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Now is the perfect time to unlock the potential of programmatic OOH

23 Jul 2020  |  Helen Miall 
Now is the perfect time to unlock the potential of programmatic OOH

As the UK lockdown begins to lift, Helen Miall calls on the world's advertising brains to reconsider how they use outdoor

How many of us have taken the opportunity in lockdown to give consideration to some of our day-to-day habits? The pace of modern life means few people have the luxury of pausing to re-evaluate the things they do on autopilot. It often takes a major event to stop us in our tracks and invite us to look at our attitude, processes or priorities from a different angle.

As an industry that’s defined by audience behaviour, lockdown has meant advertisers have had to completely reset their approach to messaging, content and/or platform. When the country entered lockdown, the vast majority of OOH’s regular audiences significantly changed their behaviour patterns quite literally overnight, moving away from the daily commute, and reducing their outside time to exercise and essential visits to shops.

But as we start resuming more of our everyday movements, I would like to challenge the world’s advertising brains to reconsider how they use the channel.

OOH is the oldest advertising medium in the world. Today, thanks to the availability of highly accurate and granular audience data and cutting edge technology, it is also one of the most impactful, emotive and impressive channels out there. And when you introduce the technology of programmatic OOH, you can add to that list of credentials efficiency, effectiveness, precision targeting and omni-channel suitability.

High-spec digital screens combined with creative originality have led to some of the most breathtaking, innovative OOH ad campaigns, but for too many brands there remains one significant missed opportunity.

Programmatic digital OOH - progOOH - opens up a whole new world of possibility around cross-media campaigns for both brand and performance-led messaging, the likes of which no other platform can offer on this scale.

In a world as cluttered as ours, brilliantly creative advertising stands out. Audiences are genuinely stopped in their tracks by clever advertising that resonates with them directly at that moment in time, something that can only be enabled by the intelligent use of data, not only in the planning and buying phases, but also in the creative execution.

The power of programmatic DOOH ads is best demonstrated when the advertising is contextually relevant, responsive, and reactive. Programmatic ads which are triggered by predetermined conditions can be bought as creative sequential executions, or dynamic creative that directly references the current environment, increasing relevance and effectiveness.

Digital OOH screens can act as the centrepiece of a campaign and, with intelligent programmatic planning, can tie-in seamlessly with mobile, taking an individual from street to store to mobile device with contextually relevant messaging appropriate to platform, time of day, stage of journey and so much more.

Prior to lockdown, a mobile and digital OOH cross-channel programmatic strategy used to promote a range of health clubs drove a 2.35x increase in footfall to clubs, which rose to 2.44x following in-campaign optimisation.

This synergy between progOOH and mobile is just one way you achieve the brand impact of premium digital OOH, followed up with mobile in a more personalised way.

OOH has always been known for its impactful, eye-popping creative; with digitisation, this increased, and the opportunities have only further expanded with programmatic.

When using progOOH, advertisers can still benefit from a brand safe environment: creative that does not comply with certain location restrictions - such as those near schools - are automatically scheduled to other screens.

But unlike in display, there is no “long-tail” of inventory - the fixed number of screens and visibility on the media owners in the programmatic OOH ecosystem means every site is premium inventory; no unforeseen consumer behaviour can automatically trigger your ad to play in a poor quality or undesirable environment; and due to the broadcast nature, all creative content is approved by media owners.

ProgOOH is also cost-effective. For a long time it has been possible to run digital OOH ads that are triggered by certain conditions - the weather, sporting results and so on - but spots must still be bought in advance, with the opportunity limited to running either default or alternative copy. With programmatic OOH, if the trigger conditions are not met, the execution does not run, reducing wastage and making the campaign budget go further.

A planner that fully understands the true potential of programmatic now has at their disposal one of the most powerful tools for any brand wishing to make the most of their budget with hyper-targeted messaging and planning. Which is, surely, a universal objective. All this, delivered on a highly impactful broadcast channel.

Programmatic OOH is a new breed of advertising medium for modern audiences. It’s a game-changer in innovation for the sector, offering untapped opportunity for brands to run high quality, acutely targeted and aesthetically beautiful ads across the digital landscape.

Today I’m urging all media and creative agencies alike to free themselves to embrace this new approach.

Do not miss out on an opportunity to overhaul your messaging and unlock the true power of programmatic OOH. Guarantee your work gets in front of the right people at the right time and in the right place, resonating, influencing and engaging them in equal measure.


Helen Miall is CMO at VIOOH


On July 23 Mediatel Events will be hosting The Future of OOH, a half-day digital stream dedicated to exploring the challenges and opportunities within the outdoor advertising industry. Click here to view the agenda and register for FREE here.


Mediatel operate two essential services for the OOH industry. SPACE is a collaboration between IPAO and Outsmart and is the most comprehensive and up-to-date list of inventory in the UK. The RouteAPI is a SaaS solution that enables easy integration of Route audience data into client's systems. See mediatel.co.uk for more information.

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05 Aug 2020 

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