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As Global and Google flex their OOH muscles, the industry calls for fewer data silos

To help provide a solution, Talon has built its own DMP for clients / Talon

With radio giant Global now owning close to 35% share of the UK’s out-of-home (OOH) ad sector and Google reportedly eyeing a foray into outdoor, the industry is calling for more cohesion when it comes to data that supercharges outdoor campaigns.

Last month, Global acquired Exterion Media weeks after having snapped up fellow OOH companies Primesight and Outdoor Plus in a double deal. Since then, it's been experimenting with using the data gleaned from its radio network to power location-based outdoor campaigns.

Google meanwhile, is reportedly plotting a move into the programmatic OOH space in Germany with plans to expand into other markets. While the tech giant denied this, its rich first-party data and ability to create dynamic creative makes it a strong contender to flex its muscle in the space.

As exciting as these developments are for the partners that work with OOH owners, Sophie Pemberton strategy director at media agency Talon Outdoor – which counts Spotify and Google among its clients - described the sheer plethora of data providers and systems now in place as a being a “nightmare”.

Speaking at The Drum's Future of Marketing event, Pemberton pinpointed how the various insight and location targeting platforms OOH owners use – including CACI, ABI and Telefonica – now make for a cluttered landscape.

“We’ve got 78 media owners that we deal with on an annual basis, we cannot go on existing as we do," she said.

In response, she argued, the industry needs more cohesion and collaboration.

With Google poised to enter the arena equipped with its own data arsenal, she added: “Google has all this data but it’s only going to apply it to what it thinks it is applicable for, so our job is to create something ourselves… and use all this [people-based] and brand-based location data along with industry measurement system ROUTE to understand the real world places people go, and where the OOH units they interact with are for that.”

Talon's solution has come in the shape of its own DMP for clients. “We’re really excited to see where that goes because to your point it enables us to get closer to other channels,” she said.

For Louise Stubbings, creative director at Clear Channel, her job in the face of competition from Google is to “enhance the formats and make them work in the best way."

“Collaboration is really important. The creation of Global Outdoor, when that does happen, will be interesting for the industry, and help drive things forward. The end goal is to make outdoor as easy to plan and buy and execute as possible for advertisers and to remove as many barriers to entry as we can,” she added.

As for the programmatic element, Stubbings believes that while outdoor is moving towards automation it's still in the midst of a “huge evolution”.

“It’s not programmatic yet and I doubt it ever will be in the truest sense – it’s not same as the online world. It's not a one-to-one mechanic. People feel something and act differently, as a result of seeing something in a shared environment - that's the joy of what we do.”

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