Commoot Launches to Offer Better OOH Ads
By: Carli Evilsizer | July 18, 2019
Have you ever been stuck in traffic staring at the back of a truck? Dan Salganik has many times on his commute to downtown Chicago which is how he was inspired to launch Commoot, a media platform that utilizes empty space on semi-trucks, box trucks and large vehicles to create more effective OOH ads.
We chatted with Dan about Commoot’s launch, the downfalls of traditional OOH ads and how marketers can create more effective OOH advertising campaigns.
Dan Salganik, Founder of Commoot, Shares How to Create More Effective OOH Ads
Commoot brings “awareness to the road” by utilizing unused advertising space on the trailers of semi-trucks, box trucks, and large vehicles. Graphic, eye-catching “billboard-like” ads are attached to trailers through heat-wrapped vinyl or a ‘poster’ framing system. Commoot helps brands by supporting brand awareness initiatives, as well as creating a stronger and more tactical campaign for clients. Beyond becoming a new platform for OOH media, Commoot plans to innovate in a few other ways. Commoot is one of the first platforms to allow quick and seamless OOH campaign creation through a marketplace website.
President of Commoot
Dan has been a serial entrepreneur since his sophomore year in college. He has managed hundreds of team members and run over 8 figures in marketing campaigns. Some notable campaigns include stakeholders such as former President Obama, Yoko Ono, and the Emperor of Japan. Dan has worked on a diverse set of projects/clients ranging from half million dollar web builds to helping mentor start-up founders that need a voice. Alongside co-founding his marketing firm VisualFizz, he is now working on an OOH company called Commoot.
1. When did Commoot launch?
We first came up with the idea around august 2018, but the business really started to form around January of 2019. Growth has been crazy since then!
2. What was the inspiration behind Commoot?
I was on my usual lengthy commute to downtown Chicago when I realized I was just staring, aimlessly, onto the back of a plain white truck. I realized that the length of time, as well as ‘closeness’ to the truck is something that I have not seen with other mediums or digital platforms. We’re basically stuck behind or next to the truck and have nowhere else to look.
3. Why do consumers like Commoot?
We’ve spoken to numerous consumers that love the idea. They like the fact that our team is highly motivated to ensure that our ads are aesthetically pleasing for the road. Instead of looking at a sea of white trucks, they can enjoy artistically-inspired ads around the road. As compared to ads all over websites, we felt that consumers are more open to ads that are in the OOH space as long as they are considerate of the environment around them.
4. How does Commoot help the struggling logistics industry?
The logistics industry is dealing with some major issues including high turn-over, extreme driver shortages, expensive sign-on bonuses, Amazon taking over, increasing overhead costs, expensive machinery/materials, and much more. Though it’s not enough to save the industry, Commoot enables fleet managers to lease the empty space on trucks and pays truck drivers/companies a monthly payment for the space. This can help companies offset some of their major costs, meaning they can better compensate their current or new drivers, bid lower on freight and thus win more freight, and improve their business.
5. What is one thing you wish you knew before founding Commoot?
It’s a learning curve altogether. We have a strong founding team, so I actually don’t wish I knew something beforehand. This is a brand new company in a brand new industry and I am excited to learn what I have to in order to succeed in this space. I do wish I would have had the “aha!” moment sooner!
6. How does Commoot collect smarter targeting data?
We’re building proprietary technology that will layer advanced camera technology, demographic info and existing market research, and machine learning to create a smarter understanding of the audiences that view Commoot ads. It’s our goal to help advertisers leverage as much data as possible when making decisions about their ads. This type of data is insanely valuable to advertisers, marketers, and brands alike.
7. What has the response been so far from customers?
Most people have been extremely receptive to the business. Brand leaders are planning on utilizing our trucks in their late 2019 and 2020 marketing campaigns when they review and renew their advertising budgets. Many marketing agencies are warming up to the idea of ‘the new guy on the block’, and trucking companies love the fact that they can earn additional revenue. The #1 most common question we receive is, “How come this hasn’t been done before?”.
8. What are the biggest issues with traditional OOH ads?
For years now, media spend has declined steadily for non-digital channels in all industries except for one - Out of Home advertising. The industry’s Year over Year growth isn’t groundbreaking, but it is steady. Traditional OOH ads fall victim to a concept called “ad blindness” - meaning that audiences see the same ad(s) so often in the same place and manner that the ad eventually fades into the background of our focus and we eventually stop “seeing” it altogether.
