ADstruc newest player in online-driven Digital OOH buying and selling
July 6, 2011 by Dave Haynes
Media people I have spoken with see a time, not that far off, when a substantial amount of the Digital OOH ad inventory out there will be bought and sold like commodities – the transactions having very little to do with networks and agencies taking meetings, and a lot to do with software and databases.
In the online world, some agency planning groups have what they call trading desks that buy display and video ad slots based almost entirely on data, using tools like third-party Demand Side Platforms and Real-Time Bidding platforms that aggregate a pile of media inventory and facilitate the buy and sell process. Agency trading desks may use third party platforms, while in the case of the big holding companies, they may have their own.
These are not nuanced transactions based on relationships and the exploration of creative possibilities. They’re efficiency and cost-driven buys done from an analytical perspective.
We’ve started to see data-driven, platform-based buying happen on a modest level with companies like rVue and DOmedia, and now there’s word of another firm – the NYC startup ADstruc – enabling Digital OOH buys through a platform and trading desk.
MDC Partners’ Varick Media Management, one of the first “agency trading desks,” has diversified well past digital media, expanding its capabilities to include trading of out-of-home media, including static outdoor placements. While the first deal implemented by VMM’s new out-of-home capability was a digital out-of-home buy for News Corp.’s The Daily, the MDC unit said it is capable of buying conventional outdoor media, including billboards, via the system.
“We are taking a first mover stance in other channels that wouldn’t normally fall into the realm of an agency trading desk,” explains Alexandra Galasso, the VMM account director who oversaw the out-of-home deal.
Galasso said the diversification is significant, because to date, most agency trading desks have focused only on trading online display and online video inventory they could procure through demand-side platforms, or DSPs, but the goal ultimately is to incorporate as many advertising channels as possible, including analogue ones that wouldn’t necessarily be thought of as part of a digital trading system.
She says the VMM deal was enabled by a ADstruc, an online marketplace for outdoor advertising that she described as a “DSP” for out-of-home media. While the deals traded through ADstruc’s system do not have the same cookie-level profile data that agency trading desks normally based their buys on, she says VMM and its client News Corp. gained other advantages via the deal, including reduced agency workflow for VMM and its sister agency Media Kitchen, and the ability to target the digital out-of-home campaign on a hyper-local basis so that the ad impressions ran only in the proximity of Apple stores selling iPads.
“Traditionally, the outdoor industry takes time to deliver the data and only provides PDF maps,” says ADstruc CEO John Laramie, adding, “Our platform works for both agencies new to OOH but also those entrenched in the space. The majority of advertising mediums today are operating in some sort of exchange.”
No one I have chatted with thinks DSPs and SSPs and RTBs and the slew of other acronyms for online ad exchanges will fully take the place of good, seasoned media sales people. But these sort of tools that can make executing a campaign faster, easier and (likely) cheaper are likely to grow in prominence.