Ask the Board – November 4, 2019 | AMEET SHAH


“What else is needed for programmatic to be a consistent part of your DOOH sell/buy?”

Programmatic is a type of advertising opportunity that introduces systems and automation. While programmatic has existed for almost 15 years, it has been slow to evolve into many ecosystems (ex. OTT, Audio, and DOOH). Ultimately, it will be as pervasive in DOOH as it is in other ecosystems (ex. display, mobile, video). Firstly, automation helps all sides: Buyers can transact more efficiently in audience reach, scale, and formats. For Publishers (media companies), it introduces easy access to numerous buyers. 

So, while this is extremely beneficial, it has been slow to evolve in DOOH. This is largely to do with the unique creative specifications and consistent substantiation of audience delivery. Given that there are so many unique specifications depending on the format (ex. An elevator screen is very different from a billboard in Times Square), creating specification has been challenging. Industries such as the OAAA, DPAA, and IAB, amongst others, have tackled this, but it hasn’t gotten to the point of being standardized. Screens also typically deliver to a larger audience (multiple users vs. one in a traditional digital environment). As such, there are many more variables to consider.

Fundamentally, if companies disregard programmatic, they are doing further harm than good. Programmatic is coming, and it makes sense for both buyers and sellers. Companies really need to consider testing and developing solutions to incorporate programmatic. Realistically, both sides want it. Buyers will be able to reach the audience(s) they want with the dynamic content they want to deliver and publishers receive greater advertising revenue. Systems and platforms (ex. SSPs and DSPs) have been slower to evolve as the revenues haven’t matched the scale of other formats. While there are specialized solutions, some are faux programmatic vs. fully programmatic. Media companies have to reduce latency in communication protocols to the devices to move to a more real-time execution. At this point, less than 15 minutes can be accommodated. Technically, we can be near real-time (within 1 to 2 minutes).

There are two primary challenges limiting growth: For media companies, it is latency in communicating with the player/console/device. For buyers, and more broadly the ecosystem, its access to the data insights that drive the efficiency of programmatic. 

While there are unmet expectations in the growth of programmatic, it needs to remain a key focus on both sides of the transaction. It is the future, it is the direction, and early adopters will win. Change is hard to overcome in a long-established business model. However, if companies don’t evolve, the industry will suffer. The time for change is now (and actually was in the past, but we’ll catch-up). We need to push the capabilities forward to work through the issues. Let’s collectively receive the benefits that programmatic and technology-based solutions can offer.


About Author

VP, Global Tech and Data Strategy
Prohaska Consulting

End User Council

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