Another struggle with traditional OOH ads is their lack of tracking and clear ROI. It’s difficult to say the full branding power that a billboard has, since there is no “click”, no “form submission”, no “site visit”. Traditional OOH ads have definitely gotten smarter over the years. Digital OOH is growing like wildfire, so we really love where the industry is going, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement in this regard.
The biggest difference though, is that with something like a traditional billboard, you have the ability to look away. In the case of Commoot, since the truck is generally right in front of you (or at least closer to your general line of vision), you really can’t look away. What’s more, we don’t distract you from what you’re doing, we don’t interrupt you in anyway, so there is no negative sentiment felt during the advertising experience. What’s even more, it’s our goal to make Commoot ads as memorable and exciting as possible, so you just might even enjoy viewing a Commoot ad!
9. How can brands tell if their OOH ad campaign was successful?
Simply put, we monitor estimated impressions through our smart technology. This is information that other brands have to basically guess based on traffic data and assumptions. We are also able to monitor how long users are viewing the ads, called impression duration (sometimes referred to as ‘dwell time’). We then layer this information on top of existing market research and demographics.
As with any ad campaign, the real gold is in the reporting. Our reports can help brands know more about their audiences, so they can make better decisions about what to include in their ads and which demographics to target. Our business model also allows brands to test multiple messages on the same demographic, without sacrificing the visibility of each variant. The result is a better, smarter, more informed ad campaign that resonates better with the audience in the long run.
Brands will be able to tell if their OOH ad campaigns were successful in much the same way they can tell if other Out of Home campaigns are successful - their businesses grow! In the future, we plan to utilize anonymized behavior data to understand the audience even further. Traditional OOH campaigns leave a lot of clarity and knowledge about the audience out of the picture - Commoot aims to change that.
10. What is ad blindness and how can companies overcome it?
Ad blindness is the act of glazing over ads due to the sheer number of ads that we see/pass/swipe through in our day-to-day lives. The big difference between us vs. digital or even billboards on the side of the road is the fact that drivers have to look straight ahead in order to drive safely our trucks will be in front of these individuals for 10’s of seconds or even minutes. An impression time of 30-60-90+ seconds is nearly unheard of. Especially for the cost per impression our customers are getting.
11. What type of companies is Commoot best for?
Though Commoot works well with most industries, we believe that tech companies, web-based companies, applications, real estate, insurance, finance, etc… will do well with Commoot. As of now, we have been in communication with a number of CPG companies, but may want to avoid major CPG companies, unless we have a very clear understanding of each stop that our trucking partners make. We try to do our due diligence in order to ensure that our customers are getting the best routes possible for their product/industry/services.
12. How can brands design ad campaigns that are more enjoyable to the viewer?
MAKE IT POP! BE DIFFERENT! USE COLOR! We want our customers/brands to know that they have the creative freedom to design campaigns that are memorable. Commoot was built with the backing of a digital marketing agency, so the team is well aware of how to make a campaign POP! We’ve seen a lot of disappointing designs on billboards in the past, and we’ll do what we can to push our clients to create ad campaigns that help them differentiate from the crowd.
13. Where do you see Commoot in a year from now?
Commoot has a long way to go. Our team is growing on a weekly basis, our team technology is improving daily, and we’re recruiting more trucking partners and brands all of the time. We believe that Commoot will be a name that is recognized in the OOH space, as well as the big-data space. Our goal is to be the next Waze, but in the Out of Home advertising space.
How to Design Better OOH Ads: 3 Key Tips from Commoot President & Founder, Dan Salganik
1. Make it Memorable
We also recommend aiming for an emotional response in the viewer. We advise our advertisers to give the audience a reason to feel a personal connection to a brand. We want them to see a brand’s ad and feel a positive, compelling sentiment towards the ad, so they then associate that same feeling with the brand. Using humor and witty, “clever” phrasing is always a win, too.
2. Test Often
Test, test, test again, then test again. Test a number of variables, and don’t be afraid to try some “crazy” ideas. Good things come to those who innovate.
3. Create a CTA
All ads should have a “call to action”, and the same goes for OOH ads. Want your audience to buy a beverage? Make them thirsty. Want your audience to go online and buy your product? Make them realize they have a need for that product.
Thanks Dan for sharing more about Commoot and how this platform can help advertisers create more effective OOH ad campaigns.
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