Chi Lo is the director of accounts Australia & new Zealand at The Trade Desk. Here, he explains how advertisers can successfully implement programmatic digital out-of-home in their marketing campaigns.
Billboards: one of the oldest ways of advertising. Whether standing tall by the freeway, on the side of skyscrapers or dotted around train stations, we all encounter them regularly.
So, what’s so special about these classic sights going digital?
Out of home (OOH) adverts can now be bought online, programmatically, meaning billboard ads can be changed, amended – or switched off – in real time. Creatives can be replaced automatically to respond to the external environment, maximising the effectiveness of any ad.
Picture the scene; it’s grey and pouring with rain in, the advert emblazoned on the bridge over the dreary Hume Highway displays a well-loved hot chocolate brand. In typical Melbournian style, fifteen minutes later, the sky clears, the sun comes out and commuters roll their windows down in relief. Just as quickly, that billboard ad can switch to show a tempting glass of cool iced tea.
Flexible advertising for changeable times
In digital advertising, the user journey is the key to mapping the delivery of adverts. So now DOOH has gone programmatic, where does it fit?
The simple answer is that it can fit anywhere. A digital OOH (DOOH) advert works well at the beginning, middle or end of the user journey. Let’s consider using DOOH as the starting point. Advertisers can begin the consumer journey with a DOOH ad at the station on the way to work, getting the brand on consumer’s radars. The journey can then be continued by serving more actionable ads on other channels afterwards. For example, when the DOOH ad shows the latest BMW model, users in the area of the billboard can be shown an advert for a free test drive later, on their mobiles.
But introducing it into the programmatic ecosystem and shifting it to the other end of the journey can be equally effective. Let’s say a Connected TV (CTV) advert for Nike trainers performed well in a certain area one night, billboards in the area can display the same trainers the next day with information on the nearest Nike stockist. This flexibility empowers advertisers to tell more consistent, and more personal stories, across multiple channels, all in a privacy conscious way.
It’s also possible to feed in live programmatic insights to inform DOOH campaigns. From pollen count for allergy medicine to live transport updates, DOOH can adapt to coordinate with peoples’ literal journeys, as well as their digital ones. An advert for a London tourist attraction in St Pancras Station could be timed to be displayed exactly at the same time as hundreds of excited tourists coming in on the Eurostar. If the train is delayed by an hour, so too is the ad.
Budgets are tight, is it affordable?
Much in the way that a full page spread in the Daily Telegraph costs far more than a carefully placed ad on news.com.au, this move means that OOH isn’t just a ‘go big or go home’ medium anymore. The new generation of DOOH ads will be available in every shape and size to meet every variety of budget. Digitisation has made this high reach medium more accessible than ever before. Because of the flexibility, the minimum spend required to secure a space has actually dropped. This means small, local businesses can also reap the rewards of this powerful channel. What’s more in a world where borders can be shut at the drop of a hat, programmatic principles offer agility in re-adjusting and re-deploying campaigns. Something vital to every advertising campaign now more than ever.
Out of home advertising belongs in the omnichannel campaign
The fact that OOH ads can now be bought programmatically means campaigns can be easily monitored across every channel, all from one platform. Budgets can be shifted and prioritised based on what’s working and what’s not. In the face of economic uncertainty, this level of flexibility will be invaluable for cost-effective, efficient advertising.
Advertisers can finally factor in OOH ads when looking at what drives users to buy products or click on links across a multi-channel campaign. In going digital, OOH ads have become a measurable part of the omnichannel approach for the first time.
As the last major advertising channel to go programmatic, this advancement represents a huge leap forward for the industry. So, whether it’s a Rolex watch advert displayed in the evening outside Sydney’s most expensive restaurants, or a small local bakery advertising to commuters passing through a nearby station at peak time, bringing programmatic advantages to physical advertising is an investment worth making.
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