Outdoor advertising braced for its programmatic moment

Outdoor ads are tipped to be the next medium brands buy in real time as more billboards go digital. But the promise of programmatic remains a work in progress for the sector, despite taking on more of the characteristics inherent in digital advertising. Published in Digiday

 

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The growing digitization of billboards and the subsequent shift in how ads are targeted to them has left the gap between an outdoor campaign and an online one smaller than ever. As that gap has shortened, ad buyers are starting to see outdoor media as just another screen they can buy, while media owners look to programmatic as a way to recoup the costs of owning pricey digital screens. Combined with Google’s reported test of ad tech for billboards in Europe, there’s a sense among industry observers that the possibility of trading outdoor ads in the same automated way as online ads is close after several false starts — ad tech firm Vistar launched what it claimed was the first ad exchange for outdoor in 2012.

“Programmatic is the way that digital should be bought and sold and outdoor media is going digital at a rapid rate around the world,” said Dan Larden, partnerships director at media agency Infectious Media. “The great thing about Digital OOH is that there are really no bad placements, so there will also not be a race to the bottom like we had in display.”

 

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