Programmatic OOH's strength lies in content, canvas and context

27 Jun 2017  |  Glen Wilson 
Programmatic OOH's strength lies in content, canvas and context

For a legacy medium like out-of-home, there are a number of crucial factors to consider when gearing up for an automated future, writes Posterscope's Glen Wilson

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) is increasingly being used in more flexible, dynamic ways and integrating more and more varied data sources, consequently allowing us to display ever more relevant content to audiences.

As a result of these advancements, programmatic OOH capabilities are accelerating at pace now too. You can’t go far without reading or hearing about OOH programmatic at the moment, both in the UK and across the globe.

We have seen announcements recently from a number of media owners launching programmatic capabilities, and I think these developments will only continue to intensify in the coming months.

But while all these media owners have announced tangible, exciting and significant developments, with substantial resource and investment behind them, there are still differing views about what programmatic means for the OOH medium, and perhaps more importantly, the benefits it will offer to advertisers.

As programmatic media developed alongside the digital and mobile media model, the programmatic transactional element adapted simultaneously to become automated.

There are several considerations to automate that transactional element for a legacy medium like OOH, not least taking into account physical inventory. Therefore Programmatic OOH is being defined in many different ways and it is yet to be determined which trading model will ultimately win out - Programmatic Guaranteed, Private Marketplace or RTB/Open Exchange.

Running alongside the debate over transactional models is the planning opportunities that programmatic can provide. As media owners invest in API systems that match real-time

availability with data sources this will certainly enable faster, more efficient planning by specialists and agencies. Almost all the major OOH players in the UK are working to deliver this to some extent in 2017.

For the Posterscope team, however, the most exciting and important aspect of programmatic OOH is the transformation that automated ad-serving of creative has enabled. The ability to tailor content based on real-time data optimisation is potentially the biggest single step forward for the OOH medium in decades.

Numerous studies have shown that the more relevant and contextual an advertising message is, the more it resonates with an audience. This is particularly true for OOH, where a consumer’s location, state-of-mind and purpose plays an immensely influential role.

Key findings from Theoretical VirtuoCity Research in the effectiveness of this “dynamic difference” revealed that ad-serving relevant content by audience increases the overall effectiveness of a campaign by +15%.

Furthermore, we know this makes a difference to a brand’s interaction with their audience. The research from VirtuoCity also revealed that using dynamic DOOH to deliver a more contextually relevant message increases advertising awareness by 18%, recall of the specific creative messages by 53% and creative/brand perceptions by 11%.

We’ve seen huge investment in digital screens in the past few years and by leveraging the agility and flexibility of these increasingly digital networks, we can utilise real-time planning to deliver pieces of communication automatically, in a given time or place, driven by pre-programmed rules.

Additionally we have the increased ability to ad-serve and optimise creative delivery with messages that contain dynamic elements and, informed by data, reflect more closely what audiences are thinking, feeling and doing at those moments.

We are already serving creative content that adapts to multiple, real-time feeds, such as weather, traffic flow, sales, social media trends and a multitude of other business drivers, via the Liveposter platform, along with creative content drawn from pre-produced work or created and edited in real time in response to these data triggers.

Unfortunately this dynamic capability is far from being used to its full potential and is currently the award-winning work of the few rather than the many.

More than the new types of trading models, it is this customisable aspect of OOH programmatic that is capable of transforming the creative potential of the medium, attracting new advertisers to it, building its overall share of media spend and, most importantly, delivering dramatically more effective campaigns.

This is this is where the OOH industry needs to focus, communicating this world of possibility to advertisers and the agencies that represent them.


Glen Wilson is managing director at Posterscope

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