How can we take programmatic advertising outdoor? (17/06/15)

How can we take programmatic advertising outdoor?

Primesight is now part of Global

The conversation around programmatic advertising is endless. Each day brings new best practice guidelines, features detailing the latest tech and trends, and endless forums, panels and debates. However, programmatic in the out-of-home (OOH) industry hasn’t quite generated the same buzz.

While programmatic is ubiquitous in media and marketing, the outdoor sector is proving stubborn on the issue. Outdoor advertising is structurally resistant to change. It is a medium which relies for the creation of around 95% of its audience delivery upon the manual posting of classic posters. Across the world, OOH advertising relies on the skill sets of a small number of specialist outdoor agencies to navigate the multitude of formats and environments. The medium also faces a huge challenge in the measurement of integrated and realistic audience delivery.

But things are finally starting to change with three clear development streams:


'Click to Buy' facilitates the open purchase of a billboard through online search, transaction and artwork provision. Several software companies have now created the interface to make this a desirable and effective process for both the media owner and the local business client. Media owners in markets worldwide are actively engaging in this self-service shop window, which has the opportunity to grow revenue through cost effective new customer acquisition and improved efficiency of business retention.


This development links the media owner inventory management systems directly to major trading partners, enabling them to pull by format and location, real time assessment of classic poster inventory availability. This live data set creates the base for efficient fusion with client-orientated data sets that might influence the final selection of display locations.


Outdoor digital inventory is plugged in as a premium display channel to the online digital trading desks. The combination of integrating digital screens, which are the fastest growth sector of the outdoor media market, with the considerable investment funds of the online trading desks could open a valuable new revenue channel for media owners.

Opportunity exists in all three of these streams to firstly automate and subsequently to determine outcomes through a programmatic approach. But significant hurdles remain.

In the past, media owners have been comfortable making huge investments in high quality advertising sites rather than software development. Investment is now necessary in inventory management systems.

There also needs to be more standardized protocols for the transfer of data between the major trading parties. Empowered industry groups, which represent all significant interests, need to work closely together to plug OOH medium into a future-facing transaction infrastructure.

Finally, the industry must simplify and standardize pricing methodologies, which are currently loose and wide-ranging.

To overcome the challenges, collaboration is key. There must be unprecedented cooperation to create the trading infrastructure of the future and enable the upstart of automation and programmatic execution access to the heritage of outdoor advertising.


Primesight is one of the UK’s largest suppliers of out of home (OOH) solutions.

We understand the power of OOH advertising and its ability to be effective at changing the attitudes and actions of our audience. We are passionate about results and have built a culture that is focused on delivering them for our customers.

Our product portfolio is one of the largest in the UK reaching audiences in a range of environments including Roadside, Cinema, Retail Convenience, and Subway transit. The operation of the largest UK network of fully interactive screens allows touch, sound and gesture engagement as well as mobile connection through touch points.

Our OOH sciences team make use of proprietary research tools such as Primemobile and Primedesign to help improve the impact and measurement of campaigns.

We are proud to help SMEs across the country grow their business as well as working with many of the top 100 advertisers in the UK every year.

By Mungo Knott, Marketing & Insight Director, Primesight

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