DOOH programming is rapidly transforming the outdoor advertising industry

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By Ben Binder

Outdoor advertising (OOH) has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, and research shows that digital outdoor advertising (DOOH) investment in Canada fell by almost a quarter between 2019 and 2020.

Despite this, as many parts of the world show signs of economic recovery and audiences return to shared spaces once again, the DOOH industry is set to rebound, driven largely by programmatic DOOH. The industry is expected to grow by around 12-15%, to reach $929 million by the end of 2023, as more advertisers realize the unique benefits it offers.

Programmatic technology in the OOH space has revolutionized the old manual process of IO where OOH trading was once traded exclusively by people, involving location scouting, lengthy negotiations, traffic and mapping. This offers unique benefits for brands, agencies, media owners and audiences. Here are the key benefits DOOH programmatic advertising can offer brands and why the technology is revolutionizing the industry.

The 3 Fs: flexibility, fluidity and sustainability

Advertising and marketing budgets have been most vulnerable during the pandemic as companies have tried to stay afloat by cutting spending. Post-pandemic, marketers need to know they’re getting the most bang for their buck, so they’re looking for solutions that prioritize campaign measurement and budget fluidity.

Programmatic pricing models have always been flexible, allowing brands to increase or decrease their spend based on campaign performance or factors beyond the company’s control. This is also true in the DOOH space where marketers can adjust campaign settings and even pause campaigns in real time, which is completely unique to the channel. The traditional OOH model sees campaigns purchased weeks, often months, in advance, resulting in messaging that is “locked in” and unable to adapt to changing external factors. Unleashing the ability to optimize real-time campaign flighting and delivery has been widely embraced, allowing programmatic DOOH to be a more responsive channel than others in a brand’s marketing mix.

Programmatically powered Open Exchange and Private Marketplace (PMP) trading options provide buyers with unprecedented insight into the entire market via a consolidated dashboard. From this control center, they can get a holistic view of the entire campaign lifecycle and adjust delivery pace in response to real-time performance metrics delivered directly to them.

Right place, right time, right audience

The effectiveness of OOH and DOOH advertising is often location dependent. Brands and advertisers can leverage the power of location targeting to engage the most relevant audiences with the most relevant contextual messages.

While traditional location-based, pre-purchased campaigns can leave advertisers on their toes when consumer behaviors change, programmatic DOOH can increase efficiency and adaptability, using location-based identification mobile to deliver data-driven efficiency; something that traditional OOH campaigns cannot offer. Activations can be based on factors such as weather, temperature, traffic, and audience movement to determine when, where, and how DOOH inventory can be used to provide maximum reach and consumer engagement.

Images courtesy Hivestack

Advertisers can refine the targeting of their campaigns with parameters such as audience concentration, geofencing, weather conditions, and audience proximity to a particular point of interest. They are then able to dig deeper, identifying specific audience segments to target based on anonymized data, including inputs such as dwell time, footfall, affinity, and personalities. This data-rich environment of thoroughly verified mobile location data empowers advertisers to deliver creative to the most receptive target audience at the right time to increase lasting impact and drive marketing results.

Programmatic proof points

A historical challenge for OOH campaigns has been effective measurement; know who saw an ad when and what impact it had on the potential customer. Because OOH is a one-to-many offline channel, there is no direct return path for creative as there is with digital advertising, where online tracking paints a picture of effectiveness in real time.

Programmatic DOOH provides advertisers with a strong body of evidence to prove campaign effectiveness and the ability to map consumer journeys to purchase and tie business outcomes to DOOH ad exposure. Marketers have access to full insight into a campaign’s impact on awareness, consideration, and intent through to conversion, while respecting user privacy. This last factor is becoming increasingly vital as the industry conversation around privacy and data management grows louder.

Using mobile location data, marketers can geotag DOOH screens in specific areas, then analyze (at scale) mobile handsets that pass in front of those screens, matching them to read logs in order to constitute a large public of consumers exposed to these screens. Brands with physical stores can then use programmatic DOOH platforms to measure and report in-store footfall directly related to exposure to DOOH ads.

Meanwhile, brands without a physical location, unable to compare or tie campaign effectiveness to footfall, can still use programmatic DOOH to measure the impact of their campaigns. Analytics built into programmatic DOOH campaign dashboards can provide metrics on audience behaviors related to specific campaign goals such as brand enhancement.

Programmatic DOOH is rapidly transforming the OOH industry, combining the scale of OOH advertising with unprecedented data-driven targeting capabilities, buying agility and measurement, positioning the channel as an integral part of the marketing mix of brands.

Ben Bookbinder is Vice President of Canadian Sales at Hivestack. Bookbinder, a digital and programmatic marketing media professional, joined Hivestack in April 2019. He drives the strategic growth of the Hivestack Canada business. Previously, Bookbinder served as Director of Strategic Partnerships at former WPP programmatic ad technology company, The Exchange Lab.

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