What does the industry need to do to make DOOH a mainstream media buy?

September 17, 2019Samantha Brault

If you’re at all involved in the DOOH industry, you’ve most likely heard the word “programmatic” being used on a daily basis. This newer method of buying is the hottest industry trend right now, and it presents many opportunities and challenges for media owners and digital media buyers alike.

To see what both the buy- and sell-sides have to say about this, we partnered with the IAB and PwC to sponsor a comprehensive study to better understand what needs to happen across the industry for programmatic DOOH to realize its full potential. 

The PwC team spoke to media agencies, tech companies and out-of-home publishers from the US and Canada, and three trends emerged: 

Education will grow media buyers’ adoption of DOOH

Until recently, OOH was a traditional medium, not really associated with more modern digital advertising channels – the channels that digital media buyers are familiar with – and this is a major blocker in its adoption as part of the ‘programmatic’ world.

And the study confirmed this, with a nearly unanimous opinion that education on the creative benefits, campaign impact and ease of purchase is needed for media buyers to include DOOH in their media plans.

Similarly, publishers and traditional DOOH buying teams are also craving education. While they know the benefits of the medium, they are often unaware of how programmatic trading can have a positive impact on their DOOH strategy, overall budget and how it compliments their direct transactions. 

So what does the industry need to do? 

The sell-side (publishers, DSPs and related tech companies) need to focus on educating buyers on the benefits of programmatic DOOH. This will require significant legwork at first, but as more companies knock on doors for meetings, share quality content online, and generally preach the medium, we all expect more buyers to hop on board.

Reducing fragmentation will further bring DOOH out of its silo

One of the main drivers of programmatic DOOH is the opportunity to streamline the media buying process for multi-publisher campaigns. Even with the many impressive steps the industry has taken towards this, 62% of respondents still identified a lack of inventory consolidation as being a major problem. 

With multiple SSPs and DSPs in the game, and many not offering the same DOOH inventory, media buyers continue to find themselves having to use multiple platforms to book their campaigns. Furthermore, not all media owners are programmatically enabled.

So what does the industry need to do?

Digital media buyers need a more centralized buying workflow to add DOOH to their digital campaigns, so while it seems contradictory at first, cooperation amongst competitors is needed to help DOOH break out of its silo once and for all.

Standardization will streamline programmatic media spend

The way a view is attributed in DOOH varies from one publisher to another, and many believe a standardized approach is needed. But audience data standardization is a tricky topic in DOOH. 

Digital buyers are used to one click simply equating to one view. Even with the possibility of bots and ad-fraud, they understand exactly what this data entails and where it’s coming from. 

All participants in the study agreed that there is a lot of audience data available. So it isn’t a lack of data in DOOH that is causing issues, rather, there is a lack of standardization of the data that is available and how it’s collected, with each vendor using their own preferred metrics and partners to determine the quantitative and qualitative data of their audience. 

So what does the industry need to do?

Associations like the IAB, OAAA and the DPAA are working with the industry to address this issue, and are hoping to reach a conclusion in how to efficiently and effectively standardize data in DOOH.

The future is bright for programmatic DOOH

We’ve started to see massive national campaigns being bought via DSPs, many showcasing the power and flexibility possible with programmatic buying, and adoption is growing. It will be exciting to see how the industry evolves, and while there are still many things to work on, programmatic DOOH is definitely here to stay. 

To further explore these findings, the IAB hosted a webinar, featuring our own Adam Green, SVP & GM of Broadsign Reach, Sam Tomlinson, partner at PwC, and Ross Krentzman, senior director of SMB sales at Intersection. Listen to the webinar here.