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‘The India opportunity could be massive’

By Rajiv Raghunath - January 14, 2021

Franck Vidal, Director - Asia-Pacific, Adcity (Havas Group), sees data technologies transforming OOH businesses across global markets in the coming years

Franck Vidal, Director - Asia-Pacific<br>Adcity (Havas Group)Adcity (Havas Group) is among the first to evangelise data-driven, cross-channel advertising. Do you see data-driven advertising gaining greater traction in the OOH sphere?

For quite some years, we had been seeing a convergence of marketing KPIs and financial objectives. Every marketing spend today requires ample justification, and brand marketers are called upon to demonstrate the RoI on the spends. This is where data comes into the picture. With data, one is able to quantify and qualify a campaign performance.

Why do you see online advertising being so successful? Moving in that direction, OOH is now able to leverage location intelligence, for instance. With historical data we are able to plan with more precision. And, with real-time data we are able to assess the actual reach or attribution of an OOH campaign.

Location data is not perfectly accurate, but we see a lot of ad-tech firms and data providers working very hard on data precision and more granular solutions.

So, in short, yes, data technologies are gaining a lot of traction in the OOH space.

With DOOH networks expanding in different markets, are we likely to see programmatic DOOH going big in the near term?

We see a big transformation of OOH across markets – on both hardware and software fronts, although every OOH market transforms at its own pace.

What is important for OOH publishers is to find the right business model and the best ways to monetise the assets.

Does OOH have to be fully programmatic? Not necessary. It would actually depend on different factors, like macro-environments, locations, advertisers’ objectives, etc.

In short, with the right technology, programmatic digital OOH reinforces audience planning, buying automation, campaign optimisation, agile implementation, and accountability.

Looking ahead, the way year 2020 panned out, it is hard to predict how business would look like in the new year. Nonetheless, pDOOH is expected to expand.

Just look at the US market where pDOOH is well adopted: pDOOH accounts for only 6%-7% of DOOH spends in US (as in 2020, according to eMarketer) and is expected to almost double that share in 2021.

As on date, pDOOH has not been adopted in a big way in the APAC region, but the growth potential for it is massive. Advertisers and media owners are recognising this fact and that is one key reason why they connect with us around pDOOH.

What factors would contribute to widescale adoption of pDOOH?

That would call for significant investments – in software and hardware. It would also be about the quality and the coverage of the assets.

Media owners would have to be convinced about going programmatic, especially when they are used to the traditional business model. Some publishers tend to be sceptical about programmatic, believing that could bring down the value of their assets and the CPM.

Reality is different: pDOOH brings more targeted message (in time and space) and less wastage.

To start with, we need to remind landlords and publishers that DOOH does not have to be fully programmatic. Instead, it could be a hybrid model, nimbly mixing direct buys and programmatic campaigns, providing either brand awareness or tactical content solutions for advertisers and agencies.  

Is technology paving the path for more integrated rollouts of DOOH and digital campaigns? Tell us also about the market response to the Adcity cross-media device mOOHbile.

One of the key aspects of pDOOH is about placing OOH within the integrated omni-channel marketing, and by extension, having a common currency. However, in reality we know that a fully integrated currency is still a challenge. It is in fact a challenge even for the digital channels.

That said, Adcity has run several cross-media campaigns, for instance mixing OOH and mobile together (hence the so-called mOOHbile solution).

Cross-media campaigns such as “Drive to Store” are picking up in the APAC region and will catch up after US market, in the post-Covid period with the expected return of demand for brick and mortar stores. India could lead the way on that front.

As the OOH/DOOH business inches back to normality, will the industry show greater willingness to invest in data technologies that demonstrate higher RoI to advertisers?   

If we step back to the pre-Covid period, I would like to refer to what Charmaine Moldrich, CEO of the Outdoor Media Association in Australia stated that“OOH truly transforms into a digital channel” with investments in new technology and tools. Since the pandemic outbreak, those investments are growing in size. Companies are indeed seeing the benefit of investing in data and technologies, aligning with online practices.

Would you like to comment on any particular APAC markets where you see those trends?

Australia is seeing a lot of activities around programmatic. Likewise, Japan is seeing great initiatives, with companies like LIVEBOARD leading the way. In India too, where SSPs/DSPs like Moving Walls and Lemma Technologies are very active. Each of those markets are moving at their own pace.

I might add that programmatic does not necessarily mean offering cheaper media. Instead, it prevents wastage of spends.

Do you see a market potential for your offerings in an emerging market like India?

India market has been severely impacted by the Covid situation and is expected to decline by 35%-50% in 2020 vs. 2019. Traditional, roadside media appears to have recovered faster than those in the enclosed environments. As such DOOH media is hardly there in the outdoor and roadside environments.

Enclosed environments such as malls and airport media are where programmatic could be implemented more easily in India. For instance, domestic air passenger traffic picking up:  that should trigger the demand for programmatic media solutions.

India is the only billion market that is offering such granular mobility data. Location intelligence provides trackability and accountability, at a scale that we have never seen before. It is an amazing opportunity that we have ahead of us.

Do you see business partnership opportunities in India?

Programmatic DOOH will be the opportunity space for us. We are watching this market with great attention.

On the business front, what are the big OOH trends that you foresee in Year 2021?

We expect to see more short-term and tactical campaigns, with some exceptions. Across APAC, long term placement may not return strong so soon.

OOH planning becomes a lot less anticipated. Hence, automation will play a key part in reactive and agile planning.

And, DOOH growth will gain pace, given the flexibility that it offers to advertisers – from content flexibility to savings in printing.

Moreover, as brick and mortar businesses regain momentum, footfall attributions will grow, and that will get linked to pDOOH.











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