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Why marketers should stop comparing OOH programmatic to digital

Too many marketers just hit “copy and paste” on their digital strategies and try to apply them to out-of-home, and it’s the reason so many OOH campaigns fail, according to Nick Halas, global head of strategy at Posterscope.

Speaking at The Drum’s Programmatic Punch event earlier this month, Halas said marketers will only make the most out of OOH programmatic if they start to treat it as a separate medium.

“Say someone purchased 10 million packs for digital OOH, we can’t tell them if they were all delivered. We can’t just copy and paste a brand’s digital metrics and expect them to work with OOH as it’s a fundamentally different channel,” he explained. “People seem to think digital programmatic works the same way for OOH, but that’s just stupid, and will cause more problems than solutions.”

Halas, rather, suggested OOH provides brands with more “strict measurement” metrics, which aren’t convoluted like other industries. He said that driving awareness or store visits at places near an ad screen were some of the primary ways of achieving success.

“Remember OOH is one of the oldest broadcast platforms in the world,” he added. “Having a brand that is contextually relevant to a big in a good location leaves a lasting impact. The industry is seeing double digit growth right now because marketers are realising OOH has no brand safety or viewability issues that are impacting digital marketing. What we’re offering is a much purer way of doing business.”

Also speaking on the panel was Jean-Christophe Conte, chief executive officer of VIOOH, and he added marketers need to stop looking at OOH as a chance to have one-on-one conversations with marketers. “So many brands ask us about doing this,” he revealed, “but we shouldn’t kid ourselves that this is a 1-to-1 medium. Instead, it should be seen as a medium for the selected many.”

Looking towards the future, he predicted: “Programmatic will bring greater context to activate a campaign and make it more relevant. A big pharma company might have medicine to battle hayfever and we can change the digital OOH ad to warn passersby when pollen levels are high. There are so many possibilities.”

Rounding off the panel was Andy Beames, general manager at Adsquare, and he speculated on how the OOH industry might improve the way it measures advertising success. “We obviously can’t measure clicks or cookies, but there’s the potential here to equip screens with beacons or use mobile to see which devices and people walked past so, therefore, were exposed to an ad. But we’re only just at the beginning and there’s a long way to go.”

However, Conte suggested that OOH becoming too data-led could over-complicate things. He concluded: “The jury is still out on whether we want things to become really sophisticated as it might move away from the fundamentals of focusing your energy on just delivering a really great, eye-striking OOH ad. Right now the efficiencies of trading and the choice of digital screens means we’re in a really good place as an industry. Marketers love this because it’s efficient and it works, but OOH is going to be much better five years from now. Trust me.”

VIOOH was a partner of Programmatic Punch UK 2019. Register your interest for 2020 now

Featured by The Drum

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