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Market Voice 19 Oct 2020 - 2 min read

Putting the aah into ooh: How programmatic is dialling up Outdoor’s wow factor

By Braden Clarke - Director - Programmatic Outdoor, VMO
Val Morgan Outdoor

Next year programmatic outdoor will disrupt the way marketers plan, buy and optimise out of home media. VMO believes its automated trading solution, underpinned by robust third-party verified impression data, will drive double digit growth and enable marketers to bring digital measurement, and budgets, to the real world in real time.

We all witnessed the scene in Minority Report in which John Anderton (played by Tom Cruise) walks through a shopping mall and gets bombarded with ads targeted specifically to him, firstly with Lexus and Guinness, then while having his eyes scanned is shown an American Express ad that recognises the fact that he is an existing member.

What may have looked like a farfetched concept back in 2002 is now commonplace in many forms of media – minus the eyeball scanners… for now. In the digital space, recognising users via their behaviours to build a consumer profile that targets them, one-to-one, and measures interactions and conversion rates, is also commonplace.

Until now, out of home (OOH) media has remained relatively uninterrupted by automation. But that is about to change.


Building the future, today

Back in 2014, VMO began to equip its network with audience measurement devices, that use anonymised facial analytics technology to provide real-time insight into traffic, audiences and engagement across the network.

That technology formed the building blocks of our Digital outdoor Audience in Real Time (DART) system.

The introduction of DART meant that marketers for the first time could identify age, gender, mood and engagement, within outdoor environments. This information could then be used to understand human interaction with their OOH placements and provide insight into the performance of ad creative.

And just like Minority Report, albeit less creepy, we used DART to target audiences based on demographic data to screens where a majority of that audience were located.

Six years later, VMO’s aim to unlock the Australian programmatic outdoor market has been realised.

We’ve evolved the DART architecture, building upon the millions of data points collected each day to develop a market-first audience measurement tool, DART R&F.

We believe DART R&F is Australia’s most robust and scalable view of true outdoor audiences. Independently built and verified, DART R&F fuses first and third-party audience datasets and harnesses machine learning to provide brands and agencies with accurate impressions by time of day and at an individual screen level – numbers they can trust.   

This means advertisers can utilise premium, targeted and automated buying solutions with a 100% digital screen network in real-time and at scale.

It provides marketers and agencies with complete autonomous flexibility to upweight, downweight or pause campaign activity, or change creative with speed and efficiency. Meanwhile, clients gain access to what we believe is by far the most granular targeting mechanisms in out-of-home, accessing audiences via environment, site, screen, proximity to points of interest, time of week or day.


Programmatic Outdoor in practice

So, what does VMO programmatic outdoor look like in practice? Now, brands can use their own insights and VMO’s real time data to create innovative campaigns that target the right audiences at the right time.

Recently, one of our clients, a homewares retailer, sought to drive incremental sales via out-of-home advertising. Using hyperlocal targeting of in-centre screens, they promoted a range of discounted and ‘freebie’ offers. Creative messaging also used vouchering (“mention this ad”) to assist in tracking and attributing sales at the register, with offers updated on-the-fly based on their performance at each location.

By overlaying day-parting/specific time targeting, the advertiser limited their purchase of media to key high footfall periods, and tested specific offers at different times of day.

For the first time, the advertiser was able to drive measurable sales uplift from their out-of-home campaigns, delivering return-on-investment that far exceeded campaign benchmarks; and building a valuable cache of data on the performance of different screens, creative messaging and day-parts to feed back into real-time optimisation of their campaigns.


The future is now

Fuelling the broader digital sector’s growth has been the demand for more robust, data lead audience targeting.

We believe our programmatic out of home platform will enable marketers to shift digital budgets into out of home media – and target real audiences in real time.

And unlike Minority Report, there is no need to wait until the year 2054. At VMO, we foresee campaigns traded programmatically accounting for 15% of revenue within the next two years as marketers recognise Programmatic Outdoor as a genuine alternative trading and targeting solution - and the market’s immediate future.

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