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‘Programmatic OOH offers brands unparalleled flexibility’

By Rajiv Raghunath - November 09, 2020

Jean-Christophe Conti, CEO, VIOOH says in an interview with Rajiv Raghunath that media owning firms looking to benefit from programmatic OOH should have the data available that allows them to trade on an impression-led basis that digital buyers are able to understand

Jean-Christophe Conti<br>CEO, VIOOHThe VIOOH motto is ‘Making a great impression’. How do you see data and technology helping brands make that great impression on the audiences?

Programmatic OOH, empowered by data and technology, is enabling efficiencies in OOH media spend and positively impacting ROI in a way that would be difficult to achieve otherwise.

The VIOOH platform uses technology to connect OOH inventory to DSPs. Within this marketplace, advertisers are able to utilise audience data to create targeted and optimised campaigns.

Brands can use real-time data including geo-location, weather and events for trigger-based programmatic OOH campaigns. Programmatic OOH also offers brands unparalleled flexibility to pause, adjust, restart and optimise campaigns mid-flight, which is critical in  today’s uncertain climate.

VIOOH promises to offer media owners a frictionless experiences for automated OOH and programmatic DOOH transactions. What are the pre-conditions for any media owning firm to be able to do business on the VIOOH network?

Firstly, are they willing to move to an audience-based buy and not be limited to buying share of time, loops and specific screens? Are they willing to open up their supply to a programmatic buy?

If so, does the media owner have the data available that allows them to trade on an impression-led basis that digital buyers are able to understand? For example, in the UK we work to an hourly-led audience segmentation that is derived from Route data. This data allows an OOH media owner to sell their inventory on an impression basis, aligning with other digital media (of which approximately 87% is traded programmatically), thus enabling OOH to become part of a brand’s wider programmatic strategy.

Other fundamentals include the current content management system (CMS) each media owner utilises - our platform needs to be integrated into a media owner’s systems to ascertain and understand what inventory is available to sell. We are agnostic, connecting via API to the media owner’s system, which enables us to understand if there is any unsold inventory and offer it out to new buyers programmatically, significantly enlarging the pool of potential buyers who might not normally have thought of OOH as a channel for their media plan.

Do you see a significant increase in media firms subscribing to your service offerings? If yes, what factors are contributing to the demand growth?

VIOOH was launched in 2018, and just over two years later we are live in 17 markets globally, and trading programmatically in eleven, with more to come. OOH may be the world’s oldest advertising medium but it is transforming, which is imperative if it’s to survive and thrive in the digital age.

We are in the fortunate position of being able to learn from the challenges faced by more mature programmatic channels to avoid the same pitfalls and bring real innovation to advertisers. The nature of OOH means there is little chance of audience fraud, so issues that plague display such as bots are not applicable. A scrupulous creative moderation process makes fraud even less likely and ensures brand safety.

Our recent State of the Nation research shows that there are four key factors driving investment in programmatic OOH:

  1. Flexibility - the ability to start, stop, pause or adjust campaigns in-flight.
  2. Value - programmatic technology is also making OOH more accessible to brands with smaller budgets, who benefit from tighter targeting and in-flight optimisation to drive efficiencies.
  3. Accurate targeting - the opportunity to plan, activate and optimise OOH utilising the same audience data as part of a multi-channel campaign means greater accuracy and synergies.
  4. Trigger-based buying - using data around promotions, news, consumer journeys, location, weather, environmental conditions, time and moments means campaigns can be adjusted automatically or only displayed once certain criteria are met, reducing wastage.

More recently, VIOOH signed up with DSP platform TPS Engage. Do you see a seamless integration of DSPs and SSPs to deliver programmatic DOOH advertising opportunities to advertisers?

The TPS Engage partnership provides access to inventory through the VIOOH platform in a self-service model for the first time. VIOOH as an SSP has partnerships with 30 leading DSPs, with the aim of providing easy access to premium OOH inventory in markets across the globe.

The vast majority of advertisers’ digital media is already planned programmatically, and the ability to manage OOH using this technology brings new opportunities. These are centred around creative flexibility, trigger-based targeting and the ability to align with other channels to elevate campaigns.

Do you see scope for expansion of your network reach in the coming times? At which point would you consider establishing your business footprints in emerging markets like India?

We have an ambitious roadmap of media owner integrations scheduled for the year ahead, which includes increasing the inventory formats and markets in Asia.

Looking ahead, what steps in your view would help OOH enhance its competitiveness and attract a higher share of the ad dollars across global markets?

As a true broadcast medium, OOH helps build brand awareness and with the emergence of programmatic technology, it also meets performance goals, making programmatic OOH a unique tool for marketers, and one which can now be planned centrally alongside other media. As advertisers strive to find the right balance between long-term brand building and more immediate performance goals, having access to a channel that meets both cannot be underestimated.

Our State of the Nation research found that many agency and advertising executives were looking for more information about cross-channel measurement, and highlighted a lack of consensus around measurement solutions although performance-based metrics were considered to be the most effective.

Understanding the unique benefits of programmatic OOH is fundamental to how widely it is adopted in broader campaigns, and our research found that only 56% of respondents felt that they fully understood programmatic OOH and its benefits.

At VIOOH, we have been working with industry bodies to champion standardised measurement for programmatic OOH and educate the industry, as we believe that a clear vision on measurement and attribution is vital for the sector’s continued growth. Undoubtedly there is more work to do as more markets start adopting programmatic OOH, but we are confident that programmatic technology provides the best way for OOH to adapt to the changing landscape.

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