Ali MacCallum of Kinetic: programmatic points Out of Home to a better post-Covid future

If anything is defining the impact of Covid it is uncertainty. Not knowing how the pandemic will develop in terms of further restrictions and economic impact nationally and locally, is making brand media planning infinitely more difficult and the advertising and media industry continues to be buffeted as a result.

But innovation and investment continue across the whole industry in advance of what will certainly be better times ahead. This summer saw programmatic trading and audience targeting capabilities launched across most elements of the Out of Home sector with all major agencies and media owners offering solutions.

At Kinetic we have been running near real time programmatic campaigns since last year in the UK and have been building up a body of knowledge and expertise. We recently augmented this work with a new partnership with Hivestack, enabling us to work with brands and partner agencies on what is essentially DOOH programmatic 2.0.

The huge investment in connected digital screens in urban areas across the UK over the last decade has reached a pivotal moment with bespoke DSP technologies designed for OOH, combined with audience data analytics using a mixture of data inputs such as Route, retail footfall and mobile SDK programes.

Trading and targeting can now be delivered across thousands of screens in near real time, and brand campaigns can run seamlessly from a social media app onto the high street using contextually relevant creative. It amounts to a revolution in not just the OOH space but in the advertising sector, as for the first time, brands can connect private screens with those in public spaces at scale and with meaning.

Programmatic OOH allows advertisers to optimise OOH creative campaigns at a moment’s notice compared to traditional poster campaigns, which used to be planned months in advance and traded in blocks of time (typically in two-weeks cycles). This level of flexibility and fast data analysis enable brands to understand how effective their campaigns are by monitoring sales performances and take action to improve its impact on audiences almost immediately.

Trigger-based targeting around things like news, sporting events, weather forecasts, locations, and audiences allow brands to react in real-time. A recent example is the campaign from Becodefence promoting its allergy spray with posters automated to run the ads in real time depending on the pollen levels in the air.

Data from many different sources can be put into the digital poster mix, such as travel information or product sales. Brands also have the option to include social proofing techniques i.e. using local information about people’s behaviour to influence others from the same area. For example, a gym brand might target consumers because membership is on the rise in the neighbourhood.

Another key advantage of programmatic OOH is its opportunity to align with mobile devices. With geotargeting, movement tracking, and retargeting, brands can target a niche group of audiences at a specific time or location. For instance, by utilising SDK data across mobile devices, brands can identify a niche group of consumers that fit a specific criterion i.e. visits to a café or a supermarket.

Online advertising has been plagued by concerns about privacy and fake or dangerous information on social channels. Automated digital posters offer a less problematic environment, with the same super-fast flexibility coupled with the power of the context of the world around us.

This evolution and re-positioning of OOH as a medium could not have been timelier, as brands need to be able to flex campaign plans and creative messaging like never before. We believe this is a permanent shift that the entire industry will embrace and will become increasingly creative in maximising the opportunity.

Ali MacCallum is UK CEO of Kinetic Worldwide.

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