more tactical approach for most clients. “If a client talks about reaching C-level executives as they go up in elevators in the morning or commuters, then we'll lean into it,” he said.
There was consensus on the panel that not all video impressions are equal. Cohen said his agency's research shows that “dollar for dollar” online impressions are “more productive” at achieving client goals such as brand awareness, attitude and intent to purchase.
Lyle Schwartz, head of research and analytics at WPP's GroupM, said that each channel has its owned strengths and weaknesses that must be considered in the planning process. TV, he noted, offers the best viewing experience with its big screens -- but the flip side is it is “sedentary.” Out-of-home has the advantage of “proximity to purchase,” he said.
But all channels, said Schwartz, “have to be valued on what the client wants to do, where, when and how.”