As the advertising landscape continues to shift and embrace digital, one of the biggest growing sectors year-on-year is digital out-of-home (DOOH).
And, with the increase in data availability, personalised and automated OOH messaging can greatly extend not only a brand’s reach but engagement, too.
Enter: programmatic DOOH. With programmatic starting to shape up OOH in Australia, B&T wanted to get a better understanding of how media operators, agencies & brands can benefit from this new technology. Ben Allman, ANZ Sales Director for leading DOOH marketing platform, Broadsign spoke with B&T about how programmatic will transform the industry.
In a time where ad spend is down across the board, OOH continues to rise. Why is it so strong?
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that audiences across other mediums continue to fragment at quite an alarming rate. Whereas with OOH, long term trends such as population growth and urbanisation have meant that the medium continues to deliver bigger audiences year after year. In addition to this, the introduction of digital screens has meant that advertisers can use creative and context to engage these audiences on a level they’ve never been able to before.
How will programmatic transform DOOH?
Programmatic makes DOOH more accessible, flexible and easier to buy than ever before. It allows advertisers to be more creative and targeted in their approach by only bidding on the impressions that are relevant to them. Whether that’s when the sun is shining, the traffic is terrible or the local cricket team has just notched up another win. While DOOH made this sort of thing possible some time ago, programmatic enables it at an unprecedented speed and scale.
How does data and programmatic help advertisers with their campaigns and executions?
Data is the currency which underpins how audiences and screens are bought and sold in the programmatic marketplace. As OOH publishers shift from selling screens and panels to this idea of selling audiences, data will only become more important. Once considered an unaccountable medium, data has greatly improved the accuracy & accountability of campaign planning, delivery & evaluation in OOH. Programmatic has played a significant role in driving this transition.
What are some of the challenges of programmatic DOOH, as well as the opportunities?
One of the biggest challenges we face as an industry is the lack of a standard currency when it comes to measuring OOH audiences. TV has OzTAM and Radio has GfK, whereas OOH’s measurement is coming from a range of sources. That’s not to say that the data isn’t robust & reliable but it’s certainly something which buyers should keep in mind. While the perfect data solution doesn’t exist (and probably never will), OOH’s ability to better measure and understand its audiences has progressed immensely over the past few years and will only continue to improve.
Meanwhile, programmatic presents DOOH with a huge opportunity to increase its share of total advertising revenue. In the past, OOH has tended to exist in a silo, largely due to its notoriety as being difficult to plan and buy. The ability to purchase DOOH programmatically alongside Online, TV and even Radio will undoubtedly bring new advertisers and bigger budgets to the space.
Your do’s and don’ts for buyers and publishers when it comes to programmatic DOOH?
For buyers, it’s important to remember that programmatic DOOH isn’t the same as Online programmatic. Both mediums are very different in terms of the roles they play in the overall media mix and should continue to be treated that way.
For publishers, there’s a misconception amongst some that programmatic will deliver money from the sky. As great as this would be, it’s simply not the case and audiences & networks still need to be sold to buyers, particularly while programmatic DOOH is in its infancy. When publishers ask us how much money they can make from programmatic, our response is always the same: “how good is your sales team?” Yes, programmatic does automate some of the buying and selling, however people are still crucial to the overall process.
We’d love to see buyers pushing the boundaries of DOOH a lot more. Regardless of whether you’re buying programmatically or directly, it feels as though the medium is still a long way from realising its full creative potential. We look forward to seeing more advertisers push the boundaries over the years to come.
As for the publishers, it’s important to embrace the space by getting skilled up. Publishers who are making the most of the programmatic opportunity are bringing valuable programmatic knowledge, experience and relationships into their businesses. Programmatic is inevitably going to play a huge role in the future of DOOH, so it’s important for publishers to be prepared.
What are some of the myths about programmatic DOOH?
From the publisher’s perspective, there were some early concerns around a perceived loss of control. It’s important to note that Broadsign ensures publishers are able to maintain full control of their network when selling programmatically; minimum rates are set and can be changed at any time, you select who is able to bid on your audiences & inventory and each creative must be approved by a human being before going live.
The adoption of programmatic across other mediums hasn’t all been smooth sailing and while a number of big concerns have been addressed, programmatic can still be regarded as a dirty word in certain circles. Fortunately for us, challenges such as brand safety, bots and the ‘race to the bottom’ are less prevalent in DOOH, due to the fact that DOOH is premium in its nature, exists in the physical world and unlike Online, isn’t ubiquitous. The benefit of being one of the last (if not, the last) mediums to be able to transact programmatically is that we’ve been able to learn from a lot of the shortfalls of our predecessors.