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Programmatic Digital Out-of-Home (PrDOOH): How to get started

Programmatic advertising on the internet empowers marketers to efficiently reach their target audiences, reducing unnecessary expenses by utilising advanced targeting, precision, and bidding strategies.

On the other hand, digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising involves strategically placed, conspicuous advertising screens, offering vast creative possibilities. Today's technology enables advertisers to merge the power of programmatic precision with DOOH's attention-grabbing formats. The challenge is to know how to combine the unique features of both.

To help marketers achieve Programmatic DOOH (PrDOOH) results, BackLite's team has made it easier by explaining the key elements of an excellent brief, selecting the right technology and data partners, and perfecting targeting, creative optimisation, and measurement.

Navigating the technology and data landscape

Once you've identified prDOOH as a potential channel, you must familiarise yourself with the technology and data landscape. If you're new to programmatic, you'll also need to get to grips with the basics of the buying process:

1. The media owner makes impressions available to buy through their chosen supply-side platform (SSP)

2. Media buyers create deals in their chosen demand-side platform (DSP) based on targeting requirements and budget

3. SSPs serve ad opportunities to DSPs, including information about the location and audience

4. DSPs identify when there is a match between the ad opportunity presented by an SSP and the advertiser's targeting criteria and send a bid amount back to the SSP

5. The creative associated with the winning bid is then shown

When selecting a DSP, there are two options: a specialist DSP built specifically for prDOOH or an omnichannel DSP that offers the ability to buy across multiple channels in a single user interface. Selecting a DSP will depend on your campaign goals and existing technology and data stack. If you need help choosing a DSP, media agencies, media owners, and consultants are well-placed to advise you, as each will have experience working with most of the leading players.

Why Programmatic DOOH Should be in Your Media Mix

Adding Programmatic Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) to your media mix has two benefits. First, it increases the impact of your digital advertising by extending your reach to the physical world. Second, Programmatic DOOH lets you deliver personalised and contextually relevant advertising experiences.

Programmatic Digital Out-of-home advertising presents a game-changing opportunity for marketers. Combining traditional out-of-home strengths with programmatic technology enables precise targeting, real-time optimisation, and seamless integration with data insights. By including programmatic DOOH in your media mix, you can unlock new levels of engagement, impact, and efficiency for your advertising campaigns.

We at BackLite Media offer programmatic DOOH inventory of more than 300+ screens at key locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, including popular roads, destinations, and malls. Our digital media are strategically positioned in high-traffic areas and attract both global tourists and residents. To further enhance the effectiveness of our DOOH inventory, we use data from Seventh Decimal and Admobilize. To learn more about Programmatic DOOH or to get started on a project, reach out at sean@backlitemedia.com


ADCB leverages of BackLite’s Programmtic DOOH network in the UAE

Programmatic Digital Out-of-Home (PrDOOH) advertising is transforming the advertising scene in the UAE, providing a seamless blend of online and offline media for impactful campaigns.

Using an omnichannel marketing strategy, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) ran a PrDOOH campaign that flawlessly integrated online and offline media with the click of a button. By leveraging advanced impression and audience data from Admobilize & Seventh Decimal, our Programmatic team at BackLite recommended strategic locations that targeted specific geographical areas and audiences across the UAE.

Expressing his enthusiasm and success of this campaign, Sean Gadsby, our Head of Programmatic, said, "The Digital Out-of-Home campaign employed a sophisticated omnichannel approach, strategically merging online and offline media channels. By harnessing the power of data analytics from Admobilize & Seventh Decimal, ADCB pinpointed the most relevant locations to reach their target audiences effectively. This fusion of online and offline media amplified campaign performance. It streamlined the process through DSPs like DV360, enabling clients to plan and purchase media with familiar metrics such as impressions and CPM."

The campaign was successful across prominent malls and destinations such as Dubai Festival City Mall, Al Qana, and The Galleria Al Maryah Island, where it captivated audiences on over 200 screens, showcasing the power and potential of Programmatic Digital Out-of-Home (PrDOOH) advertising in the UAE market.

This automation and accessibility have opened up new advertising possibilities for digital marketers. The synergy between online and offline media has become more seamless and effective, enhancing campaigns' overall impact and reach.


The First Programmatic Out of Home Campaign on Sheikh Zayed Road

In March 2021, BackLite Media launched the first Programmatic Out of Home campaign on Sheikh Zayed Road. This campaign was a massive step in showing the region what can be done through Data-Driven Out of Home, and hopefully, the first step of many.

We have invested heavily in our data analytics platform, BackLite Intelligence, and will continue to do so, to provide a robust and transparent platform to plan and buy programmatically.


Interview with Sean Gadsby, Head of Programmatic at BackLite Media

Describe PrDOOH in a nutshell

Programmatic makes your media available at the click of a button.

