The OOH industry in South Africa has been totally transformed over the past five years as media owners embrace the transition from traditional static billboards to digital boards.
All the major media owners and a growing pool of new entrants offer both digital and traditional static inventory, opening an array of digital advertising display formats and DOOH advertising opportunities.
DOOH is already being leveraged by many advertisers for its innate ability to deliver contextually relevant messages. Anywhere. Anytime. DOOH offers the facility for rapid changes in creative messaging and the flexibility and agility that many advertisers demand from any media platform today.
As a result, programmatic digital out of home or ‘pDOOH’ continues to be the potential Holy Grail for many media agencies, media owners, and ad tech suppliers. But before we do a Monty Python and start clapping our coconuts together, we need to acknowledge the various obstacles that continue to hamper pDOOH efforts to become a mainstream media offering.
Recently in the UK, PwC in conjunction with the IAB, conducted a survey of senior industry executives across all media stakeholders about the state of pDOOH and the steps needed to be taken to clear these barriers to mass adoption. The study listed inter alia three key barriers for advancement and mainstream adoption of pDOOH in the industry.
1. Education. Ninety-five percent of respondents indicated that greater education and upskilling is required across, advertisers, agency planners and buyers in order to accelerate the adoption of pDOOH. Digital strategists and programmatic-trading teams simply do not know enough about the nuances of outdoor advertising and how that may affect the application of digital buying. Similarly, OOH practitioners are not necessarily that acquainted with programmatic and digital buying and the world of Real Time Bidding (RTB).
2. Fragmentation. Not the fragmentation of audiences, which in the case of DOOH contributes to a more targeted and relevant ad-serve, but rather the proliferation of DOOH formats, media owners and inventory. From the media buying perspective, not being able to access and buy media across multiple media owners through a single platform is massively inefficient. 62% of those surveyed listed fragmentation of digital inventory and their inability to keep up with the pace of innovation as a key barrier to the growth of pDOOH.
In addition to this, although there are a number of different ad serving platforms available in the market there is no single currency methodology for trading DOOH programmatically when buying on impressions and reach.
Most media owners and agencies continue developing their own technology solutions in isolation, contributing further to market fragmentation.
3. Non-Standardisation. Forty-three percent of respondents in the PwC survey stated that non-standardisation of data was also a major barrier to the full adoption of pDOOH as a mainstream media offering. Across the landscape, agencies and media owners use different datasets in the processes of campaign planning and evaluation. Standardised data sets and methodologies are required in order to effectively validate campaign learnings and attribution.
In short, the lack of standardisation of data and inventory in the market means that a multi-platform buying approach is restricted at present.
As it stands, we are far away from a true pDOOH platform which is inclusive and representative of the whole DOOH market in South Africa. The success of pDOOH will rely on media owners, agencies and advertisers working together to standardise the methodology behind the measurement and transaction currency for pDOOH.
Media owners need to work hard to truly understanding the benefits of pDOOH, the ways in which programmatic trading can bring value to clients, and how to trade DOOH programmatically. There needs to be a commitment to the education of sales teams, clients, agency planners, and buyers, both in programmatic trading teams and traditional OOH buyers, to accelerate the growth of pDOOH.
COVID-19 restrictions aside, OOH will continue to grow as a category, and in particular, DOOH. There is a lot to look forward to in this data driven dynamic world, as we drive towards a pDOOH future.
 IAB – Growing Programmatic DOOH: Opportunities and Challenges
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