Blog | November 11, 2021

Let’s Talk Programmatic DOOH Success: The Media Buyer’s Perspective

With the goal of developing a better understanding of our customers, our VP of Programmatic Success Edith Gagné recently connected with four of our buy-side clients across different locations and types of organizations to get their thoughts on how they evaluate out-of-home:

We thought we’d share some of their valuable insights as they dove into how to reach the right audiences, capturing data through OOH, measurement challenges, and the future of programmatic DOOH.

Let’s dive in!

How do publishers pitch to you, and what makes them interesting to work with?

Data is crucial in any publisher’s pitch. What data and insights do they have around their network, and how can it be utilized to drive greater performance for a buy? “What makes a publisher pitch stand out is robust data points that help optimize audience reach and frequency,” says Akama. 

Asset diversity is another factor to consider when evaluating a publisher. How diverse is the range of DOOH assets available and will it be easy for teams to access the publishers’ inventory? By leveraging qualitative and quantitative data, and a wide range of inventory, media buyers can tailor a strategy to their client’s specific audiences and objectives. 

This group of media buyers agrees that publishers can struggle with providing something tangible to show media buyers. It can be difficult to pitch to clients if they can’t see what the end result will be. 

“Our clients don’t have that additional money to just spend, so they want more detail to say ‘yes, it makes sense for me to spend this money on OOH,’” says Marcie.

How important is the venue specifically vs. the audience it delivers?

For many media buyers, location is still the foundation for OOH principles. As Kirsty explains, “data and measurement are increasingly important, and we do see movements to these types of data-driven buys, however, location is still the most important in our market.” 

For others, like Samantha in the CPG space at OMD, audience and venue are equally important when planning a campaign. “If we want you to pick up a beverage at a grocery store and drink it at home, then it’s all about the audience,” says Samantha. When the strategy is to increase sales of a brand’s beverage in specific restaurant locations, OOH helps maximize reach. “On the other hand, we have to be careful with the venue when placing ads by a restaurant. It can be difficult when we have to check pouring rights at every restaurant in the ad’s vicinity to make sure they’re not just carrying our competitor.”

How do you decide whether or not to include OOH in a campaign? Under what circumstances would you include it or expressly exclude it?

If the goal is brand awareness and staying top-of-mind, OOH is an easy sell for the client. When OOH is contextually relevant, with the correct artwork and placement, it can increase ad recall and sales while delivering on impact, reach, and frequency. The media buyers also agree that OOH provides beneficial meaning and effectiveness to a campaign by creating trust between the consumer and the brand. 

“We need to expand beyond the fixed approach to what OOH ‘ought’ to be used for”, says Akama. “Once we do, we’ve seen it unlock a wealth of potential with different markets and clients taking a range of approaches to utilizing OOH. Some are leveraging OOH as a brand-safe, cost-effective premium reach while others as last-mile sales-driving.”

According to Samantha, trying to get clients to understand that OOH can communicate very specific contextual messaging can sometimes be a challenge. “We want our clients to understand that they can buy that audience and venue types that will get their message across properly. It’s a struggle we’re still facing.”

What’s something you wish OOH publishers knew or appreciated more about how agencies and advertisers operate?

A common theme here is the pressure agencies face to deliver within short time frames. Despite quick deadlines, the quality of work must remain high and agencies have to ensure that campaigns are delivered on time to not lose out on possible OOH spending. 

Reporting is also key in ensuring that agencies are able to deliver what was planned and committed to the client. “Vendors can sometimes focus on getting the bookings but lack focus on understanding the impact of reporting”, says Kirsty. 

Does the fact that out-of-home is now available programmatically affect your buying process in terms of workflow and efficiencies?

For Marcie, whose entire team is trained on programmatic OOH, programmatic makes it easy to pitch to clients and show them that buying OOH isn’t complicated. 

In Samantha’s experience, buying OOH programmatically brings a change in who’s planning and activating the campaigns. Individual groups are well-versed in data and numbers, making it easy for them to understand and use programmatic buying platforms. Audience groups that focus more on location and traffic data have a very different set of knowledge, which can create friction when connecting dots through a strategist who has to pitch to the client. Programmatic OOH training sessions for strategy and agency groups, as well as pitching pOOH to the client in terms of efficiency, are ways to help bridge the gap.

What do you think is the most challenging part of advertising and out of home?

For Marcie, whose agency specializes in the contractor industry, getting a client to understand the importance of capturing certain audiences can be a challenge. “When you’re dealing with a marketer and an owner of a business, sometimes they just want to see the billboard where they are. It’s not as important that they themselves see it, it’s all about the audience that we’re targeting.” 

DOOH aside, what is the hardest part of being an agency today? What would make it easier?

As Samantha explains, the hardest part is sorting through large amounts of data and trying to pick out what answers what the campaign is trying to accomplish. Being able to distill down from huge excel sheets to a single key insight is what’s going to improve future plans. 

What are some of the best parts of OOH?

There are many benefits to OOH, but the buyers we’ve spoken with here agree that showing clients the data behind OOH is one of the best parts. Capturing audience data through OOH and retargeting them elsewhere helps position OOH as an integral part of any omnichannel campaign, all enabled through programmatic platforms. And as these buyers can attest, providing educational material and summarized reports showcasing campaign measurement outcomes helps agencies convince clients who were less familiar with OOH or not convinced of its efficacy that it’s a worthy investment.

We’d like to thank this group of media buyers for taking the time to share their thoughts and ideas with us.

To learn more about incorporating DOOH into your next omnichannel campaign, check out our eBook The Media Buyer’s Guide to Programmatic Digital-Out-of-Home