How Outdoor Advertising is Affected by Programmatic Entering the Market

Outdoor advertising is undergoing a bit of a facelift, and it has to do with programmatic technology development entering its market. Innovation, effectiveness, and efficiency are just a few qualities that programmatic has to offer both advertisers and consumers receiving the messages. Digital out-of-home or DOOH is the type of outdoor advertising that is most impressionable and available for programmatic to enter its foundation because of the options and customizations that a digital form presents. When we discuss programmatic advertising, we are referring to the tech and data that is involved in planning, trading, and delivering an advertisement. We are not necessarily honing in on the advertising channel, but the process of creating a useful digital experience for everyone targeted. This article will look at the ways in which programmatic is actually helping the longstanding medium of OOH as well as shed light on the parts of the world that have already been active in using programmatic in outdoor spaces.


Some DOOH billboards include programmatic underbellys


DOOH and Programmatic Interference

DOOH advertising is like an advertisement on television away from your television at home, and on a much larger scale. They are able to target the right people in the right places, such as airports, shopping centers, movie theatres, meeting places, and more, by delivering poignant visual advertising that attracts consumer attention. As they stand, they are a very valuable medium to advertise on. As they stand today, programmatic extension is able to use measurement metrics such as audience-based and location data to better adjust the digital experience in a given facility. Programmatic allows for granularity and levels out the experience that one may have when viewing a DOOH advertisement. Careful target audience planning with programmatic ensures better ad effectiveness and brand safety because it measures the responses from consumers while choosing the right consumers to speak to.

Outside of social media, where seemingly everybody is prone to a targeted ad whether they asked for it or not, programmatic DOOH offers advertisers an environment where they can properly target valuable age groups and demographics. Throw in the magic of extra targeted ads on a consumer’s phone through social media and elsewhere, and now you can create an interconnected campaign. First and third party data can be dissected to boost the richness of OOH campaigns while also creating a better connected user experience along other ad channels. Programmatic and outdoor advertising is looking to be the best collaboration between two forces that understand the background of a consumer and the message that should be distributed to them.


Programmatic technology is able to live stream brands onto boards


What Will Happen To Static, Traditional OOH?

As programmatic makes its way into the outdoor advertising market, some may wonder what might happen to traditional out-of-home billboards and advertisements that for so long stood their ground and had something to say. Due to the ever increasing world of digitization and tech success, most campaigns are taking more of a pixelated, global route. However, static posters and traditional OOH are not dead yet. A great deal of capital investment is behind DOOH and programmatic setup so some static OOH campaigns do not have the budget to move onto a digital sphere. Also, some static advertisements just work on one board as opposed to multiple digital screens.

Another reason why static, traditional OOH is not moving out of the advertising channel house is due to site limitations. This has to do with low network connectivity or lack of power sources near certain advertising locations, all of which would be needed for digital screens to function. DOOH advertising may not be fitting for every location. Some locations that are perfect for and willing to put up static advertisements may have second thoughts or restrictions about DOOH. On top of that, some static advertisements rely on the effect of 3D images and creative touches that use the billboard as a canvas for the campaign. The same effect would not be as clear to see if the campaign moved to a digital frame.


Impressions are garnered through DOOH paired with programmatic


How Programmatic is Helping Gain More Impressions

One ad touched by programmatic can be able to consistently garner new impressions everyday. A gentleman by the name of Wade Rifkin, who is the senior vice president of programmatic for Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, launched the nation’s first programmatic private marketplace solution for OOH ad buying in 2017. The leading out-of-home provider, Clear Channel, uses data and programmatic buying to bring new developments to OOH marketing. They are using a data tracking system called RADAR to bring data into the real world and help advertisers get a better grasp on the best consumer for their brand. From this data plucked from RADAR technologies, advertisers can use it to make informed buying decisions about their ad spaces and platforms they see being beneficial.

Rifkin states, “We developed first RADAR, which offers up the application of data for smarter and better planning, targeting, measurement, and then we deployed our programmatic solution. We quickly worked to bring these two products together, to be able to offer up the types of behavioral and audience-based targeting that programmatic buyers ask for and continue to use day in and day out.” (Blustein 2018), which explains how two applications can meet in order to gain the best impressions for buyers to continuously manage. Rifkin goes on to say, “There’s just a new way of thinking about buying a channel… The same kind of buyer control that exists in other channels – the ability to optimize – all of that is now possible for digital out-of-home. That wasn’t possible before the incorporation of our inventory into cross-channel programmatic platforms.” (Blustein 2018), which truly expresses the importance of reach and channel optimization that is coming into fruition through programmatic powers.

