‘An OOH marketplace ensures a high level of transparency & efficiency in business’
By Rajiv Raghunath - June 14, 2021
Muhammad Armaghan, Founder & CEO of Adbuq, a search engine for OOH media in Pakistan, is guided by the twin objectives of creating a marketplace for OOH media and bringing about greater transparency in OOH media prices and smooth buying process. He shares his perspectives on the business in an interview to Rajiv Raghunath, Managing Editor, Media4Growth.
You founded Adbuq in 2018, a search engine for OOH media in Pakistan. What inspired you to establish and promote this platform?
I was always inspired by the creative billboards that brands used for their advertising campaigns. Having a friend working in a billboard vendor company, I always used to have discussions with him regarding the painful purchase process followed by brands and specialist OOH agencies for buying perfect billboards for their advertising/marketing campaigns. The whole industry was fragmented and run on excel spreadsheets and Pdf documents. I always thought if a marketplace for consumer goods can be created like Amazon, then why not for billboards and other OOH media. This led me to lay the foundation for Adbuq, an OOH media search engine, where advertisers and agencies can get billboards of their choice in few clicks! I see Adbuq as an Amazon of Billboards and other OOH media and its presence in many countries in future.
Do media owning firms see a distant advantage in having their media assets listed on Adbuq?
Whether media owners own a handful of OOH media sites, or thousands, Adbuq helps them grow their business. Adbuq exposes their OOH media locations to thousands of advertisers and agencies. Media owners get to provide:
- Detailed profiles of their OOH media locations, such as, size, number of sides, CPM, Impressions per month, availability date etc.
- Images, map view and videos of each OOH media location.
- Google Maps street view of OOH media locations that are in the consideration set of buyers.
- Comparison with other OOH media locations that help the clients in their decision making process.
In addition, the media owners are able to:
- Add team members and assign different tasks to them, like uploading and managing media.
- Chat with advertisers or agencies. Talk to prospective client directly in real time. Send texts, receive replies, all managed on a dashboard.
- Show track record through reviews. Increase confidence of prospective clients, show what previous clients say about outdoor media locations.
Are advertising brands directly accessing Adbuq for OOH media buying, or are specialist agencies still buying media on behalf of the advertisers?
Accepting change and new technology is always slow in every field. Although we are giving access to every brand that is interested in Adbuq, there are still brands that are buying media through specialist agencies on behalf of advertisers. Mostly brands that prefer more control over the entire process of outdoor advertising and have dedicated in-house teams for this purpose are preferring to access Adbuq for direct media buying.
Is Adbuq helping smaller advertisers to buy OOH media more efficiently?
Small advertisers have limited resources. This is where Adbuq helps them to maximise their RoI and achieve the objective of cost saving as well. With Adbuq, smaller advertisers get access to the same database of OOH media that is available to larger advertisers or specialist agencies. Advertisers can plan their advertising campaign with minimum efforts in buying and focus more on other aspects of their campaigns. Every advertiser, whether smaller or larger, gets their message heard in locations of their choice.
To what extent are ventures such as yours helping reduce fraudulent practices in OOH media buying?
The core focus of Adbuq from day one has been to ensure transparency in OOH media prices and smooth buying process. We are able to achieve both till date. Advertisers can compare the prices of OOH media from different vendors and get the OOH media most suitable to them. Since the prices of all the OOH media on Adbuq are not inflated for unreasonable profits, the cost for outdoor advertising is reduced significantly for advertiser. Also, there is no involvement of a middle man or agency so the benefits of cost reduction are shifted to the advertiser.
What is the ratio of business transacted online and offline, after the buyers zero down on their preferred media for campaigns?
It depends on their own choice whether they want to transact online or offline. Since the amount involved is not small in outdoor advertising campaigns, currently advertisers prefer offline transactions but as the industry and technology continue to evolve, we see majority of transaction happening online in the future.
Are you planning to add more services to your market offerings, such as, media monitoring?
Adbuq is indeed growing and planning to offer more services in future. Media monitoring is one of such service that we have in our roadmap. Adbuq is planning to be a one-stop solution for outdoor advertising and its related services.
Do you see Adbuq expanding into the programmatic OOH/DOOH space in the near future?
Yes, Adbuq will soon expand to programmatic OOH/DOOH space in future. For this purpose, we are constantly improving our platform and actively doing partnerships in different countries as Adbuq is expanding operations to different countries.