Do Media Owners Need To Go All-In On Programmatic DOOH?

March 14, 2023 by guest author, Ben Abbatiello

Guest Post: Ben Abbatiello, Hivestack

As the global economic outlook continues to become more uncertain, there is one thing that the advertising industry can agree on: even when budgets are tight, advertising should not be paused — in fact this could be the most important time to reach audiences with precision. Both the 2008 recession and 2020 pandemic showed the importance of continuing to deliver messaging to audiences in times of downturn. Those that did so successfully found themselves in a stronger position to increase their market share once the financial outlook improved.

Out of home (OOH) advertising has always been key for brands looking to reach wide audiences with memorable, hard to ignore, and head-turning campaigns. Despite budgets being closely watched, more than half of advertisers plan to invest more in OOH this year, with total spend in the US alone due to hit $8.12 billion. This figure has grown steadily since 2020, and is predicted to surpass pre-pandemic levels by 2026.

For OOH media owners, this continued commitment to spend and growth from advertisers is good news, especially given the current macroeconomic situation. However, as brands look to be even more effective with their ad budgets, publishers need to provide advanced targeting and measurability if they are to not only compete, but be included in the spend of other channels, such as social and CTV.

The growth of programmatic DOOH has enabled publishers to connect with a wider range of buyers at a global level and sell ad slots with greater ease, while also increasing measurability, targeting precision, and maximizing inventory yield.

As digitization continues at pace in OOH, so does the demand for programmatic DOOH from marketers. By diversifying their revenue portfolio with programmatic DOOH, publishers can gain a larger circle of potential buyers, while at the same time gaining more control over their inventory.

Direct DOOH vs Programmatic – finding the balance

There is no perfect formula to finding the right mix of direct DOOH and programmatically sold inventory but that doesn’t mean it is a complex model. Publishers must take a step back and evaluate their objectives and from here, they can ascertain an effective ratio between programmatic and direct DOOH deals in a way that suits their inventory and increases revenue.

Direct deals can form a regular bedrock of DOOH publisher revenue generation and in some cases it continues to be the best route to plan certain campaigns. Often negotiated weeks in advance, with campaigns running for set lengths of time, these deals can prove stability and guaranteed sales in advance for media owners.

However, the option is available for publishers to add additional revenue streams with programmatic DOOH with little lift from internal resources. With a more streamlined media trading process, publishers are able to sell ad slots efficiently while expanding their reach of potential buyers. Increased control over inventory is gained, with parameters around location, format, duration, CPM set and monitored more effectively.

Programmatic DOOH offers a data-driven approach with more granular targeting and reporting. As for demand, nearly half of buyers look to programmatic DOOH for these reasons. Furthermore, features such as custom moments, audience-based buying attribution, and dynamic content optimization are increasingly attractive as well as the option to layer on brand lift and footfall measurement studies post-campaign.

Ultimately, striking a balance between direct DOOH deals and programmatic DOOH will allow publishers to enhance the yield of their DOOH inventory based upon nuanced rules and/or basic yield protocol. It’s agile and flexible into the programming nature. Using the right tools to plan and facilitate campaigns, such as an intelligent ad server, the onus is shifted onto the technology to decide which campaign is most optimal to deliver on the screen.

The importance of an intelligent ad server in DOOH

Publishers looking to effectively diversify their revenue portfolio need to look beyond just utilizing a Supply Side Platforms (SSP). Instead, they should be looking to embrace an intelligent ad server.

These solutions can function as a one-stop shop for DOOH publishers, a single tool to plan, configure, run, and optimize DOOH ad operations. They are also key to optimizing for both direct and programmatic ad sales, and handling the complexities of each of those transaction types seamlessly.

From ‘spot in the loop’ to dynamic insertion, static creative, and programmatic impressions, an ad server is an integral component within the DOOH publisher toolkit. Introduced to provide a solution to easily plan and facilitate direct sold campaigns, ad servers have quickly evolved to be programmatically enabled should a publisher seek seamless activity between direct and programmatic streams. Furthermore, unification offers publishers a single overview of campaigns that provide consolidated feedback and data streams from all demand sources and approaches. This data can be leveraged to continually assess effectiveness and fine-tune pricing and media to boost returns.

An intelligent ad server also does much of the heavy lifting for publishers while giving them greater control over inventory. Parameters that prioritize minimum CPMs, preferred deal partners or other factors can be set to drive efficiencies and eliminate errors.

As technology continues to evolve to offer even more sophisticated reporting, measurement, and efficiency capabilities across the DOOH landscape, publishers will be able to further benefit from the power of machine learning and automation. This in turn eliminates much of the complexities of relying on multiple tools, vendors and sales teams. While direct deals will always be at the core of any media owner’s business model, programmatic DOOH offers the ability to truly maximize the yield of inventory and works symbiotically with direct sales initiatives in a way that other workflow taxonomy simply cannot.

About The Writer

Ben Abbatiello is Global SVP of Publisher Solutions for Hivestack. He joined Hivestack in June, 2022 to lead Hivestack’s Publisher Solutions team globally.  His primary focus will be across our SSP, AdServer, Yield Manager products and servicing Hivestack’s burgeoning omni-channel DSP partnerships. An ad tech veteran, with over 20 years of experience Ben has held executive roles at notable ad tech companies including SpotX, Yahoo!, Interclick, SpecificMedia and most recently, Beachfront Media as the VP of Advanced TV.  In those roles he spear-headed numerous Supply Partnership initiatives as well as launching many innovative products across the programmatic landscape.  Ben specializes in enabling digital monetization and the user experience across new media environments like CTV or traditional environments like TV in his former roles.   

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