It’s automation. It’s making your media available to media agencies and clients at the click of a button and then serving that content as well, again at the click of a button.

“Programmatic DOOH isn’t necessarily a new media. It’s just a new way for media owners to make their digital assets readily available for buying and selling. Also, a new way for agencies and clients to be buying our media as well. And the final thing is that the actual posting and serving of the adverts is also part of that automation as well”.

How would you see this from the perspective of the clients?

As more and more media owners in the DOOH space make their media more readily available programmatically, it is a one-stop shop in a drop-down portal for your media to be viewed and considered by local agencies, global agencies, and global clients.

It’s all about the ease of the process, the automation, the speed, the flexibility, and how dynamic this process can be.

What is the effect of programmatic on sales?

We are relatively new to programmatic here in this region. But we can see from our neighbours across Europe and North America that a large percentage of their advertising revenues are now coming from programmatic. We have always been behind the curve in this market. Sometimes people say we are 5-7 years behind the UK. The good thing for us is that the answers to the test are just across the water, so we know it’s come. That’s why we are going through the process of being as ready as possible for the inevitable rise of programmatic digital out-of-home.

When did programmatic start being a thing here in Dubai or globally?

Globally for quite a while. Companies in North America and Europe have been doing it for at least 5 years now.

Programmatic works very well when you have got the scale. Companies in the UK have national networks, so they’ll have digital screens that are part of a wider network across Birmingham, Manchester, and London. So that’s the ideal scenario for a programmatic campaign because a company can come to one media owner at a click of a button and serve their content to some of the biggest cities in the UK in one shot and have a nationwide campaign.

Programmatic gives clients and agencies a more deep-dive into when I am having my campaigns live in OOH. Who is my target audience? Whom do I want to reach? Where do I want to reach them? When do I want to reach them? That’s why programmatic is so important in a unique strategy in our marketplace right now.

I love how you mentioned that with the click of a button, you can do a nationwide campaign, and what are some examples of campaign executions that you like?

So we have had a good few here in this region, starting locally with the YSL campaign that went live on Sheikh Zayed Road. We had a client via a local agency who wanted to reach audiences in Dubai and invest in their digital out-of-home campaign on an impression basis. That was one of the first and most impactful programmatic campaigns we have seen locally on our doorstep.

It was a one-month campaign with a 4-week duration. I know that the client was super happy with the results. We were able to give them a post-campaign report that showed them how many planned impressions there were for the campaign, how many impressions played out as a result of the traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road and then give them some detailed audience insight as well, to know from those impressions what kind of audience were within those impressions.

How easy or hard is it to measure these impressions and give accurate data to the client?

It’s quite easy actually because we have got such strong data partners. Our data ecosystem consists of Ad Mobilize, which counts cars on Sheikh Zayed Road, so we know the peak hours in traffic.

Starting with the number of cars, we can look at how traffic differs per intersection. We can look at traffic speed to know dwell time differences and how long individuals are in front of our signage from intersection to intersection.

We are planning campaigns now thanks to our data and the benefits that programmatic offers based on, for example, commuter hours. If you are an F & B client, you could serve a copy between 8-10 am when commuters make their way to work and serve coffee- or breakfast-based content. At lunchtime, between 12-2 pm, a piece of copy that refers to the lunch menu and then into the evening, you catch people on their way home in their commute again but going the other way.

I imagine that during the morning, when everyone is in a rush to work, it is a peak hour, where perhaps programmatic would be a golden time or more expensive time to advertise. And that goes back to your point of knowing the audience. And in fact, we mentioned partners like Ad Mobilize. Are there any other partners that allow us to get a more holistic view of this data?

Yes. The second data and audience measurement company we partner with is Seventh Decimal. We use their platform, Streach, a lot and in detail. So, They have given us even further insights. It is not only an impression but also an opportunity to read frequency and reach, what you understand in this campaign, pre-campaign planning phase, to answer the question, “How much of the Dubai population are we going to reach?”. We can tell asset by asset, location by location, just how effective that location and digital screen are. It’s beneficial whether it’s on Sheikh Zayed Road, Digital Destinations or even in malls. It gives our proposals and recommendations extra accountability and is backed by their data.

With mobile data, correct?

With STK data that works based on geofencing, if those handsets do pass within that geofence around our locations, we will receive that data and analyse it accordingly.

Let us look into the future of programmatic.How do you envision the future OOH advertising here in Dubai in such a forward and fast-paced city?

So it comes in two steps. OOH and DOOH will continue to move forward, and traditional OOH, including static, will always hold its place in this market. But I think what we will do is have further advancements in advertising technology, AI, audience measurement companies, as well as SPSS and DSPs that open our inventory to be smarter, to be more flexible, to be more targeted.

