Ask the Board – Feb 29, 2016 | MARGOT MYERS


In your opinion, is Programmatic Advertising a good thing for DOOH? If so why? If not, why not?

I’m still wrapping my head around programmatic advertising on my laptop. Though I understand the concept of targeted advertising through SEO and that this process is managed by computers that decide to buy ad space on my page in the milliseconds that it takes to load, it still feels just a little bit creepy.

Let’s expand that concept to DOOH. A media buyer has to define parameters for the ad buy and enter them into a computer that will make a split-second decision on where to place the ad on a DOOH screen. This puts a tremendous amount of decision-making power into the virtual “hands” of a computer. If the buyer sets parameters to reach women age 25-34 in certain DMAs to promote a new Budweiser product, a lack of sufficient definition could result in the ad playing on a display in an OB/GYN waiting room instead of in a bar. The onus is on the media buyers to set very targeted parameters to get the results they hope to achieve.

A problem remains, however, and it is one that has plagued the DOOH industry. How do you get proof of play and audience measurement that is consistent with the rest of the media plan? If a mall has counting devices at all of its entrances, mall management can say that 3,000 people entered the mall that day, but how many saw the screens with the programmatic advertising content? It’s impossible to know. You could put a device on the screens themselves to count people who pass by, but that would have to get pretty sophisticated to differentiate those who are just walking by from those who actually see the ad or stop to watch the screen.

So, the rather convoluted answer to this month’s question is, “It depends.” There’s a place for programmatic advertising in DOOH, but I think the industry is still trying to sort out exactly what works and what doesn’t.

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Director, Global Marketing & Communications
The Platt Retail Institute

Industry Consultants Council

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