Taking Programmatic Out-Of-Home

The programmatic landscape is set to expand beyond the domestic household screens with opportunities increasingly arising on mobile and now in the digital out-of-home (OOH) sector.

Australia has proven a progressive market for this emerging technology with the formation of a specialist consortium aimed at developing the opportunities in this space even further earlier this year.

The consortium consists of IPG Mediabrands' programmatic buying division Cadreon, plus home-grown firms Brandscreen and Site Tour and has launched 1,000 OOH screens that can display media that is traded on a programmatic basis.

ExchangeWire's Wendy Hogan speaks with Vicki Lyon, Site Tour, chief commercial officer, and Marc Lomas, Cadreon, geneal manager, Australia, about the inventory and data opportunity for the digital OOH sector, as they prime themselves to export the market across the wider APAC region.

Can you explain the programmatic outdoor concept?   

VL: With programmatic outdoor, advertisers can buy digital out of home (DOOH) inventory while taking into consideration their overall digital media plan by connecting the media consumers are viewing on their personal devices with OOH media spots in locations such as malls, train stations, gyms and elevators.

It is essentially the idea of programmatic that has become somewhat standard now in our industry combined with the online experience in terms of buying and selling, but applied to digital inventory that sits in the outdoor space.

What markets do you cover?

VL: Site Tour has been operating in Australia for the past six months - we’re currently used by all the major media agencies in Australia.  Through the partnership with Cadreon, the business is about to expand into Asia Pacific. There is a lot of interest in programmatic outdoor opportunities at the moment and a lot of that is coming from major Asian hubs such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

How does Cadreon work with Site Tour for programmatic DOOH?

VL: Cadreon launched the first programmatic DOOH campaigns with Site Tour in Australia. The partnership sees Cadreon’s marketing services platforms integrate closely with Site Tour’s programmatic outdoor platform to create an Australian first digital outdoor solution which can be rolled out to other markets.

ML: This convergence represents a real evolution for both the digital and OOH industries. It is a step closer to replacing mass advertising with personalized communications that add value to people’s experiences and can continue unimpaired by location or screen”

The real benefit for clients using programmatic DOOH is that they can reach people at their closest points of purchase, multiple times, on a date and time that fits clients’ marketing and business objectives, we can now deliver highly customised messaging that can change through a 24-hour period to complement the nature of customer traffic passing each individual digital panel.

Just as we are used to watching customised content on our digital screens– DOOH becomes a fifth and distinctive screen with the advent of programmatic OOH delivery.”

A key promise of programmatic is data driven targeting. What kind of data is available to drive the audience targeting opportunities for programmatic DOOH?

VL: The data available is location based data for targeting hyper local and real time campaigns and we think this will soon become the norm. This data is currently available and soon you’ll see campaigns using facial recognition, weather data and GPS location data.

The data comes from multiple sources so it builds up and creates a much more detailed audience breakdown than one source would be able to provide.

What are the biggest challenges you're observing in the industry and how has that evolved in the time you've been establishing the marketplace?

VL: The biggest challenge is getting the outdoor vendors to allocate enough inventory into programmatic. This is a very new way of buying for most of them, and a lot of education still needs to take place.

It’s a challenge that we have seen in the past, however, with other forms of technology as they have appeared. You just have to look at online, and then digital video. Generally speaking the audience has been available long before the advertisers are willing to commit.

Also it’s about getting the digital buyers to understand DOOH as this is where the budgets should be coming from, not necessarily directly from the OOH budget, which is already significantly smaller than that of its digital counterpart.

Compared to the Asia market, Australia is often cited as expensive. Why do you think the Australian market continues to show such robust CPMs, especially in video?

There is a shortage of supply and lack of quality content - advertisers are wanting to move with their audiences across multiple screens, so TV dollars are naturally moving to digital. Advertisers need to start thinking of adding the fifth screen to their all screen strategy.

A lot of dollars have been spent capturing the few hours we spend watching TV, but what about the screen time when we're commuting, or doing our daily grind at the office, the gym or the mall.

We are so used to viewing content whenever and wherever we want it that using screens in strategically placed locations such as the gym, petrol station or mall is an invaluable way for brands to target consumers using the same TV style format for engagement when their not at home.

But also, it’s so obvious it can be ignored too. We need to drive more understanding of the new space both in Australia and the Asia/Pacific.

Is there much digital OOH inventory? Is the lack of it being allocated to programmatic a similar situation to digital video where the direct yield is perceived to be higher, or it's being packaged with something else for example?

VL: In certain markets there will definitely be more DOOH inventory than others, and the volumes like all other media that went this route will flow once the benefits of the buying via audiences and in a more efficient way are realised.

At the moment in Australia there is a good amount of DOOH inventory, but that’s not to say there couldn’t be more. In fact, there will be more, plenty more, as new opportunities arise and traditional billboards are replaced with new digital ones.

Ideally we want a lot more DOOH inventory and huge amounts of advertisers wanting to buy up that inventory, but at the moment we probably have the right amount of DOOH inventory for the interest shown from advertisers, which is a good place to be.