As is mentioned above by Rifkin, programmatic solutions help garner more impressions from valuable consumers because it tracks real world data while simultaneously helping advertisers buy and manage their sectors better. Programmatic is the extension and the open invitation to other consumers that live among other ad channels.


Programmatic is a consumer's, media buyer's, and advertiser's best friend


What To Keep In Mind About Programmatic

As OOH makes its way into programmatic and media sellers are beginning to take advantage of the newfound digital inventory, we must be aware of a few characteristics that stem out of the programmatic age we are now living in. For example, not all digital OOH contains programmatic OOH techniques. Digital OOH inventory is typically sold as “spots” in a “loop”, and OOH media sellers have to convert to the CPM. Some buyers do not want separate pricing models and are just fine with a CPM-based, general pricing strategy that is a little more basic than a programmatic pricing point. In this way, programmatic optimization may get the boot in certain DOOH buying options due to a different pricing scale and formula.

Mobile location data is prevalent in a programmatic plan of attack. Media sellers are able to share their log data with location data companies that are able to measure an impression by matching the location of their locked-in consumers to the exact time an ad ran on a digital screen. By looking at location data of the consumers, buyers can see exactly where the consumers are heading to and where they spend most of their time daily. This helps buyers and advertisers pinpoint where is best to put up their digital advertising boards. With programmatic at play, marketers can measure attribution for DOOH buys by matching an impression to their CRM storage and find out if the ad in place prompted a consumer to make an in-store purchase.

Another thing to remember with programmatic is that third-party data, such as weather and traffic triggers, make OOH advertising a dynamic creative opportunity. For example, the U.S. media seller Lamar ran a campaign for the “Baywatch” film revamp that triggered different creative OOH advertising images on the screen based on the type of weather outside at separate times. In this way, programmatic is using its outside data abilities to provide a unique, and memorable, advertising experience in the outdoor market.


Location data helps fuel programmatic power


Where is Programmatic Really Taking Place

Places in Europe, such as Germany, have been testing ad tech billboards for Google in public spaces that are able to display targeted ads based on a user’s web browsing habits. Google’s already well-known reputation of being the primary search engine available to us and the key to answer everyone’s questions is truly in sync with the mobile location data that branches from programmatic in targeting digital billboards. In the U.K., there is talk that radio broadcaster Global will team with Primesight and Outdoor Plus to invest in more programmatic services. Global is looking to become the sole example for audio and outdoor buying if it can hold true to mimic programmatic waves from their DAX audio platform that appears in outdoor advertising. Global is focused on elevating their audio and outdoor presence and, through programmatic strides in the U.K., Europe, and APAC, they are seeing programmatic as a scalable opportunity to better advertise.

According to the CEO of VIOOH, Jean-Christophe Conti, he notes that, “Programmatic trading is a new model for the out-of-home industry, and buying out of home is a new channel for programmatic buyers, so we predict that once agencies and media buyers see the strength of programmatic OOH, ad sales will grow exponentially.” (Joseph 2018), which explains how both fields are fresh to meet one another but can grow together to benefit and strengthen the outdoor advertising market. Agencies and media buyers can link with programmatic in mutually satisfying ways.

After taking a look at the simple definition of programmatic and what it means when entering a DOOH landscape, how traditional OOH is not yet overridden, how impressions can be gained, as well as a few other facts about programmatic in an OOH world and who is beginning to harness programmatic, it is revealed that outdoor advertising can really benefit from programmatic because of the digital rise we are all a part of. Programmatic also helps media buyers and advertisers better pick their core consumers due to mobile location data, among other insights. Programmatic is going to help sustain the outdoor advertising market.



Blustein, Andrew (24 September 2018). Bringing Programmatic Buying to Out-Of-Home. The Drum News. Retrieved from:

Joseph, Seb (26 September 2018). Outdoor Advertising Braced for Its Programmatic Moment. Digiday UK. Retrieved from:

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