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DOOH glossary paves way for industry-wide advertising standards

By Jessie Sampson |



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February 10, 2021 | 5 min read

Talon Outdoor, VIOOH and Knitting Media explain why the development of IAB UK’s Digital Out-of-Home Glossary is a significant step for the industry.


For the first time, the Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) industry has come together to agree on a set of shared terms across multiple areas, including measurement, programmatic and targeting. Developed by IAB UK’s DOOH Advisory Group, the trade body for Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising Outsmart and the industry’s audience measurement body Route, the DOOH Glossary follows significant growth within the DOOH industry over the past few years, with the sector now evolved to a point where ads are increasingly bought programmatically.

Tina Lakhani, IAB UK’s head of ad tech, explains: “As the technical capabilities of DOOH advertising have grown, it has become increasingly clear that the industry needs to develop a shared language as a crucial step towards further standardisation. Agreeing on a core set of technical terms not only makes the industry more accessible to advertisers, it is also key to greater transparency and sustainability for this burgeoning sector.”

Here we speak to members of the IAB UK DOOH Advisory Group to get their views.

How has DOOH developed over the last few years?

Lisa Portman, head of marketing, Talon Outdoor, said: "Today, over half of OOH media billings are derived from digital campaigns, whilst the OOH industry now employs the likes of data scientists, project managers, software developers, in addition to the traditional roles of planners, buyers, creatives and strategists. Growth of digital inventory has also been a catalyst for proving effectiveness - driven by improved stand out, larger audiences and greater use of context from clients. In other words, OOH has gotten smarter. Thanks to significant global investment from many landlords and media owners, digitisation and technology is adding to the OOH value proposition to advertisers."

Helen Miall, chief marketing officer, VIOOH, said: "Arguably, 2018 was the year the traditional and longstanding OOH industry finally pivoted towards programmatic. It was also the year that VIOOH launched, demonstrating both the commitment of the larger players such as JCDecaux, and the growing demand for precise targeting, flexible trading and detailed reporting for OOH inventory. Recently, we’re seeing growth come from including programmatic OOH alongside other digital channels for truly omnichannel campaigns. Including DOOH in the programmatic buy enables brands to truly see the impact that DOOH is providing from a broadcast perspective, and how that interplays on individual screens such as mobile and display."

Why are the development of these terms a significant milestone for the DOOH industry?

Tim Harvey, founder, Knitting Media, said: "The work the IAB’s DOOH Advisory Group is doing is crucial for making this unique medium accessible, understandable and actionable. With 99% coverage of the UK being enabled by three or four OOH media owners, these open standards also facilitate direct programmatic trading."

Lisa Portman, head of marketing, Talon Outdoor explained: "Traditionally, our medium has been very difficult to standardise so it’s an immense achievement to have everyone contribute to this across the board, from tech specialists, media owners, agency specialists and the OOH industry bodies too - with Outsmart and Route also collaborating to agree definitions. Ultimately, the goal for OOH transformation is to streamline OOH by reducing complexities and manual processes. OOH is a complex medium, ultimately our goal is to demystify the industry by creating tools and technologies which adds value, insight and ultimately reduce the barriers to entry for OOH. This guide is one of the steps in the right direction to achieving this."

What are the most important things for advertisers and agencies to take from this work?

Helen Miall, chief marketing officer, VIOOH, said: "This is the first step on a longer journey ahead - programmatic DOOH is still in its infancy and has huge potential to deliver valuable results for brands. We’re committed to delivering a standardised approach that supports dynamic content, reactive creative, data-driven triggers and competitive pricing, with transparency. Programmatically traded DOOH is now a serious contender for ad spend – and industry standards make it easier to plan, trade, activate and optimise within an advertiser’s overall campaign."

Take a look at the DOOH Glossary here.

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The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) is the industry body for digital advertising, committed to building a sustainable future for digital advertising. We do this by bringing the industry together through our 1,200 members including media owners, agencies and brands.

Our belief is that digital is the smartest way for brands to reach and wow their customers. We are here to help simplify and explain the sometimes complex world of digital advertising, as a trusted source of research, guidance and education, as well as celebrating the very best in creative talent.

We do this through a range of activities, events, training, research, setting standards, helping the industry to remain self-regulated and more.

Digital advertising is continuously growing and evolving. We are not-for-profit and exist to promote industry collaboration between our members to develop standards, best practices, critical research and provide the educational resources businesses need to grow their brands both successfully and sustainably.

Everything the IAB does falls under three principles:

- Tackle and address the big issues

- Highlight what works and celebrate digital

- Look to the future and help businesses prepare.

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