DOOH OOH Digital Out of Home

3 misconceptions about DOOH that publishers and advertisers in APAC believe in

By Troy Yang, Managing director for North Asia

February 11, 2021 | 7 min read

In a region as diverse as Asia Pacific, there are significant differences between individual markets, – both in the level of digitization, consolidation and standardization of OOH inventory, and in the availability of data to drive programmatic buying, explains Troy Yang, the managing director for North Asia at Hivestack.


Now is the time for brands and publishers to embrace programmatic DOOH

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising is undergoing significant transformation across the APAC region, with spending expected to grow over 18% each year until 2026.

The growth is driven by a developed infrastructure with a dense distribution of digital screens and by connected technologies that facilitate opportunities for brands. In the same way traditional TV has benefited from in its evolution to CTV, OOH players are reaping the rewards of digital transformation by increasingly recognizing the advantages of programmatic to transact top tier inventory deals. Now, as the majority of the region starts to loosen pandemic restrictions, marketers need to be flexible and agile to the changing environment to maximize performance from their DOOH spend.

Programmatic DOOH offers brands the data-driven targeting, campaign measurement, and real-time optimization they need to meet these challenges, bringing incremental value to both the buy and sell-side. However, there are some misconceptions around how programmatic DOOH works, which can hold back brands and publishers from benefiting from its incredible capabilities.

Here are three commonly held beliefs and the reality of how the channel can help publishers and advertisers secure missed opportunities.

“Programmatic DOOH is just automated buying”

While it’s true programmatic does streamline the DOOH buying process, the benefits for campaign optimization go far beyond simple automation.

First, it offers data-driven targeting, with marketers able to define custom audiences and reach them based on where they are and where they have been. Through developments of mobile ad IDs (MAIDs), heat maps, and camera sensors, marketers can make use of massive volumes of geo-temporal data to understand where their audiences are and how they move during the day. They can then activate DOOH inventory to target them at scale across specific locations where there is a high concentration of devices that meet certain criteria. For example, these might be devices that have previously been detected within a geofenced area of interest, such as a competitor’s store.

In addition, marketers can make use of contextual data on weather, travel information, and events to respond in-the-moment and adapt strategies accordingly. Real-time is far more than just a buzzword in the programmatic DOOH world, and the ability to immediately react to events and changes, whether big or small, means marketers are best placed to capture their audience’s attention with the right message.

What’s more, programmatic DOOH gives brands the opportunity to continually optimize their campaigns against real business outcomes to ensure they are achieving the best possible ROI. For instance, the technology can use machine learning algorithms to understand which DOOH activations are generating conversions on different days, at certain times, or within particular audiences and can optimize delivery accordingly.

“Programmatic devalues DOOH inventory”

Because programmatic increases efficiency for buyers and reduces spill impressions, there is a perception that it devalues publisher inventory, with impressions sold at the lowest possible price, but this is far from the case. Programmatic can actually increase the value of DOOH inventory, especially in an environment with finite supply and increasing demand for premium locations.

Flexibility is a game-changer in fluctuating market conditions, and buyers are increasingly aware of the value digital and data-driven technology combined with real-time capabilities are bringing to the out-of-home space. From a sell-side perspective, publishers can make use of a variety of programmatic models, such as premium guaranteed or non-guaranteed, and can use private marketplaces to ensure inventory isn’t devalued. Other programmatic models can be used in parallel to monetize any unsold inventory, ultimately increasing operator yields. Programmatic is facilitating a new value exchange between publishers and advertisers allowing inventory to be traded on audience impressions rather than “a spot in the loop”.

APAC’s DOOH ecosystem is fragmented across countries – for example, the Philippines is considered a highly divided market whereas in Japan the opposite is true – and is made up of both regional and international players. Its ecosystem also encompasses a variety of inventory locations including buses, taxis, and airports, commercial buildings, shopping malls, retail pharmacy stores, and clinics, and large and small cross-sections in Central Business Districts. Consolidating inventory into a single programmatic ad exchange will make it far simpler for advertisers and agencies to buy, which can only be a positive development for DOOH operators. Programmatic DOOH allows them to offer marketers advantages, such as custom audience targeting and attribution, rather than just the traditional digital signage concepts of location and frequency, it makes their inventory more valuable and attractive to media buyers.

“DOOH doesn’t fit an omnichannel strategy”

OOH was traditionally seen as a standalone media channel, but digital screens are changing this perception. Now, thanks to the data-targeting and measurement of programmatic, brands can fully integrate DOOH into their omnichannel campaigns. The movement of several omnichannel DSPs into the APAC DOOH market illustrates the value the technology delivers for advertisers. For brands, having a single point of access for media buying makes visualizing their omnichannel strategy a much easier process.

Given DOOH is a one-to-many media channel, it can complement and amplify the impact of other media touchpoints at every stage of the consumer sales funnel, from awareness and consideration to conversion. Through programmatic, DOOH can easily be used in conjunction with other marketing channels, such as mobile advertising or CTV to deliver a seamless brand experience. For instance, a brand can serve in-app ads to smartphones that are located within geofenced areas close to DOOH activations and can retarget those devices with sequential messaging after they leave that location.

Of course, in a region as diverse as APAC there are significant differences between individual markets, both in the level of digitization, consolidation, and standardization of OOH inventory and in the availability of data to drive programmatic buying. With agencies and advertisers increasingly investing in technology and expertise to fulfill more programmatic trading in OOH, now is the time for brands and publishers to embrace programmatic DOOH.

Troy Yang is the managing director for North Asia at Hivestack.

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