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Programmatic digital out-of-home: How to get started and deliver results
November 22, 2022
Programmatic online advertising enables marketers to effectively reach their desired audiences, at scale, with minimum wasted spend thanks to sophisticated targeting, precision at scale, and bidding tactics. Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising packs a different punch with strategically located, virtually unmissable advertising screens, offering vast creative potential.
Today, technology offers marketers the ability to combine the power of programmatic’s ‘precision at scale’ with DOOH’s attention grabbing formats - the challenge is understanding how the unique elements of the two can be combined.
To help marketers get started and deliver results in programmatic DOOH (prDOOH) this article explains what goes into a brilliant brief; how to select the right technology and data partners; and how to perfect targeting, creative optimization; and measurement.
Navigating the technology and data landscape
Once you’ve identified prDOOH as a potential channel, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the technology and data landscape. If you’re new to programmatic, you’ll also need to get to grips with the basics of the buying process:
1. The media owner makes impressions available to buy through their chosen supply-side platform (SSP)
2. Media buyers create deals in their chosen demand-side platform (DSP) based on targeting requirements and budget
3. SSPs surface ad opportunities to DSPs including information about the location and audience
4. DSPs identify when there is a match between the ad opportunity presented by an SSP and the advertiser’s targeting criteria and sends a bid amount back to the SSP
5. The creative associated with the winning bid is then shown
When it comes to selecting a DSP there are two options: a specialist DSP that is built specifically for prDOOH, or an omnichannel DSP that offers the ability to buy across multiple channels in a single user interface. The selection of a DSP will depend on your campaign goals and existing technology and data stack. If you need help selecting a DSP, media agencies, media owners, and consultants are well-placed to advise you as each will have experience working with most of the main players.
At this stage, you’ll also need to consider if you will use any first-, second-, or third-party data to inform your bid decisions. If so, you’ll need to ensure that this is part of your DSP selection criteria.
Now you’re ready to write your brief.
What should be included in a prDOOH campaign brief?
Every aspect of your campaign set-up and activation is guided by your brief and ultimately, success hinges on how well your brief communicates your objectives, resources, and media mix. At this stage, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re bringing together two different elements that have nuanced terminology and different applications. Make sure that everyone involved in the briefing process is clear on the meaning of key terms – maintaining a shared, centralized list of terminology and definitions never hurts!
Here’s a handy list of everything you need to consider to create a brilliant brief:
1. What are you trying to achieve? Sales, footfall, brand awareness? Something else?
2. Who is your target audience, where can you find them, and when?
3. What are your creative options – will you be adapting ads from other channels or creating bespoke prDOOH ads?
4. What is your budget?
5. Which DSP are you going to use?
6. When do you want your prDOOH campaign to run?
7. What other marketing channels will be active at the same time?
The answers to these questions will help your chosen media owner partners identify areas where your target audience over-indexes, peak engagement times, suggestions as to what data types will best inform your bid decisioning, and what creative assets are required for each option.
Creative best practices
When it comes to creative, best practices remain broadly similar to traditional DOOH campaigns – stick to one concise message, use short copy, make your ad highly visual, and consider viewing distances.
The difference with prDOOH is that you have the opportunity to change your creative based on triggers. Here are some things to consider:
1. Change the colour scheme of your ads based on weather conditions
2. Tailor your messaging to time of day or day of week
3. Showcase different products based on local stock levels or sales trends
4. Integrate up-to-date information relevant to your target audience sports scores, news, or social sentiment to increase relevance
Measurement and optimization
Unlike traditional DOOH campaigns with set durations, prDOOH offers you the ability to optimise in near real-time based on performance. There are many different metrics you can use to assess the performance of prDOOH – you don’t have to use them all – stick to the ones that align with your goals. Here are some examples:
2. Online sales uplift
3. Footfall / increase in offline sales
4. Increase in performance of other advertising channels
5. Increase in search volume
6. Social sharing
Once your campaign is live, you’ll be able to monitor performance on an hourly basis and identify trends. Keep in mind that just because it’s programmatic doesn’t mean you’ll see immediate results like you may with other programmatic channels. Consider the right timeframe for your initial evaluation – how long is your usual sales cycle? How quickly do you see repeat purchases? How often do you have access to any relevant offline data?
When the time comes, you’ll be looking for deals in your DSP that are over performing and increasing spend there. If you have deals that are underperforming, pause them, find out why and either adjust your targeting and/or bid strategy and reactivate them or reallocate the budget to your best performing deals.
As your campaign progresses, keep an eye on where you’re at versus your targets. With programmatic, when you’ve hit your KPIs you can turn your campaign off – bet you never thought you’d hear that from a media owner! But we’d love to work with you to explore new tactics that could help you achieve even more from prDOOH – check out our guide to test and learn for some inspiration and more advanced tactics.