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Trumping Programmatic and other such Heresies to the OOH Amateurs

The Persistent Puffery on Programmatic

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Skims via OUTFRONT Media

 

Trumping Programmatic and other such Heresies to the OOH Amateurs

 

The Persistent Puffery of Programmatic

 

 

by William Board, 

 

 

Programmatic planning, buying and selling has been a significant headline which has been over hyped ad nauseum for the last 4 years. Fortunately, it has taken a backseat with COVID days on us. But wait! Where is the programmatic Holy Grail to fend off the ravages of the corona virus economy?

We have yet to see one programmatic provider check all the boxes for excellence. Granted, there are one or two who are leading the space, while others are jumping on the promotional/sales bandwagon trumpeting their platforms and attempting to steer the OOH programmatic narrative as the silver bullet for OOH.  Clearly, today it is not. The future for programmatic is less foreseeable than the end of Covid-19. Much less.

 

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Here are the fun, almost comical responses when it comes to anyone who dares to question programmatic as a solution for OOH’s success: If you question programmatic platforms and attempt to look into the depths of their software: 1. you will be criticized for your lack of understanding of the OOH industry, or 2. questioned about your commitment to Out of Home or 3. the one that sends me to the floor in hysterics, are accusations of not having the capacity to comprehend the process. Yeah, right…  My cynicism overtakes me at times, especially when I am continually reading how programmatic is transforming (note present tense) the OOH Industry.  There I go again, ” BB you just don’t get it.” 

Someone, I don’t recall who, (I filed that story away in trash with the dozens of other puff pieces) wrote an item pre-Covid, on how the OOH Industry is slow to evolve, lacking the desire and capability to readily understand programmatic. The story went on how Out of Home is an archaic industry and needs to be slowly educated.  They may as well used the word, primitive. I am sure many in the programmatic space who are reading this are nodding their head saying, “hell yes!”
I am becoming more and more annoyed and offended by the techies looking at OOH as low hanging fruit and you should be too. 

Hey, we understand there is a tremendous amount of pressure from your investors to prove your business model. The persistent puffery on programmatic does not help the cause. When someone writes a post or mentions how important programmatic is to OOH sales today, ask them to stop speaking in terms of percentage increases and identify the formats purchased, where they are located and here’s the killer, state the actual dollars spent via programmatic platforms. Just don’t ask to look under the hood.

Is there any single OOH owner / provider / agency / brand who has shown a transformation in their sales revenues due to programmatic? Certainly not the Big 3 according to their recent quarterly sales reports, or Big 4, or 5 or 6… you get that point.

Recently, two individuals have come to my attention with their perspectives on programmatic. One a programmatic provider and the other an OOH owner. Both share certain similar vision on programmatic and its relationship to OOH’s immediate future and its potential. 

Ron Warner

The first view is is from a programmatic provider, Ron Warner, at Snapp Digital. Ron Warner is building “a software that automates the buying and selling of digital Out Of Home assets but understands it should be a tool not the solution.”  

Gotta like Ron’s next comments; “What happens when you have a bunch of technology individuals trying to sell advertising? The answer is, you have a bunch of technology individuals trying to sell advertising. This is why DOOH advertising is struggling. They just keep adding more layers of tech, thinking it will confuse people to simply buy it.”

(Editors note: Check out the people with real hands on, legitimate OOH experience the programmatic platforms have on their staff. Some have zero. Why are they so, OOH inexperienced?)

Bel Harper

The next individual to share thoughts on programmatic and the future of OOH, is Bel Harper of oOh!. Ms. Harper is Group Director-Product Strategy for oOh!. Her background gives her bona fides on OOH expertise. She speaks from hands on, legitimate OOH experience. Harper has 20 years in OOH, 7 of which were in sales for JCDecaux and APN Outdoor. 

