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Programmatic OOH makes UK debut in Rubicon Project launch

Programmatic, or automated, advertising technologies are already tipped to take over all household screens, and now a UK partnership between Rubicon Project and Bitposter promises to do the same with the outdoor advertising sector, building upon similar deals elsewhere.

Rubicon Project, a company known as a supply-side platform (SSP), has today (3 September) announced a partnership with out-of-home (OOH) advertising firm Bitposter which the pair claims will bring further efficiencies to the sector of the industry valued at £1.6bn per year in the UK.

As part of the tie-up, Bitposter will offer 98 per cent of the UK’s outdoor inventory to advertisers (accounting for over 300,000 paper and digital sites) with the OOH specialist claiming it will work with a number of media owners to take the offering nationwide.

Bitposter will use demographic, geographic, and context data to help advertisers improve targeting on digital and static billboard sides positioned on roadsides, transport hubs and retail outlets, while Rubicon’s technology will help automate the process of ad placement.

Both parties claim the automation of this trading process will minimise cost, plus time inefficiencies, thus reducing friction between buyers and sellers, thus bringing the market closer together as a result.

Aidan Neill, chief executive and co-founder of Bitposter, said: “Most of the benefits of technology in advertising are associated with process automation, freeing up creative people to reach their customers with timely, powerful and relevant messages in any channel.”

Jay Stevens, International GM for Rubicon Project, described the partnership as a watershed moment the company’s timeline, further adding that it will help bring the effectiveness of online to the OOH advertising sector, in particular the digital OOH sub-sector, which was valued at £417m last year.

In particular, the pair hope that the efficiencies garnered by automation technology will mean local businesses and SME’s will increase their outdoor media spend (a phenomenon that was widely observed with the advent of online advertising).

This partnership builds upon an earlier pilot that took place in Australia this year, where TubeMogul – a company traditionally seen as a video demand-side platform (DSP) - partnered with Interpublic Group trading desk Cadreon, and outdoor ad exchange Site Tour to offer brands the ability to buy OOH slots on an automated basis.

Under the terms of this offering, advertisers can target the 15 second video ad slots via formats (i.e. on a billboard or kiosk), geographic location, and what time of the day they would prefer.

Both TubeMogul and Site Tour have articulated their ambitions to extend the offering to the UK, but neither have been able to publicly elaborate further (see video below for further).