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DPAA’s Susan Danaher Explains What It Will Take to Move Industry Forward


Susan Danaher DPAA

Sue Danaher, President of the Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA) explains what it will take for the industry to move forward. Standardization, creative execution, increasing awareness and accountable measurement are just a few of the topics covered in this post by the industry veteran. If you are thinking of incorporating digital place-based media in your next campaign, dust off your notebook and take notes from this industry leader.


My name is Susan Danaher and I’m President of the Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA). I started my ad career on the agency side, first in media research and then in media planning (at Y&R and B&B). From that exceptional training ground, I dove into the fastest growth industry at the time, cable TV. During a two-decade period, I had the opportunity to work with pioneering leaders in the field: USA Networks, Turner Broadcasting (TBS, TNT and Cartoon) and Viacom (MTV, VHI, Nickelodeon, NAN, TV Land, Spike, Comedy Central, and CMT). Over the years, our brands became strong enough to migrate off the screen, and extend their reach and influence across many media platforms. And, as they did, we integrated those media platforms into the sales portfolio to better serve the needs of our clients.


What exactly is Digital Place-based Media and how does it differ from digital out-of-home?

When considering Digital Place-based, first think screens, located in places all along the path to purchase: malls, bars, gyms, doctors’ offices, hospital rooms, office lobbies and elevators, restaurants, taxi’s, airports, planes, hotels, gas stations, and the list goes on.

What these screens have in common:

  • They are digital video, many addressable and internet enabled, some even interactive.
  • They are programmed with engaging content that either entertains or informs (frequently both) and is relevant to its environment.
  • They allow marketers the opportunity to target well beyond standard demographics, allowing the marketer to get at lifestyles, consumers’ mindset and relevance.

What Digital Place-based is not:

  • Static images that are digitally delivered to billboards.

Why should a media planner consider digital-place based advertising in a campaign?

Mass Reach
Digital Place-based media offers mass reach on a national, regional, local and even hyper-local level.

Targetability and Recency
The ability to go way beyond standard demographics to reach consumers in accordance with their lifestyle and mindset, at the right time and right place when they’re in the marketplace considering their options and making purchase decisions.

Delivers Light TV Viewers and hence, balanced TV plans
Digital Place-based media permits clients to balance their TV plans and indeed extend their reach to encompass light TV viewers, a very desirable segment of the audience that is not tethered to their TV sets or DVR’s. According to GfK MRI (Fall, 2010 Survey), the 2 lightest TV viewing quintiles, representing 40% of the population, does only 11% of all TV viewing! Conversely, the two heaviest TV viewing quintiles, again representing 40% of the population, does 73% of all TV viewing!


  • Geographic: National, local, and many operators can offer hyper-local delivery
  • Copy: Marketers can use existing creative assets if so inclined and change copy quickly and often if need be
  • Address-ability: With operators that offer addressability, triggers can be set for campaigns that align with business objectives, like if the pollen count gets high, the Dow goes over 12,000 or there’s a snowfall of 3 inches or more
  • Real time Sales Offers and Incentives: Due to digital delivery, advertisers can now update offers and incentives regularly
  • PoP has become Digital: Point of Purchase has become digital, allowing clients to deliver messages at the point of sale.

Many network operators are measured by 3rd party research companies in accordance to DPAA’s Audience Metric Guidelines, thus allowing for credible audience currency and the ability to target and negotiate on the basis of targeted CPM’s.

Syndicated multimedia services (like GfK MRI, Ipsos/Mendelsohn, Experian Simmons) are measuring the space lending insights into product usage and cross media consumption and thereby providing media planners with the tools to evaluate the medium.

IMS and Telmar: Several network operators are now included in R&F systems that reside on media planners’ desks, enabling them to evaluate the effects of investing dollars in the medium.

In your expert opinion, where are we as an industry today?

We are where the cable TV industry was around 1985. In the internet business, it’s around 2003. Order has been established in this nascent industry and the prospects for growth are tremendous. We are on the cusp of big things.

How is technology shaping the future of the industry and how is it affecting the way brands are using the medium?

As outlined above, digital delivery is enabling tremendous benefits for clients. Further, the intersection of mobile, social and digital place-based media is an area of much activity and experimentation, and I expect many developments to emerge to further enable clients to effectively communicate with their consumer bases along the path to purchase. Finally, the use of QR codes and NFC (Near Field Communication) are evolving quickly to enable consumers to access fresh information easily, in the right place and the right time, and are natural apps for Digital Place-based media.

Experts are saying there may be a tipping point coming. What do we need to do as an industry to make sure this happens?

To network operators, it’s essential to be measured in accordance with the DPAA Audience Metrics Guidelines by a reputable 3rd party research company. And if you’ve done that already, continue along that investment trajectory. Get yourself onto the media planners’ desks via an R&F system to help demonstrate the benefits of including your platform to a media plan. Additionally, companies like DOmedia are helping to increase the exposure of Digital Place-based networks to many agencies and advertisers.

To ad agencies, get involved. The DPAA has an Agency Advisory Board that is very active and can always use fresh ideas and perspectives. We’re working quickly to establish standards that will allow us to scale this medium to the benefit of you and your clients.

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