With the impending demise of third-party cookies comes the demise of the fully addressable and hyper-targeted display and video campaigns that we have been used to during the last 10 years. This means that the growth of emerging programmatic channels such as connected TV (CTV), programmatic digital out-of-home, and digital audio must become a key focus for advertisers to drive industry growth.
Throughout this series Croud will review the market surrounding these emerging channels and share thoughts on the part that they will play.
First off we will be looking at programmatic & digital out-of-home (DOOH).
Programmatic DOOH is defined as digital out-of-home ads that are transacted and fulfilled via automation. Essentially, they utilise real-time bidding (RTB) infrastructure.
An introduction to the market
Prior to February 2020, the wider out-of-home (OOH) market had been experiencing consistent growth for the previous seven years. Throughout these seven years, the amount spent on OOH advertising across Europe increased by 22% – which isn’t bad for an industry that has struggled with any serious innovation since the introduction of the digital billboard in 2005.
As you would expect, however, growth was stunted abruptly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Causing OOH advertising revenue in the UK to drop 83.5% from all time highs in Q4 2019 to the lowest performing quarter in eight years just six months later.
Looking forward, recent forecasts predict that OOH advertising will grow consistently throughout the next few years, but not reach pre-pandemic figures until 2023. Looking deeper into the breakdown, in 2018, share of digital OOH advertising revenue on the total market, eclipsed that of traditional for the first time and therefore the real growth will rely on programmatic development.
The digital marketing industry has seen great results from the introduction of programmatic infrastructure across many channels, from Audio to Connected TV. eMarketer predicts that programmatic DOOH in the US will double year over year through 2021, before tripling in 2022. The European market will be hoping for the same traction.
VIOOH’s State-Of-The-Nation report, highlights two standout themes relating to industry challenges. It mentions (1) nascense regarding informed planning given diverse capabilities, and (2) lack of robust measurement. These are two hurdles that the industry will need to overcome to achieve significant growth.
In order to cover the extensive planning and measurement nuances of programmatic DOOH, I think the best way is to cover the phased process of launching digital OOH activity.
The four-phased approach
From planning, through targeting, before activation and measurement. Let’s jump into these in some more detail.
1. Define your strategy with intrinsic planning
Firstly, as with all campaigns and new products, it is essential to define your strategy with intrinsic planning. DOOH is no different. We would approach this with three planning pillars:
- Defining success – What is the client’s objective, what does success look like and how are we going to measure it? Is the DOOH campaign focused on driving brand awareness, or are we exploring more of the funnel? At this point we must define explicit, quantitative, measurable success metrics.
- Audience insight – Dissecting the market’s consumers, to understand who they are, where they are most likely to be. This is especially important for DOOH and other emerging channels due to the lack of identifiers versus other digital channels. It can be important to define a broader audience as DOOH is, of course, a one-to-many medium (not one-to-one).
- Designing strategy – Determine targeting and channel capabilities that you can use to reach your target audience effectively.
2. Targeting capabilities are vast, but different
There are five main targeting capabilities: Channel/environment, audience behavioural/ audience demographics, triggers, time/dayparting, geo-location or proximity targeting. Most of these are rather self explanatory, but it’s important to call out that any behavioural or demographic targeting is executed by targeting locations that typically index highly against this demographic or behavioural segment. This is one-too-many!
Triggers also allow you to activate and pause DOOH campaigns in line with specific data points. Some triggers that exist are weather, temperature, pollen count, sports results & locations. There are more – essentially any data stream that can be transmitted via an API – and can be used to define your creative strategy, much like dynamic creative templates!
Here are a few of my favourites:
As you can see, it’s also a smart way to generate organic coverage.
3. How do we activate?
We’ve looked at planning and targeting, but how do we bring this all together through activation?
This is a simplified programmatic digital out-of-home framework. It may look familiar as it is very similar to the buying journey of traditional programmatic display.
- On the left hand side we have media owners. Four of the biggest in Europe are Global, Ocean outdoor, JCDecaux and Clear Channel. These big four actually account for 93% of the entire UK market.
- Then we have the supply-side platforms – specialist programmatic digital out-of-home supply side aggregators. Many of these are directly integrated with Media Owner supply. Such as VIOOH, a product by JCDecaux.
Auctions work in the same way as traditional programmatic auctions. A bid request is responded to, within the exchange, by a number of different DSP bids. Simple.
4. And finally, measurement
To put it simply, OOH has always struggled with robust measurement but it has come a long way with a focus on trying to make the DOOH more full-funnel.
These are the current capabilities that you can consider when planning programmatic & DOOH
- Awareness – Includes common delivery metrics (such as impressions and views) that resemble the wider digital landscape. Route is a joint industry initiative and defines impressions as the number of people with an opportunity to see the panel. Therefore, a cost-per-thousand impressions is the cost for 1,000 people to see your ad.
- Consideration – We can use brand lift or incrementality studies to assess consideration, and geo-specialist partners to measure footfall to specific locations or a brand’s store.
- Action – Various partners claim that they can attribute offline sales to programmatic and digital out-of-home via offline sales data and store visits, as well as matching device IDs via proximity targeting to online purchase. But this is still, in my opinion, a long way from competitive conversion measurement.
What’s next for DOOH?
As we saw from the market analysis, the future is bright for programmatic and digital out-of-home, but there are also some key industry challenges that need to be addressed.
Team ownership and full-funnel adoption have been picked out of the SOTN report and it’s clear that there is a bit of a gap in programmatic and performance media teams investing in, and adopting, out-of-home within their media mix. However, the resurgence of demand, post-pandemic, and improving measurement capabilities will help to fill this void.
And finally, the transition of one-to-one, to one-to-many is understandably difficult for digital performance specialists. However, with the imminent demise of the third-party cookie, this is a transition that is now being forced upon performance/precision teams. This provides a great opportunity for DOOH adoption, and all emerging channels generally.