Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Programmatic OOH Predictions: John-Paul Major, Head Of Programmatic Futures, MediaCom

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NDA has partnered with VIOOH for a series of articles exploring OOH advertising and the role programmatic technologies will play in its development. 

As part of this project, we spoke to industry leaders to hear their predictions for DOOH and programmatic OOH in 2021.

Next up is John-Paul Major, Head Of Programmatic Futures at MediaCom.

What are the biggest opportunities, and challenges, for DOOH in 2021?

One obvious opportunity for next year is to take advantage of the feelgood factor that (fingers crossed) comes back in, given the positivity around the vaccines. People next year will really value the freedoms that we’ve all missed in 2020 and after a very restricted winter period with shortened days, coming into Spring people are going to want to be outside mixing in a way that we haven’t been able to do for a long time. There is no better medium than DOOH to take advantage of this and allow clients to tap into that feel-good factor

In terms of challenges, it’s all around building back confidence quickly in the market and pushing for as strong a start as possible in Q1, rather than resting on our laurels thinking “let’s just get through Jan & Feb”. We know the audiences are still there, albeit in different places to where they used to be. 

As an industry, OOH needs to continue to push this narrative, prove the reality using data and tech in order to kick off 2021 with a strong start.  

What are the biggest opportunities, and challenges, for programmatic in OOH in 2021?

Throughout 2020, we’ve seen the real potential of programmatic DOOH come to the fore. Whether it be data-driven automated guaranteed buying, hunting down audiences and allowing clients to have confidence that OOH was still relevant even in lockdown, or DSP-led real-time buying, allowing us to contextualise the buy and bring in the power of client first-party data to drive engagement and relevance.

As with any period of seismic change, the market has had to be open to new ideas and willing to change long-standing behaviours. At MediaCom and within GroupM, our investment in tech and data over the past five years allowed us to be at the forefront of change in the market and be at a point where we could take advantage of the situation, delivering new opportunities for our clients. 

Whilst Covid has undoubtedly hit revenues in OOH, we will look back on this period as a massive step change in terms of how clients view DOOH as a medium. The opportunity and the challenge for 2021 is to capitalise on this to drive forward more innovation and not slip back into more comfortable old ways of working 

How has COVID impacted your planning for the use of programmatic advertising in OOH in the next 6 months? 

At MediaCom, we feel that it’s important to find the right balance between classic OOH buying and programmatic. Classic OOH has so much to offer in terms of scale, fame and the power to drive brands. The danger in the current market is that we rush full speed towards a world where the answer to every brief is programmatic. We need to identify the best response to each brief, proving the audience figures and our understanding of how these have changed in order to support classic where it is the right answer to the brief. 

At the same time, we celebrate the new possibilities that programmatic offers as a compliment to this.

It’s been incredibly important for us to embed the planning and buying of programmatic into the existing OOH team in order to achieve this balance. We work as one team with the end game of growing OOH overall.  

Do you intend to decrease or increase investment in programmatic OOH in 2021?

Increase, definitively, but not at the expense of classic OOH, as stated above. Only where it’s the right answer to the brief.

 What was your favourite programmatic OOH campaign this year

I might be biased, but it’s actually one that we did for a client where we looked at utilising first-party data around stock delivery.

With a massive increase in online shopping, we were tasked with how we could plan a campaign based on details of where stock was being delivered within London boroughs.

 We took each borough as a unique starting point, weighted them by the levels of stock that were being delivered, then looked at the target audience’s movement from each borough and targeted screens that were relevant to them at various points, hour by hour throughout the day, inside or outside the borough.

It really showed the power of being able to set the parameters of the campaign around client first-party data, then couple that with our understanding of audience movement to create a unique bespoke campaign for the client.