Programmatic DOOH: Why Now?

As consumers become increasingly jaded by web and mobile ad targeting, brands are in search of a fresh approach to reach consumers. Some 71% of respondents in a recent Kantar Millward Brown survey noted that ads feel more intrusive than three years ago, a trend driving agencies and advertisers to consider digital-out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising.

The medium offers new avenues to reach target demographics in ways that feel less intrusive.

Tailor campaigns based on the time of day, weather and road conditions, and implement more meaningful omnichannel campaigns. They have the added benefits of ad blocker immunity, higher completion rates, greater transparency and enhanced viewability.

The DOOH market is on track to grow to more than $26B by 2023, and according to a recent DPAA survey, more than 60% of planners have included DOOH in their media plans.



DOOH is about to undergo one of its biggest innovations in decades as it goes programmatic, which will only fuel its growth. With programmatic having revolutionized online and mobile advertising, and nine out of 10 agencies buying media programmatically today, why is DOOH just now making the leap? 

There have been misconceptions about programmatic DOOH that have stalled its progress, but the approach is gaining traction. Here’s why: 

Inventory Value Protection

Unlike programmatic mobile and online, DOOH inventory is finite, so there is less chance programmatic will drive down the value of CPMs and devalue inventory based on the economics of supply and demand. 

Having the ability to transact in real-time supports more on-the-spot buys, which in theory, should command high CPMs, since the cost of CPMs rising closer to run time versus booking in advance. Brands are also more likely to pay a premium to reach their target audience i.e. rush hour on the freeway verses 2 A.M. 

Further, going programmatic opens DOOH up to new buyers, generating potential new revenue for media owners.

Advances in Measurement 

In a data-driven world, brands and agencies want to know where their money is being spent, how and why. Up until recently, DOOH publishing platforms have lacked access to industry standards for audience demographics and measurement. 

Emerging camera and WiFi technology, however, is changing the game, providing a means to count and measure audience quantity and composition, anonymously collecting demographic data including age, gender and mood. 

At the same time, a number of industry associations are making strides in developing standards that will more accurately measure and analyze how consumers engage with OOH using anonymously collected mobile data.

In terms of measurement, DOOH is innovating at a rapid pace, making it not a matter of if advertisers and brands will be able to better measure programmatic DOOH, but when.  

Unified Sales Methodology

There’s no question that programmatic is shaking up the way DOOH publishers operate. To direct sales teams, anything that interferes with the sales process can be threatening. Direct sales teams, however, shouldn’t fear programmatic. 

It doesn’t eliminate the need for direct sales, but introduces yet another tool for teams to make sales. Direct and programmatically sold inventory can be unified under the same sales teams, as we’ve seen from a number of leading publishers. 

Programmatic DOOH is becoming increasingly attractive to brands, agencies and media owners alike. It promises big benefits to advertisers and brands looking to extend reach to the right audiences in the right place in a way that feels less invasive. And it lets media owners maximize revenue for their available inventory.

3 comments about "Programmatic DOOH: Why Now?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 6, 2018 at 6:01 p.m.

    I tend to agree, Adam. Also, there are only a few and sometimes only one DOOH seller of a particular kind---gas station TV, Mall TV, etc.---per market and many of these buys are not just by the numbers but reflect a form of mindset targeting based on the unique aspects of the location itself.

  2. Adam Green from Broadsign replied, August 7, 2018 at 12:02 p.m.

    Indeed.  I think it will be really interesting to see how advertisers and publishers start to address those unique aspects on an increasingly real-time basis (i.e. I only want to show my railway ads when the traffic is terrible etc.).  Collectively we have the potential to make the ads on the medium more relevant, more interesting, more effective and thus more profitable for everyone.

  3. Alp Ayhan from Awarion replied, August 7, 2018 at 1:41 p.m.

    Thanks for the article. There are certain things that only programmatic DOOH can do. We've executed campaigns on micro-moments through live audience data, tailoring the message based on which one of the target audiences was the most prevelant at one of our DOOH locations. Publishers are understanding that the shift is happening and the threat is actually a godsend. It's time they focus on infrastructure and signage quality and partner with top programmatic DOOH tech providers.

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