Programmatic OOH needs to “get the fundamentals right”

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 7 May 2015

Ask anyone what the future of media buying looks like and the answer is overwhelmingly 'programmatic'. But when it comes to launching programmatic buying in the out of home (OOH) space, the industry said it's important to “get the fundamentals right” rather than thrusting a system designed for online into a new area.

Video DSP TubeMogul announced its tie up with digital OOH ad exchange Site Tour on Monday, enabling ads on thousands of digital screen across Australia to be bought programmatically.

While the news was widely welcomed, some in the industry – who asked not to be named – noted a need to ensure the programmatic model used is the right one for OOH given its differences to digital and mobile, where programmatic was developed.

One of the core issues is that while audience data on outdoor has improved dramatically, it is a 'one to many' broadcast medium, meaning the one-to-one personalisation seen in the digital programmatic space would be difficult to replicate at scale.

However, speaking to AdNews yesterday, TubeMogul Australia and New Zealand MD Sam Smith said that consolidating brand advertising through software ultimately means an advertiser can plan “holistically across screens”, with one set of reporting and insights to inform optimisation.

“This is important because in a world where viewers are watching everywhere, you need to have better control over who sees which ad, and where, and to drive results,” Smith said. “Having one set of reporting also ensures that insights aren't trapped in silos.”

Already, Smith is reporting a lot of early interest from digital advertisers and trading desks.

Adshel chief commercial officer Mike Tyquin told AdNews the business is very supportive of any moves into programmatic solutions, following on from its role in a pilot program with Cadreon, Brandscreen and Site Tour last year.

“We're very supportive of any and all parties within the ad tech world who are interested to work with OOH vendors,” Tyquin said.

“We've put a flag in the sand a year ago to state our interest in programmatic and our belief is that it is absolutely going to come to outdoor advertising: we've been working for over a year on that now.

“We're happy to have conversations with the like of Cadreon and TubeMogul to see what model can be developed and what is the right model for OOH.”

Inlink MD Oliver Roydhouse said he believes programmatic will definitely play a role in the future planning and buying of OOH.

“However, we caution the view that just because programmatic is so successful in the online space that it can be easily translated into the OOH space,” Roydhouse said.

“While we see the opportunities, we also see some key challenges, not least of which is the differences in advertiser demand, the differences in data available and the differences in format, platforms and environment of the OOH vendors.”

Roydhouse said to make programmatic as successful as it is online, OOH needs a competing dynamic for real time inventory, rich data sets and standardised formats but “the OOH industry doesn't truly have any of these in place today.”

Posterscope MD Joe Copley said when it come to OOH and real time buying, Posterscope is always interested in “pushing the boundaries”, but notes the broad industry is still in its infancy.

“The scale in Australia is very limited at the moment and in the near term: firstly by a lack of real time audience data and secondly by the amount of inventory available to buying in this way. We're working on improving the fundamentals,” Copley said.

However, he said 'programmatic' doesn't necessarily have to mean real-time buying. Posterscope has been developing a system of dynamic, real time messaging - called LivePoster and currently out in the UK - which Copley said is able to boost the effectiveness of messaging.

“A more relevant message is more effective and DOOH enables us to change the message in real time,” Copley said. “LivePoster makes the whole process a lot more achievable at a campaign level, by automating and centralising dynamic message or content delivery to multiple format screens.”

“We're spending more of our time and effort working with our clients to understand how much beneficial it will be to use dynamic messaging.”

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