For those paying attention, the astronomical rise of digital advertising industry is not surprising. As consumers become even more technologically sophisticated, with continuously new and evolving products like smartphones, tablets, and, apparently, even eyeglasses, the opportunity for advertisers and businesses to find effective ways to capture customer attention seems endless.
By 2016, the global market for digital ad spending will grow to about $163 billion, according to research firm eMarketer. But while that figure incorporates all forms of digital advertising, from desktop computers to display screens, even a niched approach to that sizable pie could prove to be a huge market.
One prime example of this is International Display Advertising, Inc. (IDAD), which is focused on bringing the very simple concept of place-based marketing into the modern world. Place-based marketing, at least the way International Display Advertising does it, is a combination of digital and what is known as “out-of-home” advertising, which itself is in the range of just south of $10 billion in annual revenues.
Out-of-home includes any form of advertising that reaches consumers when they are in public, such as billboards, table top materials, and so on.
Equities.com spoke with David Hazzard, founder and CEO of International Display Advertising, on how his company’s unique products allow advertisers to target consumers in a variety of ways including incorporating social media.
EQ: Can you provide us with a brief overview of International Display Advertising and its operations?
Hazzard: International Display Ads is the world-wide representative for Display Points.
DisplayPoints focuses in the place-base media market, and basically it is putting small interactive screen devices like tablets in the out-of-home market, which is a billion-dollar industry. DisplayPoints takes small, interactive (touch or NFC) screens and place them in particular venues and runs a micro-network consisting of advertising, in-store promotions, as well as entertaining content provided by various providers in a particular country. Through various forms of social media and Near Field Communication Display Points is able to engage customers at the Point-of-Purchase and the personal smart devices.
Restaurants can use this technology to significantly decrease their operational costs, promote restaurant events or items and in some cases become a profit center for the venue. It just takes the old paper-and-plastic concept of the table tent and brings it into the 21st century with basically a touch tablet being on the table.
International Display Ads is our sales and marketing group that assists and sells the rights to develop DisplayPoints networks worldwide, excluding domestic U.S. territories.
EQ: The company has said that this “place-based market” is not as competitive as other out-of-home segments because major players like CBS Outdoor (CBS), Clear Channel (CCO) and others are focused in other channels. How does this provide the opportunity for IDA to capitalize?
Hazzard: That is correct. Right now, this space consists of smaller companies worldwide, and even on in the U.S. domestic market, there is nobody really doing networks on the table space.
We feel there is a niche here we can exploit, and it can grow exponentially. The same applies worldwide, where we just feel that this market has large potential because none of the large players have moved into it as of yet.
EQ: The consumer market such as the bar and restaurants industry makes a lot of sense in that it’s not really invasive for the consumers, who are spending maybe about an hour or so in one location anyway. So you provide them with an interactive field. Can you talk about your decision to enter this market first and any plans on breaking into and other consumer market industries?
Hazzard: Just based on the number of impressions, we felt that this was a good starting point for DisplayPoints. As far as other markets, we have talked about potentially entering the amateur sports complexes; hospitality, which includes hotels and probably higher-end hotels; and we are in the process of developing a network that can augment sports venue advertising.
EQ: You mentioned the ad network. How can advertisers use that to maximize their marketing budgets?
Hazzard: It’s perfect for advertisers because the industry trend has been to get as granular and focus more on the local and hyper-local advertising so they can target their advertising as much as possible. What we are able to do is to geographically and demographically target advertising, down to knowing the demographics going into a particular venue.
One of the big advantages is the interactivity that our tablet offers. Not only is it just a static message or video that runs, customers can interact via touchscreen or through near-field communication with our devices. So not only does an advertiser have the advantage of engagement, it’s almost a hybrid of a couple different forms.
We can also interact with mobile devices at the table, too. So it really crosses over a couple of different ways that advertisers can buy advertising or market a product. We have proven software that’s scalable, and that is huge advantage. Not only can the software interact with digital signage, but it also provides different forms of social media and it’s a simple cut-and-paste type platform that is very simple to use.
EQ: To your point of scalability, it is an appropriate strategy because every country has bars, restaurants, and hotels, correct?
Hazzard: Correct. On an international level, IDA is already talking to groups in Mexico, Canada, South Africa, and the UK. There are smaller countries that we have shied away from right now just because we wanted to focus on some larger international groups before we began talking to smaller groups.
EQ: Your background includes experience in both the restaurant and tech industries. Can you discuss how that has helped your understanding of your current market and the best ways to expand on a global basis?
Hazzard: I have close to 12 years of experience in the restaurant industry and that’s where the idea was hatched from. It was stemmed from originally seeing with digital picture frames and thinking that there was a way to utilize those at the restaurant level. And this is many generations beyond the digital picture frame, but I had been in the bar and restaurant business for quite awhile.
I’ve also helped start a satellite telecommunications company that provided small VSAT solutions to small, rural areas. That company still operates in Africa and Eastern Europe.
In terms of International Display Advertising, the goal is basically to research particular countries, find qualified groups that have the necessary knowledge and ability to run a DisplayPoints network in that particular country. So a potential group needs to exhibit the ability to enlist venues and knowledge and contacts in the advertising industry in that particular area.
EQ: The company recently announced that it completed a corporate reorganization strategy, which included some major milestones like a reverse split to clean up the cap structure, as well as renaming of the company and ticker symbol change. Can you talk about how these major developments better positions IDA for the future?
Hazzard: It better positions us for the future in that the restructuring allowed us to recapitalize and raise the necessary capital to begin worldwide expansion. Looking ahead, we would like to have agreements signed by the end of the year in three countries to begin deployment in 2014.