Ben Allman is the Sales Director, APAC at Broadsign and Co-chair of IAB Australia’s DOOH Taskforce. In this piece, he outlines the changes we can expect in programmatic DOOH in the not so distant future.
Back in September I was involved in an event called ‘AdTECH OOH: Sydney’. The event brought together agencies, publishers and tech providers to discuss all things ad-tech with regards to the out-of-home industry. On the day, I was fortunate enough to be part of a panel titled ‘Scaling programmatic. Predictions (and plans) for the next 12-24 months.’
As panellists, our task was to discuss where we think programmatic DOOH is going to be in 1-2 years and how we think it will get there. Doing my best to punch above my weight, I sat alongside The Trade Desk’s General Manager, James Bayes and Vanessa Hunt, GroupM’s Chief Digital Officer at the time. The panel was chaired by the brilliant Cassandra Cameron from JCDecaux.
The beauty of being part of a panel which asks you to make predictions for the future is that people are unlikely to remember those predictions when they (more often than not) prove to be completely off the mark. Get it right and you can say ‘told you so’. Get it wrong and never speak of it again.
On that note, I’ve somewhat foolishly made myself more accountable by outlining a few of those predictions in writing below.
More omni-channel buying
An oft-cited benefit of programmatic DOOH is that it offers advertisers the ability to buy in a less siloed, more ‘omni-channel’ fashion. What this means is that programmatic technology enables DOOH to be more easily planned, bought and evaluated alongside other mediums like online, TV and audio, all through a single platform.
While DOOH can now be bought through most market-leading omni-channel demand side platforms (DSPs), the vast majority of campaigns are currently being transacted through DSPs built specifically for DOOH. These DOOH DSPs are popular amongst buyers who are new to programmatic DOOH (which let’s face it, is everyone at the moment) as they’re typically easy to use and have been specifically built to handle a medium with its fair share of planning and buying nuances.
But as buyers become more comfortable buying DOOH programmatically and omni-channel DSPs become increasingly interested in the space, DOOH will inevitably become a more regular part of the omni-channel programmatic buy. It’s also expected that more buying points will emerge, with more omni-channel DSPs entering the DOOH space (I’m looking at you Google).
More moment-based buying
As an industry we’ve been waxing lyrical for years about the impending shift from panel or screen-based buying to audience-based buying. More robust, reliable and readily available audience data has helped push this along (don’t get me wrong, we’ve still got a long way to go) and the introduction of programmatic technology means that while audience-based buying is still the exception in out-of-home, it’s certainly not uncommon.
As buyers and sellers become more sophisticated in their ability to understand and reach specific audiences, it’s important that the power of contextual data is not ignored. Conditions such as the weather, the traffic or even the score in the cricket can determine when, where and how your DOOH campaign runs.
This is where programmatic can be a very valuable tool to buyers, as they only have to bid on the moments most relevant to them (when the sun’s out, the traffic is at a standstill and Steve Smith has just scored another century, for instance).
As buyers and sellers get a better grasp of the endless possibilities that come with moment-based buying we’ll start seeing contextual data used in ways that were previously unimaginable.
More open auctions
When the ability to transact DOOH programmatically first became available, the majority of campaigns were being executed in a ‘programmanual’ manner; a single buyer and seller would get together over a coffee or Zoom, negotiate the campaign’s parameters and then execute via their technology partners.
While this approach negates a lot of programmatic’s inherent benefits, it provides both buyers and sellers with a gentle initiation into this new way of doing business.
While much of the market is currently transacting via private marketplace (PMP) deals (i.e. the deal is made available exclusively to either an individual buyer or a select group of buyers), we’re starting to see more and more deals being done in the open auction.
And there are good reasons for doing so; Broadsign recently released research demonstrating that our publisher partners who transacted via open deals generated 3x more programmatic revenue than those who require buyers to work with them in manually setting up a programmatic campaign.
As publishers become more comfortable and confident selling programmatically and as demand continues to grow, it’s inevitable that we’ll see more deals being done in this fashion.
I mentioned previously that we tend to forget the majority of inaccurate predictions made for the future. But every now and then, a prediction is made that is so audacious (and off the mark) that it’s difficult to forget.
A little over 12 months ago at the 2019 instalment of ‘AdTECH OOH: Sydney’, it was predicted that programmatic would constitute 25-30 per cent of total DOOH revenue in roughly 12 months’ time. We were set up to fail.
Fortunately, more realistic predictions prevailed in 2020 and while it was difficult getting anyone to commit to an exact figure, the consensus amongst a few brave souls was that we might be at 5 per cent in a year’s time. JCDecaux CEO Steve O’Connor memorably suggested that growth may be slow for the next few years but that we’d start to see ‘hockey stick growth’ from 2023 onwards.
If you consider the growth of programmatic DOOH in more established markets (eMarketer recently declared that programmatic will make up 6.7 per cent of DOOH revenue in the US in 2020) along with the momentum building closer to home, it’s foreseeable that programmatic should grow to make up at least 5-10 per cent of DOOH revenue within the next couple of years. If the out-of-home industry embraces programmatic’s capabilities in the right way, then the vast majority of these dollars will be new to the medium.
One of the lessons 2020 has taught us is that some things are just impossible to predict. While the future is unclear, the promising progress made by programmatic DOOH in ‘unprecedented’ market conditions will fill many with confidence that the years ahead are incredibly bright.
Should the above predictions prove to be completely off the mark I’ll never speak of them again but between us, I’m confident I’ll be saying ‘told you so’ in 1-2 years’ time.
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