So I see that Programmatic will play a big part in the future. Hopefully, by leading the line and being the kind of thought leaders talking in that kind of vocabulary and language about impressions, we will get the attention of many media agencies and clients here on our doorstep.

What advice would you give to someone like me who is entering the media industry at the moment and wants to learn more about the place of DOOH?

Be hungry, be passionate, be enthusiastic. And you know, keep your mind open to new ideas, new technology, and new ways of thinking. Because you never know what the next step in DOOH might be. Programmatic is right now. Who knows where it is going to go next! But keep your eyes and ears open, and stay ahead of the game!


BackLite Media Partners with Place Exchange

BackLite Media, one of the leading digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced a partnership with Place Exchange, the leading SSP for programmatic out-of-home (OOH) media, to accelerate the programmatic transformation of DOOH in the UAE and increase opportunities for DOOH to be included in omnichannel marketing strategies.

BackLite Media offers premium DOOH media opportunities across a diverse array of settings in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, ranging from bustling highways like Sheikh Zayed Road to upscale malls and destinations. This expansive coverage across the UAE ensures that BackLite Media effectively reaches individuals throughout their daily journeys. The integration with Place Exchange enables advertisers to seamlessly tap into this extensive inventory through their DSPs with a variety of  programmatic buying options, including open auction, programmatic guaranteed and private marketplace deals.

Sean Gadsby, Head of Programmatic at BackLite Media, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with Place Exchange, highlighting the potential to unlock new revenue streams and attract interest from global buyers. “Place Exchange is a prominent name in the industry, and we’re eagerly anticipating the prospects this partnership brings on a global level. The collaboration with Place Exchange will empower our clients with unparalleled programmatic capabilities and a seamless workflow to incorporate BackLite Media in omnichannel purchases.”

“There is growing demand by local and global advertisers for DOOH inventory in this market,” said Nick Bennett, SVP of Partnerships at Place Exchange. “Through this integration with BackLite Media, they can now deliver high-impact OOH messaging to audiences throughout the UAE with scale, automation, and flexibility like never before.”

The BackLite Media and Place Exchange integration heralds a new chapter in programmatic OOH media evolution in the UAE. This collaboration will enable advertisers to seamlessly leverage BackLite Media’s comprehensive DOOH inventory while capitalising on the benefits of programmatic buying and streamlined workflow integration. As the partnership gains momentum, it stands poised to contribute to the continued evolution of programmatic advertising in the UAE market.


BackLite Media integrates its inventory in the UAE with Location Media Xchange’s programmatic SSP

Location Media Xchange (LMX), an enterprise software provider for Out-of-Home (OOH) media owners, has added inventory from BackLite Media, the digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

LMX has connected BackLite Media’s dynamic Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) inventory with its Supply Side Platform, granting advertisers access to an extensive audience across the UAE.

BackLite Media offers premium DOOH media opportunities in various Dubai and Abu Dhabi settings, ranging from major highways like Sheikh Zayed Road to upscale malls and destinations. The integration with LMX enables advertisers to buy this inventory through their DSPs using various programmatic options, including open auction, programmatic guaranteed and private marketplace deals.

“This new partnership has further opened up our Programmatic inventory to the rest of the world. With over 200+ screens available in our Programmatic network and more significant expansion planned for 2024, it is the ideal time to partner with Moving Walls. Moving Walls has a depth of experience in the Programmatic DOOH space, and we look forward to working closely with them to develop the market here in the UAE. I have met with Srikanth and the wider team at multiple industry gatherings across the globe, and we are delighted to make our partnership official finally. The future looks bright for Programmatic DOOH in our region.” said Sean Gadsby, Head of Programmatic, BackLite Media, commenting on the partnership.

“BackLite is well known as one of the most premium DOOH providers not just in the region but globally,” said Srikanth Ramachandran, Founder and Group CEO at Moving Walls. “This partnership makes it easier for global and regional advertisers to advertise on some of their iconic media assets in the UAE.”

BackLite Media and Moving Walls’ partnership heralds a new chapter in programmatic OOH media evolution in the UAE.

This collaboration will enable advertisers to seamlessly leverage BackLite Media’s comprehensive DOOH inventory while capitalising on the benefits of programmatic buying and streamlined workflow integration of LMX. As the partnership gains momentum, it stands poised to contribute to the continued evolution of programmatic advertising in the UAE market.

About Location Media Xchange

Location Media Xchange (LMX) is the supply-side arm of the Moving Walls Group, providing enterprise software solutions for Out-of-Home media owners. LMX’s offerings include Revenue Management, Inventory Management, Connector to Programmatic Advertising Demand, Audience Measurement, and Dynamic Content Management, among other capabilities. Today, more than 500 media owners worldwide trust the LMX platform.


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