2016: The year of programmatic outdoor trading

By Ina Arens | 04 Dec 2015

Programmatic is about to embark on a new journey - no longer restricted to desktop computers, mobiles and TV screens, it will now infiltrate outdoor screens. While many advertisers are still getting to grips with this 'new' way of trading display advertising space, the media-buying powerhouses are sprinting ahead. Their vision is to extend brand messaging beyond the domestic four walls of consumers

Australia has been at the forefront of Programmatic Outdoor. Driven by IPG Mediabrands Cadreon and local Digital Out Of Home (DOOH) companies such as Brandscreen and Site Tour, outdoor advertising space has been trading programmatically for over a year now. Earlier this year, TubeMogul, a video demand-side platform, joined this partnership, enabling advertisers to buy 15-second ad slots programmatically on DOOH screens.

Here in the UK, Xaxis, WPP's digital media-buying platform, has just announced the launch of its own DOOH technology, while on the publisher side Rubicon Project has collaborated with Bitposter. The latter says it will offer a staggering 98% of the UK's outdoor inventory to advertisers. Partnerships like these will allow advertisers to buy audiences whilst they are on the go, for example in shopping centres, train stations, taxis and sports stadiums. Underpinned by data and the capabilities of audience segmentation, brands can ensure the right message reaches the right consumers. The data currently available is mostly location-based, allowing for hyper-local targeting. Bitposter will use demographic, geographic and contextual data to achieve appropriate targeting and, technological advancements permitting, experts are hoping to use facial recognition, weather data and GPS location data to enhance messaging options.

In a brave new 2016, we can potentially follow customers' journeys from awareness to intent and then, at the right moment in time, target them with programmatically-traded DOOH ads, for example by offering customers a discount if they were to purchase at the nearby store around the corner. Furthermore, demographic data can also be stored on membership cards, which allows advertisers to bid on programmatic outdoor ad spaces, such as tube platforms. In this case, as soon as enough people matching their target group criteria tap in at the station, an ad campaign could be triggered on the platform, instantly bringing popular products top-of-mind in key locations at key times.

There are some obvious benefits to trading outdoor ad spaces programmatically; it is efficient, targeted and accountable. Similarly, it can also increase sales of local businesses and, as such, bring an economic uplift to locations with DOOH screens.

Above all, it can be the bridge between domestic screens and outdoor screens, drawing a full circle of a user's physical journey through today's digitalised world. Let 2016 be the year of Programmatic Outdoor Trading!

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