5 months of Broadsign Reach data, 3 programmatic findings

July 9, 2019Matthew Mercuri

Programmatic DOOH is about data. We’ve reached the point in our little island of the advertising game where intuition needs to lead to testable hypotheses, and where real decisions can be made based on the findings.
With this in mind, the Broadsign Reach team has been profiling, compiling and aggregating information based on the billions of data points in our platform. We looked at trends in actual transactions for the first five months of 2019 and found some insights that we thought were worth sharing.
As a disclaimer, this data has been scrubbed of any identifiers and is displayed without specific volumes, and we’re looking at mid-nine-figure ad requests. These insights are also only trends we’ve found in our platform, and overall industry trends may vary.

HTML5 is being trafficked more than images in Europe and roughly equal to images in North America

In Europe, HTML5 creatives make up 8.8% of all creative types trafficked, with JPEGs representing 4.5% and PNGs 1% respectively. In North America, HTML5 creatives account for 11.4% of the advertisements, compared to 6.9% for JPEGs and 3.9% for PNGs.
What does this tell us? Contextual targeting appears to be more than just wishful thinking. The growth of HTML5 as a means of targeted communication has taken off. As DSPs and agencies gain technical and educational experience overcoming the challenges of working with HTML5, the creative friction for various sets of screens can and should be reduced.
We’d even wager that the costs of running an HTML5 campaign will soon be much less than creating a full-fledged video production, further cutting into video’s dominance at the top of the creative-type pyramid.

Contextual HTML5 campaigns are quickly becoming more popular on both sides of the pond

1080p portrait is the dominant resolution; higher resolutions aren’t significantly impacting DOOH networks programmatically

Unsurprisingly, 1080×1920 is the most common resolution being trafficked. It accounts for 94.9% of all ad plays in Europe and 85.8% of ad plays in North America. Single screen setups remain the dominant force in the programmatic marketspace.
Multi-screen or higher resolution programmatic setups are far less common, with 2160×3840 representing 0.5% of plays in North America and 0.4% in Europe. These video walls are available programmatically, but you need to go looking for them. We’re curious to see whether these exotic resolution setups retain an additive value for media buyers, much like how spectaculars transact.
The interesting morsels of information appear when stripping out the dominant resolution. In North America, a significant portion (6.2%) of the programmatic traffic is 1080p landscape, but in Europe, it’s roughly 0.05% – not even in the top 10 most transacted resolutions. Regardless, in terms of creative friction, you can achieve the highest playout efficiency by hitting the dominant resolutions in each region. Or, frankly, set up some HTML5.

A totem in a shopping mall. Its screen is 1080x1920 portrait display.
1080p portrait displays remain the most common selections for programmatic

CPMs by venue type are higher in Europe, likely due to a more mature programmatic market, more sophisticated buyers and better audience data

Great debates rage within programmatic DOOH as to what will happen to the value of inventory and its ability to index against experienced direct sales teams. Broadsign remains the Switzerland of the world for our publishers. We believe direct sales teams and programmatic sales teams are symbiotic in nature, and that particular mix between direct sales and programmatic remains the sole prerogative of our esteemed publishers.
What we can say quite conclusively from this data is that the CPMs being trafficked provide significant flexibility to each publisher to determine what that mix is. This long preamble goes to say, the CPMs are good, but we can’t share a comprehensive DOOH CPM list here – sorry!
However, we pieced together a discernable pattern by analyzing venue types. “Airports” within the transit segment is an especially good example.
In North America, the average CPM in these locations is $12 flat. In Europe, it’s $15.02. Why? Airports are a great equalizer in terms of audience – Jackson, JFK, LAX and O’Hare retain quite similar demographic and psychographic profiles compared to Heathrow, de Gaulle, Schiphol and Frankfurt.
For all intents and purposes, the audiences are no less wealthy or no less international than any airport across the pond. Most international airports have quite similar screen profiles as well. So, why is there a 3.02$ (22.35%) difference in CPM? A few hypotheses.

People walking through an airport
Audience differences don’t explain differences in airport CPMs between North America and Europe

First, we suggest that the market in Europe is more mature. European publishers have taken it upon themselves to programmatically evangelize their inventory. They’ve educated buyers for longer.
Second, there are more active buyers, which means there are higher thresholds for CPMs.
Third, buyers in Europe are far more sophisticated with programmatic DOOH, even while contending with GDPR. They willingly pay those dollar values for audiences that they truly understand. Whether that understanding comes from the buyer, or is provided by the publisher is a debate for another day.
We see this replicated in other venues as well. Retail CPMs in Europe? 86.72% higher than in North America. What about roadside CPMs? In Europe, 52% higher. Corporate spaces? 50% higher in Europe. This is not a fluke. This is a market pattern that we think is deterministic for NA programmatic DOOH to catch up, and for the Europeans to forge ahead.

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