What is programmatic DOOH? And how can you get it right?

Wonder what programmatic digital out of home (pDOOH) is? We explore the challenges, the benefits, and how you can get it right.

What exists in the physical world, is ad-block proof, creates mass awareness, has impressive visibility and is now digital? You guessed it, digital out of home (DOOH).

Digital out of home has seen a steady growth since 2017, particularly in Europe and US, and Statistica forecasts a long-term acceleration of DOOH advertising market at least till 2027.

But lately we’ve been seeing increasing growth in programmatic DOOH. Find out what it is, the five challenges you face in adopting it, the benefits it can offer, and how get it right.

What is programatic DOOH?

So what exactly IS programmatic DOOH (pDOOH). Programmatic DOOH enables digital media buyers to identify audiences they want to reach in relevant ad environments, and be able to optimise towards time of day, weather conditions, etc.

When the circumstances are right and the conditions are met, the transaction automatically takes place and the ad displays on screen [2].

As Broadsign says, pDOOH is a more refined approach to digital OOH so you get all the normal benefits of DOOH plus extra as you can enhance your offering via data.

Three reasons why pDOOH is better than DOOH

There are three key reasons why brands should embrace pDOOH.

1. Data

Programmatic transactions enable brands to set specific conditions, based on external data, that will trigger the purchase of a DOOH ad slot.

There’s virtually no limit to the kinds of data that can be used to trigger content, too. For example, you can go for simple options, such as having different creative delivered based on the time of day.

Or you can opt for more advanced options, like the weather, daily market performance, or the ongoing results of a sporting event. You can even use live audience information to trigger content ideal for the majority of people at a location at any given time.

And, of course, you can use multiple triggers based on multiple data sources to get really granular with your targeting.

Using one or more data triggers to drive a programmatic DOOH campaign can result in really creative and memorable campaigns, and helps make sure that your ads are seen by your audience at the most relevant times.

2. Speed and flexibility

While programmatic doesn’t allow anything that can you can’t do with a direct buy, it DOES ensure much greater speed and efficiency. It enables brands to deliver relevant messaging faster and without needing to make repeated direct buys.

Whatever conditions you choose to set, programmatic can help you achieve similar results. When the time is right, you can deliver the right message to the right screen to reach your audience, whoever they are, automatically.

3. Easily accessible

An increasing number of DSPs are embracing programmatic DOOH, making it easier than ever to add DOOH to multichannel campaigns.

The five challenges in pDOOH adoption

We’ve used PwC’s report from August 2019, in partnership with IAB, Growing Programmatic DOOH: Opportunities and Challenges, and the IAB’s The Opportunity In Digital Out-Of-Home Programmatic Advertising to identify five key challenges in adopting pDOOH.

1. Education

As with all new innovations there is always a level of education required as a means of accelerating the adoption of the new norm amongst key stakeholders, and pDOOH is no acceptation to this.

According to a study conducted by the IAB and PwC 95% of participants interviewed identified education as one of the barriers of the adoption of pDOOH.

Education is required on both the buy-side and the sell-side on brand safety. It needs to explain:

  • What are the benefits of pDOOH in comparison to traditional OOH, and how it compares and aligns with other digital mediums.
  • The capabilities of pDOOH and how it can bring added value to clients and how attribution is measured.
  • How pDOOH is transacted to a one-to-many approach, as well as one-to-one targeting. It also needs to explain the media planning requirements and how this new feature should sit with programmatic buying agencies.

2. Fragmentation

A lack of inventory consolidation in the market across commercially available pDOOH solutions has resulted in a fragmentation of inventory.

This fragmentation across markets has made it difficult for some partners to accurately forecast and plan. Furthermore, not all platforms are programmatically enabled, meaning some buy side platforms are not able to buy from a single DSP, causing inefficiency.

3. Standardisation

43% of respondents from the IAB and PwC study stated non- standardisation as a major barrier to the full adoption of pDOOH.

The lack of standardisation of data and inventory within the industry means that a multi-platform buying approach is restrictive at present.

In order for pDOOH buying to increase there needs to be a standardised methodology of both data definition and data collection, which in turn needs to be adopted and implemented by all players within the market.

4. Attribution

Industry recognized attribution is currently lacking across both DOOH and pDOOH

5. Quality and transparency in audience data

On the buy-side, data privacy regulations and their evolution are a concern when it comes to quality and collection methods. Furthermore, media buyers are unclear on the accuracy and methodology of collection of the underlying data.

And five benefits of programmatic DOOH

But surely there must be some benefits of pDOOH? Here are five important ones brands don’t want to overlook.

1. The strength of data: Only bid when you want to

Being able to show your ad via data fuelled triggers will increase accuracy and reduce wastage. You can deliver different creatives based on time of day, weather, foot traffic, road traffic, events etc and can also use a combination of these to reach more niche audiences if required.

2. Flexibility: Automatic stop and start

Like other programmatic channels, it will allow you to deliver relevant messaging very quickly and without having to make repeated direct buys.

3. DCO: Creating relevance

DCO is one of the greatest opportunities within programmatic and to be able to incorporate this into DOOH will be a game changer for pDOOH.

4. Attribution: Closing the loop

There is a global consensus that Mobile device IDs and transaction data will be key to attribution modelling for pDOOH. If a consumer’s path to purchase can be mapped from their mobile location to transactional data at a point of sale, the attribution loop could be closed.

As the whole industry is moving towards data-driven planning/buying approach, it is likely that a solution will eventually be identified and developed.

5. Standardisation: Working with CPM

Standardisation for pDOOH would mean we would be able to qualify the same metrics for it as we are using for other programmatic digital channels so the method of buying and assessing performance will be standardised across the board.

Now let’s talk Australia

In Australia, DOOH accounts for more than half (52.3%) of total net outdoor media revenue and has grown for nine consecutive years now.

However, Australia is behind other markets when it comes to the adoption of programmatic DOOH. This isn’t because the value of pDOOH is not fully understood – planners and buyers both agree and understand the benefits of going programmatic.

So what is holding Australia back?

To build out a healthy programmatic DOOH in Australia we need to address three key areas – education, standardisation and attribution.

Looking at key market players, I see Broadsign as one of the leaders in pDOOH for Australia as they have integrated with a number of DSPs to allow advertisers to tap into this inventory programmatically.

Other OOH players are also working on programmatic integrations however we must remember this will not happen overnight.

How to get pDOOH right

Now that Australia is prioritising growth in this space, here are some tips for your pDOOH approach.

1. Start with audience targeting

Start with activating a part of audience targeting such as time targeting, weather targeting etc. and build up from there

2. Don’t test DCO for your first campaign

Rather than testing DCO, for your first campaign we recommend getting familiar with this way of buying programmatic and once you have run a few tests, invest in a DCO campaign to try out some clever targeting.

You can still run different creatives for different times of day, weather etc. but true dynamic will come further down the line. If you would like to run a multi-message pDOOH campaign please reach out to us and we will be happy to work on creative strategies for you

3. Qualify success for your brand

There will be limitations to standardised metrics, and ‘success’ may take some time so think of ways you would measure success, this could be done via seeing more sales, more foot traffic in those areas, overall increase in searches etc.

In summary, this is the right time to get into programmatic DOOH as being one of the early birds, you will influence the evolution of pDOOH in Australia.