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Mungo Knott 

How programmatic OOH changes the landscape

How programmatic OOH changes the landscape

Partner contentThe revolution which has been taking place in outdoor advertising means we are now much better placed to reach the needs of clients than in previous recessionary cycles, writes Global's Mungo Knott

Sadly, no business or person will have remained untouched by the seismic change to our daily lives as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic.

The outdoor advertising business was negatively impacted by two significant factors overnight. Firstly, the change in use of outdoor space which is so integral to our societal behaviour, influencing where we work, live, shop, mobilise, socialise and exercise. Secondly, the change in prioritisation of marketing cash within businesses as they rapidly reacted to demand fluctuation, employee accessibility and future uncertainty.

Five months later and with the exception of the proliferation of face masks, the outdoor space around us is feeling closer to normal. Road traffic has returned to its normal level and we are seeing a steady return of customers to the London Underground as we begin to move around the capital again, returning to shops and our places of work. The opportunity for advertisers to connect at scale with audiences using outdoor advertising is certainly back.

Winners prevail in all situations and some businesses will have done well as a result of the change in behaviour. Demand for bikes grew 50%, whilst corner shops and independent grocery stores saw sales surge 63% and supermarkets enjoyed doubling of online groceries in June. But for many, the unknown of a W, V, U or L shaped market future makes brand and product investment a cautious calculation.

Outdoor advertising has been building brands longer than any other medium and has an unchanged core strength. The un-encumbered proposition, artistically presented and collectively viewed, provides an ongoing backdrop to our daily out of home experience, effectively building product and brand familiarity, which creates trust and leads to purchase loyalty.

There is plenty of scholarly advice on the long term value of continuing to advertise during a recession and also on taking the opportunity to put your product or services in front of an audience at a time such as this, when we are more likely to reassess our established norms of purchase and behaviour, but it can still be a challenging business decision to make such a forward commitment.

The revolution which has been taking place in outdoor advertising does however mean that we are now much better placed to reach the needs of clients than in previous recessionary cycles.

Media owners and technology providers have been moving the medium inexorably towards it being a programmatically accessible advertising channel. Whether the environment is road, rail or retail, the opportunity exists for advertisers to easily purchase inventory in the most flexible and most targeted manner.

At Global, our well established DAX audio platform has been expanded to encompass Global’s digital outdoor inventory, and we have partnered with other outdoor media owners including Elonex and Admedia to deliver a scalable inventory source which demand side platforms can easily connect to on behalf of their advertising agencies and clients.

A single spot on a single location can be purchased with no upfront commitment and just 60 mins before the ad is played out, by a machine using both data and control logic.

The result of this integration is that advertisers can now target, pace and track their campaign performance in real time. They can then measure the effect of their advertising on audience sentiment, investigation or purchase activity to deliver a clearer picture of investment performance.

This now means outdoor campaigns can be managed in a similar way to online communication by dialling up and down the campaign distribution and frequency of exposure, creating a reduced risk and the opportunity for a higher ROI. Access connected through dedicated or Omnichannel Demand Side Platform’s will make control available at the point of execution within the same or similar software applications used by advertising agencies or those clients who in house their online media buying.

To ensure that this is a practical strategic route for clients in DAX, we have set aside a proportion of the inventory time in every minute on each screen to be available through the DAX platform. This ensures that a client who wants to purchase inventory in the next hour will always have the opportunity to do so, rather than being at risk of inventory being presold.

As we walk forward in our slightly more uncertain world there is no doubt that outdoor advertising will continue to help build many of the best known brands of the future, and that our new connected technology will provide a more agile purchase approach, opening up access for business to trial and use this pure advertising medium.


Mungo Knott, director of automation & platforms – outdoor at Global


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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