The importance of visualisation in programmatic DOOH campaigns

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Digital Out of Home (DOOH) has made outdoor audiences easier to engage with for brands of all sizes. With a variety of screen sizes, and more campaign flexibility, many brands are taking the plunge for the first time. For those looking to take advantage of this space, the ability to see clearly what creative looks like on screens and truly visualise where spend is headed is a welcome relief. 

For programmatic DOOH campaigns to make an impact, visualisation is key. Here, Will Brownsdon, Managing Director EMEA, Hivestack, explores why visualisation is so important for DOOH, how brands can achieve this at scale using programmatic capabilities, and how it can help brands to optimise their DOOH campaigns in-flight.


For digital first marketers, visualisation tools help to simplify the planning and buying process, which can often be overwhelming with the range of environments and formats available. Intelligent visualisation generated by mobility data, such as geotemporal heat-mapping, offers a wealth of behavioural insights to buyers based on real world observations and better informs planning and campaign activation. These tools are invaluable to digital natives as they bring OOH inventory to life.

Programmatic DOOH does more than just automation. By leveraging visual location intelligence, marketers are able to activate highly targeted DOOH campaigns that utilise various data touchpoints to enable truly audience-centric buys.

When planning their next DOOH campaign, marketers will particularly benefit from the powerful visualisation capabilities that programmatic technology offers, allowing them to plan and activate based on data-driven insights, giving brands an edge when dealing with fast-moving consumer habits. 

What is visualisation in programmatic DOOH?


With the emphasis on striking campaigns, such as jaw-dropping 3D billboards, it is easy to assume that visualisation in programmatic DOOH relates to the creative on screen.

Instead, in this case, visualisation refers to the unique ability to digest large complex data sets and transform them into visual location intelligence that accelerates the optimisation of programmatic DOOH activation. Buyers are able to access this through selected demand-side platforms (DSPs) allowing them to better optimise their ad budget both pre-campaign and in-flight.

Following the crowd


For any DOOH campaign to be truly effective, it needs to reach target audiences at scale. Audience levels can rapidly fluctuate in public places, with areas like transport hubs seeing constant swells and lulls. Programmatic DOOH can ensure that brands reach their target audiences at scale, therefore maximising spend. 

Using the right partner when setting up your programmatic DOOH campaign is critical to track audience interest and movement on a national, local, and hyper-local level, harnessing actionable intelligence and allowing campaigns to be optimised accordingly. For this to be effective, data needs to be collected from multiple sources. This includes a brand’s media and performance data, first-party data, the location of DOOH inventory, competitor data and even seasonal events.

From here, the right programmatic DOOH platform can visualise maps with granular location information. It may show, for example, a high concentration of a brand's targeted audience in a certain area. A marketer can then target inventory in a select area via geofencing and tailoring messaging to ensure contextual relevance.

This new development within the channel allows brands to target screens near brick-and-mortar stores, transport hubs or other strategic landmarks. It also allows brands to precisely track audience journeys, visualised via heatmaps. For example, a brand may want to target gym-goers, running promotions near or within a certain gym location. But using mobile data signals, they can then track how users arrive at a targeted location, or where they head afterwards. Similar targeted promotions could therefore be run in the nearby subway station, or a grocery shop gym-goers visit afterwards, ensuring that target audiences are reached at multiple touchpoints.

For digital marketers, visualisation tools help to simplify the planning and buying process. Intelligent graphical representations generated by audience data, such as heatmaps, offer key insights to buyers on the behaviour of audiences in a highly intuitive way, making identifying and targeting more straightforward. These tools bring inventory to life by visualising audiences across environments over time and make DOOH campaigns easier and more efficient to implement.

Keeping track


The benefits of visualisation are not just relevant to pre-campaign planning. Programmatic DOOH harnesses machine learning capabilities to ensure that insights are being generated throughout the campaign. Data is always on, always learning, and always optimising the campaign delivery programmatically.

By combining anonymised mobile data, proprietary insights, and analytics, marketers can access a visual representation of outcomes such as brand lift, footfall lift, or offline to online surge. The display of these outcomes as a campaign runs, allows marketers to optimise their campaigns in-flight, driving budget towards inventory and delivering desired results.

Post-campaign, these insights can be further analysed, and their insights harnessed for cross channel planning. The end-to-end measurement ability of programmatic DOOH brings the medium in line with its online counterparts, allowing it to truly become part of the omni-channel media mix.

Visualisation is a powerful development for programmatic DOOH. Whether a marketer is diving into programmatic DOOH for the first time or has experience with the channel, the ability to visualise and act against complex business challenges with such clarity and detail is key to deliver best in class DOOH campaigns in a highly competitive marketing landscape. 


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