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Natalia Escribano 

The future of digital out-of-home is programmatic

The future of digital out-of-home is programmatic

Partner contentMore media buyers are learning how to implement programmatic OOH and there are more unified standards and measurements coming into place.

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the whole world upside down and impacted nearly all industries, including out of home. At VIOOH, we have seen through our research and from increased client demand, the need for campaign flexibility has been critical for brands due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

The resulting accelerated adoption of programmatic out of home shows that, once used for the first time, advertisers are becoming reluctant to return to more traditional buying methods for OOH.

This month, VIOOH released its annual ‘Programmatic Out of Home State of the Nation’ whitepaper. The paper surveyed and interviewed 1,000 advertising and agency executives across five markets (UK, US, Germany, France and Australia) to gain a deeper insight into their perceptions of programmatic OOH and what they predict for the future.

For me, the report highlighted four key factors behind the increased adoption of programmatic out of home and what will also be the driving forces for its continued growth:

Multi-channel campaigns

Programmatic is increasingly being seen as an enabler to support both brand and performance objectives, and due to this relevance at both ends of the funnel, we’re starting to see a real shift in programmatic OOH being planned and bought alongside other programmatic digital channels.

In the UK, nearly nine out of ten (89%) of executives stated they plan to integrate programmatic OOH more into their multi-channel campaigns. This helps advertisers reinforce their comms to market across channels, and makes it easier to plan and buy media strategically.

It is this increased inclusion into multi-channel campaigns that will be a key driver in the widespread adoption of programmatic OOH both in the UK and globally.

Attracting new buyers to OOH

Programmatic out of home is still a relatively new way of trading media that has emerged from a well-established and successful medium. However, programmatic data is helping digital buyers better understand the out of home market, opening the doors to new buyers who may not previously had OOH within their buying remit.

This increased adoption is already starting to show and was highlighted in our research findings, with over half (58%) of UK agency executives stating they have planned programmatic OOH alongside other programmatic campaigns.

Continued education

Like with any new technology, it takes time for companies to learn how to use it, integrate it into their business and fine-tune how it works alongside existing technologies that have been in places for longer periods of time.

Therefore, education is and will be a key player in the continued growth of programmatic out of home. The more knowledge that buyers gain, will have a positive knock-on effect on the whole ecosystem. Currently, OOH specialists are learning about programmatic technology and benefits, whilst digital programmatic specialists are starting to understand the nuances and differences of programmatic OOH compared with other programmatic channels.

Agency executives are showing confidence in the future of programmatic out of home by investing in the long term - with almost nine out of ten (88%) of UK executives planning to invest in programmatic OOH expertise.

Unified standards and measurement

Another area that is highlighted in the report as needing more understanding is the measurement across all digital channels, including programmatic OOH. The ability to measure campaign performance across multiple digital channels is key for UK executives - with nearly nine out of ten (86%) stating this is an important factor for them when determining future investment in this new media buying method.

At VIOOH, we are working alongside other players and industry bodies to agree on unified standards, the first step to being able to align measurement across providers and with other channels.

With increased inclusion into multi-channel campaigns, more media buyers learning how to implement programmatic OOH and with more unified standards and measurements coming into place, the future of programmatic out of home looks extremely strong and I believe the best is yet to come for the digital out of home industry.

Natalia Escribano is chief commercial officer at VIOOH 


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 for more information.

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