OOH media has traditionally required large upfront buys, with marketers more concerned with brand awareness than direct response from audiences.
The RTB platform will “allow advertisers to access inventory in a more granular way,” said James Davies, chief strategy officer at Posterscope. “If you’re an outdoor media owner, historically that inventory is sold in fairly big blocks. You’ll be live all day, every day for a month or something like that. What this allows advertisers to do is say, ‘I just want Thursday afternoon and that’s it,’ so it can be a lot more targeted.”
The decision to buy for Thursday afternoon, or any other time, will be informed by the location tracking and analytics courtesy of Vistar.
Even as digital OOH buying becomes more like online ads, differences will remain.
“There is a fundamental difference between the online world and the out-of-home world,” Davies said. “If you stick up an ad on a digital billboard, you’re generally not doing that to get people to jump into the nearest store and buy a product.”
Still, marketers used to the performance-driven online ad world would like to see more data on how well an OOH campaign is working.
“It’s added intelligence. ... It’d be nice to know that (OOH ads) are driving some form of action. Action is not going to be direct-response, but media should drive more awareness, or people to your store,” or some other tangible result, said Jeremy Ozen, co-founder of Vistar Media.
Part of the challenge in introducing RTB to digital OOH has been standardizing inventory data. Each of the big OOH players (Lamar, Outfront and Clear Channel Outdoor) run their inventory with different systems, and may even have varying systems themselves for different types of OOH inventory.
Limited inventory will be available on the platform starting in January as it begins beta testing and Vistar Media works to perform custom technical integrations with the varying systems and the platform.