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Programmatic digital OOH does not spell the death of traditional, static outdoor


By Dani Gibson | Senior Writer

May 14, 2019 | 6 min read

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As advertising evolves to increasingly embrace digital trends, with the increase in data availability in real-time, personalized, automated out of home moves closer to reality.

Times Square Billboards

Programmatic digital OOH does not spell the death of traditional, static outdoor / Tobias Moore via Unsplash

Ahead of Programmatic Punch New York, The Drum spoke to Adam Green, senior vice president and general manager of Broadsign Reach around how automated digital advertising can be taken outdoor and why moving to more open market transactions will benefit the industry.

How can we take programmatic advertising outdoor?

We’re at an interesting point in the evolution of programmatic digital out of home (DOOH) where the tech is ready, but the people and business processes haven’t caught up. Changing how DOOH is budgeted, planned and bought means agencies and clients need to make a lot of changes to their current processes. Internal systems, compensation structures, role jurisdictions and more will need to be reevaluated, and agencies will need to determine which team will be in charge of programmatic DOOH.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a tone of work to be done making the DSPs and SSPs better, but it’s not a lack of technology that’s holding things back. As with any new process, it takes time and a few early adopters to get the ball rolling.

While outdoor is undoubtedly moving into the programmatic space, the majority of the current offerings are closer to an automated-guaranteed type of buy, not a real-time auction. Why do you think that is?

From what we have seen this is mostly due to media owners being uneasy about this unfamiliar process. Traditionally, OOH Is bought and sold in a very cloistered manner, with personally negotiated direct deals making up the majority of transactions. Long-standing deals and constructs like these need to be translated into an open market world and media owners aren’t how to do that.

Moving to a more open, liquid market is perceived by media owners to be risky. Fortunately, we’re starting to see a trend towards more open market trading in the first months of 2019. We anticipate much more over the coming six to twelve months, as media owners start to realize the labor efficiencies of open trading, and buyers start to demand it.

With the advancement of programmatic and the proliferation of digital outdoor advertisements, will the traditional, static OOH content be abandoned for good?

While the industry will continue to trend towards digital in the coming years, we aren’t likely to see the end of static posters and billboards any time soon. There are a few reasons why.

First and foremost is the significant capital investment required. Moving an entire enterprise level static network to digital would break the bank at even the most well-funded networks. Digital screens are usually rolled out over time at a capital refresh cycle that makes sense to the business.

The second reason we won’t see the end of OOH inventory is site limitations. Many locations don’t have a power source or the network connectivity needed for digital screen, and in many cases, these problems are too expensive or difficult to solve right now. Other locations have legislation or rules that stop them from moving to digital.

Lastly, there are creative possibilities available in static that simply wouldn’t have the same effect in digital. Static locations, especially those with special creative capabilities, like 3D posters, continue to be in demand among advertisers and agencies.

Is Global’s big bet on outdoor advertising as likely to accelerate the sector’s journey toward standardization?

Perhaps. It will certainly harmonize things among the three purchased companies. Yet with a market as consolidated as the UK, there’s always a risk that things won’t standardize because buyers can navigate the headache of dealing with a few standards, unlike other markets where they might be dealing with dozens or if not hundreds of standards.

That said, the fewer people who need to be at the table to negotiate a standard, the higher the likelihood that it happens quickly – so here’s to hoping!

Will 2020 be the year of programmatic outdoor?

Just like the year of mobile, I think it will entirely depend on who you are and where you are.

We see markets like Holland and Germany who have embraced programmatic outdoor and have run countless campaigns. It’s safe to say that the year of programmatic digital out-of-home has already happened for them.

Other markets, on the other hand, are going to be dabbling for a few years yet. It’s well on its way through, as we’ve seen successful programmatic digital out-of-home campaigns in almost every region. It will be interesting to see which will be the next to really embrace it.

Programmatic Punch is a full day event serving insight and practical advice on the latest developments in programmatic trading. Tickets can be purchased for the event at Ogilvy and Mather, New York on June 6.

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