Bel Harper begins her views with the following statements:

“There’s a lot of hype around programmatic trading of Out of Home inventory. It will come, eventually, but our view is that industry needs to take a deep breath, says Bel Harper, Group Director – Product Strategy at oOh!media. In the meantime, brands should be targeting audiences based on actual buyer behavior if they want to achieve stronger ROI – and thinking beyond supermarket screens.”

Harper goes on to make great points on her current and future views of OOH. Some of them are a bit self serving supporting her organization, oOh! (she has to make a living too) but do not let that cloud the considerations she includes in the value of data, reaching audiences and simplicity for the outdoor industry. Good read. Check it out in the link below.

Bel Harper post via Mi3 here ⇒The immediate future of Out of Home: Why cold, hard purchase data trumps programmatic hype

OOH Today is not against programmatic. Not at all. We welcome and support its future. Just don’t bum rush us with an incomplete product, half disclosed sales successes and imaginative thought leadership pieces on how it’s here today and currently transforming the Outdoor Industry.
Because it’s not. Not yet. 

 

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10 Comments
  1. Jim Moravec says

    Here, here. Well stated I could not agree with you more.

  2. Ray says

    Enjoyed this piece having experienced the hyperbole. The tech folks really want to control the processes and are indeed not only confusing the buyers, but also the sellers.

    Again, nicely done.
    Raymundo Poster

  3. Keanu says

    Morning Master’s Board and Baer.
    Excellent points on programmatic buying OOH Today! I couldn’t agree more. Another point that needs to be addressed and is overly brought up is daily mobility data and daily miles driven. The world has changed and won’t be going back anytime soon. People are still out and about very regularly but their travel habits have changed. So, why do we continually need to say that travel is 94% of pre-covid numbers, when instead, we should be discussing and shouting from the mountain tops that OOH is now more valuable than ever because it is where/when you want it in very key locations.
    Have a great day.

    Keanu of Kentucky Outdoor

  4. Bo Kanine says

    Two sentences that nailed it.

    “When someone writes a post or mentions how important programmatic is to OOH sales today, ask them to stop speaking in terms of percentage increases and identify the formats purchased, where they are located and here’s the killer, state the actual dollars spent via programmatic platforms. Just don’t ask to look under the hood.”

    THANKS Brent! I thought this whole time that it was me. I was the dumb one that could not understand how to sell a single campaign programmatically.

    BovineK9

  5. Annie Bancroft says

    Re: Programmatic. Our agency approaches it as one option in the toolkit. It’s a tactic like any other. Ex: You want an iconic unit, you buy the 405 freeway, Sunset Strip, SF Skyway, Times Square, The Loop, etc. You want mass frequency, you buy a showing of posters, taxi tops or bus kings, you want hipster attitude, you buy wild posting, hand-paints and barricades. You want mass impressions with speed to market, digital creative flexibility and no commitment, you buy programmatic. It’s a tool in the tool box like anything else. And it has material and unique attributes.
    What’s getting lost in the conversation, is the power of hands-on human thinking. The programmatic DSP’s don’t make smart buys. People do.

  6. No Fear No Favor says

    Annie Bancroft, sound advice. “the power of hands-on human thinking. The programmatic DSP’s don’t make smart buys. People do.”
    Thank you for your comments

  7. No Fear No Favor says

    Thank you Bo. the responses to this post have been overwhelmingly positive.

  8. No Fear No Favor says

    Keanu of Kentucky, “very key locations” is the consideration which programmatic does not appear to address.
    thank you for your comments.

  9. No Fear No Favor says

    Ray, It does appear the tail may be wagging the dog. “tech folks really want to control the processes and are indeed not only confusing the buyers, but also the sellers.”
    Which leads to another very useful and important paraphrasing of an old saying, ‘The dog still has to be able to hunt.’ We can not lose sight of the purpose of the process is to grow the OOH Industry. Thank you for sharing your thoughts

  10. No Fear No Favor says

    Thank you Jim Moravec. As an Industry we have to maintain the control of our inventory to our benefit AND the Industry’s; which may be aligned to the Advertiser’s benefit as well.