WPP's Kinetic Goes Real-Time, Begins Trading Out-Of-Home Buys On Spafax Exchange

WPP’s Kinetic unit, the world’s largest buyer of out-of-home media, has begun serving ads to digital, place-based media outlets via a real-time exchange developed by sister shop Spafax Networks. The aptly named “SN: Xchange” also provides real-time reporting of a campaign’s audience delivery and verification.

Both shops are units of WPP’s tenthavenue division and Kinetic has already begun serving out-of-home ads in real-time for one big client, commercial insurance marketer Zurich, and other undisclosed brands over the past six months. The campaign for Zurich ran in November and December 2012.

From Kinetic’s point-of-view, the major benefit of the exchange is its real-time reporting, according to Kinetic’s U.S. President David Krupp. Previously, he said, out-of-home media buyers have been reliant on “affidavits” from their suppliers as a proof-of-performance. In addition to being more objective, Krupp said the exchange enables Kinetic to verify campaign delivery in real-time, and to resolve discrepancies with suppliers in near-real-time.

“For the first time, we can see how a campaign is pacing in real-time -- hourly, daily, weekly -- and can make the necessary changes to ensure that our clients’ campaign requirements are achieved,” he said, adding that the improved efficiency is “giving our planning team some time back.”

In the long term, he said he expects to see “creative benefits” as use of the exchange becomes “more sophisticated.”

The SN: Xchange, which is powered by digital out-of-home technology developer Vistar Media, includes a “predictive planning tool” enabling digital out-of-home buys to be managed in a way that is similar to online programmatic exchanges. Reach estimates come via Nielsen’s On Location Media reports.

Currently, the exchange is available only to clients of Kinetic and Spafax, and the growth of the exchange will depend on how much inventory vendors opt to trade on it. Otherwise, Patrick Bonomo, the executive vice president of Spafax Networks who developed the platform, says it functions just like any digital biddable media exchange.

“SN: Xchange responds to ad requests within milliseconds,” he says, adding, however, that the digital out-of-home networks typically ask for ads at a less than real-time pace.

“The networks ask for ads as frequently as once an hour to one per day,” Bonomo explains, adding, “It isn't real-time in the true sense because of networks’ bandwidth and Internet connection constraints.”
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