Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Sage+Archer: “We want to provide clients with a great automated experience versus just another screen experience”

Programmatic has existed within the online advertising world for decades, but hasn’t yet taken off in the world of digital out-of-home (DOOH), particularly with several solutions not fulfilling the full extent of automation promised by technology. 

Sage+Archer, a buying platform for DOOH and mobile advertising, is looking to change this, bringing programmatic into the DOOH mainstream by delivering a truly automated and accessible experience for advertisers. 

“As a platform, we have a focus on location. We use that focus to zone in on the automation part of out-of-home, and make sure that you don’t need any manual functions to start running campaigns. And we ingest data into the out-of-home and mobile channels, meaning you don’t need specific deal IDs,” says Diederick Ubels, Co-founder and CEO of Sage+Archer.

“Everything is accessible from the get-go. The dynamic creatives are standardised and work across all the different media owners in every market. It’s all about providing an experience that’s fully automated, dynamic, relevant, efficient, and effective.”

The demand-side platform (DSP) differentiates itself from others in the market by specialising in accessible mobile and OOH location experiences, which enables the business to provide clients with “a great automated experience versus just another screen experience”, according to Ubels.

“You have automation tools, which are only accessible for a few,” he adds. “There are also the bigger, multichannel DSPs that offer access to out-of-home and mobile channels combined, but they don’t offer a seamless, automated experience. But we’re very much focused on creating a truly programmatic experience.”

Intelligent privacy-first advertising

Within the online advertising space, with the demise of third-party cookies, as well as other privacy-focused changes, data is becoming less accessible. This shift means that much advertising will move away from attempting to be one-to-one, instead targeting broader audiences, but this doesn’t mean there still isn’t an opportunity to use non-personal data intelligently to measure and attribute.

Programmatic DOOH provides an avenue to provide relevant, data-led advertising to consumers on a larger scale in a privacy-focused manner – and fits perfectly into the new world of digital advertising. 

“Data is becoming less one-on-one, less accessible, and less privacy infringing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be smart about it,” explains Ubels. 

“We focus on location-driven campaigns with insights from contextual data – that is often publicly available information – and sometimes mobile data sources that allow you to understand things like how many people are in a certain location, but not necessarily drill that down to a one-on-one data point. It’s all group-level, so we’re not privacy infringing, but we’re continuing to be smart,” he continues.

“That’s where I think the future is heading. It’s not that, because cookies are going away, you don’t do programmatic advertising. It’s just that we need to use other datasets to still be relevant.”

Solid foundations

The Amsterdam-founded company positions itself as being “infrastructural”, focusing on the “plumbing” and ensuring that its platform does the heavy lifting. The platform provides the tools for clients to easily deliver campaigns, but Sage+Archer also offers managed services.

“We try to push the boundaries of the channels, and help clients strategically with what they are looking for. What is the role of the channel? How can I run campaigns effectively? What is the role of that in my media plans? So, we also assist with anything we can but, in the end, we’re the operational elements to any strategy,” says Ubels.

“We make sure the plumbing works and that it’s as easy as possible for creatives, media planners, and strategists to figure out what they want to do with it, and how that creates the most efficient campaigns.”

Despite Sage+Archer’s current focus on DOOH and mobile, the idea is to take a broader multichannel approach, but only with channels that can work in conjunction with location elements. As such, it is exploring other channels, including audio, to bolster its offering in the coming year. 

“Audio, in that on-the go context, when you have your mobile phone and you’re listening to a podcast or the radio, is something we’re exploring. It could be an interesting opportunity to add it into the mix of location-driven campaigns, and then it all becomes more addressable,” Ubels states. 

Warm embrace?

Away from Sage+Archer, Ubels would like to see widespread trust in programmatic as an infrastructure, with the industry “embracing the possibilities of programmatic out-of-home, and embracing the fact that various clients can access it”. And he believes that’s already starting to happen.

“We see media owners being very excited about the opportunities that come forward with this development,” says Ubels. “The same goes for allowing dynamic creatives on their screens. If the media owners trust the buyers and the tools that run creative, then we’ll see them allowing dynamic elements to be run. 

“If programmatic out-of-home gains traction, it will gain trust and everyone will start to embrace the benefits it has to offer,” he concludes.