Out-Of-Home Is Going Programmatic: 4 Things Everyone Should Know

Out-of-home (OOH) is expected to grow significantly by 2020 with some projections as high as 12%. This is much faster than most other forms of media and OOH amounted to $2.7 billion in US ad spending last year.

With digital inventories continuously expanding, OOH media sellers are looking into opportunities with programmatic purchasing. Many of the big US firms like Lamar, Clear Channel Outdoor, and Outfront Media, are taking the steps necessary to make programmatic buying and targeting more available for their digital inventories.

This holds a lot of potential for providing a big boom to the industry, but digital OOH is a little bit different from programmatic OOH.


1. Digital OOH is Different from Programmatic OOH

Normally, digital OOH is sold as repetitive ad cycles that represent a set schedule known as ‘spots’ or ‘loops’. However, in order for this development to work, media sellers need to convert to a general auction mechanic that they are used to in other forms of digital.

Unfortunately, there are some challenges to this. It is difficult to determine the exact amount of impressions that a board gives as no one can really say if foot traffic passing by is actually looking at the ad. While foot traffic does give some indicator, the DPAA and Prohaska Consulting are developing some standards to help media sellers value their programmatic inventory in relation to digital purchases.


2. Real-Time Bidding (RTB) has Low Participation in Programmatic OOH

Currently, it is difficult to properly facilitate auctions because the demand for it is still low. Some sellers are concerned that opening programmatic OOH to RTB might devalue their inventories.  However, this form of media does have a finite inventory due to the limited digital billboard spaces that are active.

“OOH is physical real estate and there is a value and a limited amount of premium placements, keeping costs stable,” states Krupp from Kinetic. Others think that programmatic guarantee is the way to go until demand can start to reflect the supply.


3. Programmatic OOH can be Measured with Mobile Location Data

In OOH, media purchasers typically evaluate movement patterns and estimations of foot traffic to target large audiences. This has created space for mobile location data to become the main indicator of impression rates, which is being used to create stronger media plans.

Buyers can evaluate the movement patterns of target audiences and create calculated ad location placements based on the people they want to impact. They can also follow the data to see if people exposed to the advertisements actually followed through with an in-store purchase.


4. External Data can Inform Creative Timing and Placement

Some data such as weather and traffic cues also provide even greater dynamic placement of creative. Elements such as the time of day and current weather conditions can be used to target people when it is most likely to have the strongest impact. This can make OOH an even more effective tool of reaching people when it is more likely to push an impression that matters.