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Year in Review: Diederick Ubels | Sage + Archer

Diederick Ubels from Sage+Archer/Vistar Media explains in the invidis annual commentary the role that AI will play for DooH in 2024 and why DooH networks will undergo fundamental changes.

The year 2023, like many before and after it, had its share of highs and lows. Some refer to it as a period of multiple crises. Others, especially the creative minds, primarily see opportunities.

The increased use of AI in outdoor advertising, the availability of AI tools like ChatGPT, and the integration of Augmented Reality and 3D effects in dynamic creatives have propelled our industry forward. Furthermore, data-driven technologies enable interactions with our target audiences through the activation of QR codes. This transforms one-dimensional billboards, which dominated cityscapes for decades, into interactive screens and crucial touchpoints along the customer journey and user experience.

With all the innovative advancements of the past 12 months, the question now arises: what can the DooH industry expect in the next 12 months? Will there be a phase of consolidation or stagnation? Or can we expect even more from 2024 than before?

Quo vadis, AI?

The fact is that Artificial Intelligence and machine learning will continue to reshape programmatic advertising. Automatically generated ad texts controlled by AI have the potential to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of campaigns. Even though completely autonomous text creation is still a futuristic concept, scenarios where it can be employed are conceivable. For instance, in highly targeted campaigns based on real-time triggers, AI can generate texts that have a relevant connection to the external environment and incorporate context.

However, it should be noted that control over AI-generated content will vary: brands with a highly established brand identity are likely to exercise restraint in fully automated content generation and probably continue to rely on their own creation. For others, it can be a valuable tool for efficiently creating effective campaigns.

AI Model Replaces Pre-Tests

In collaboration with Memorable, Sage + Archer/Vistar Media has developed an AI model to better integrate AI into DooH campaigns. This model evaluates each creation based on specific rules derived from our experiential knowledge. With our AI model, we aim to understand whether the rules have been successfully applied or if adjustments are necessary.

Additionally, we consider the context—the location where the advertisement is displayed. Everyone can understand that it makes a difference whether a campaign is placed at a rural bus stop or in an urban shopping center. In our AI model, the effectiveness of advertising is assessed within the specified context. This allows us to optimize our advertising materials without the need for extensive pre-tests.

New Methods for Increased Effectiveness

In addition to the increased application of AI in Digital-out-of-Home, I expect improvements in the measurement and analysis of programmatic outdoor advertising in 2024. The question is: How can we enhance the measurement and analysis of our digital advertising campaigns in 2024 to provide our customers with more accurate insights into the effectiveness and ROI of their campaigns?

A trend that I have been observing for a while is the implementation of methods traditionally used for mass media campaigns. This shift moves us away from merely measuring and questioning whether programmatic Out-of-Home advertising works to a better understanding of which specific elements of a campaign generate additional value.

This means that we will soon be able to measure the effectiveness of targeting, dynamic creatives, and other optimization strategies more accurately. Additionally, we are integrating more data points, such as linking campaign performance to e-commerce sales or in-store purchases. This holistic approach provides a comprehensive view of campaign effectiveness.

Centralized Reporting

Critical for rational campaign management is centralized reporting – a tool primarily of interest to advertisers. As programmatic buying extends to various transaction types, including Guaranteed Deals and even analog outdoor advertising, a centralized reporting system becomes indispensable. It allows advertisers a consolidated overview of their campaigns, regardless of the transaction type. This centralization not only simplifies campaign management but also offers a more efficient way to measure and optimize campaigns across different transaction types.

International Campaigns in Real Time

With the digitization of outdoor advertising and the accessibility of DooH screens through programmatic infrastructures, we can conduct campaigns in multiple markets simultaneously. For example, we activated a campaign for a client in 18 different countries through a platform. This scalability is particularly appealing to clients who centrally purchase media, enabling them to consolidate purchasing across different regions and streamline reporting and optimization efficiently. This trend is likely to continue as more advertisers centralize their media buying due to the accessibility and efficiency of programmatic outdoor advertising.

Conclusion: OoH is Changing

Amidst the plethora of new options, I personally foresee another development: a significant increase in new private networks and spaces in the Digital-out-of-home advertising landscape. While some communities prohibit outdoor advertising, we observe a rapid proliferation of screens in private spaces like retail, gyms, office buildings, and shopping centers. These private networks offer unique opportunities for advertisers and possess valuable data often lacking in public locations. This growth contributes to the overall expansion of the programmatic out-of-home channel, opening new possibilities for advertisers and marketers alike.

The barriers between traditional and digital media teams are gradually breaking down as the industry discovers the intelligent combination of old and new media, of creativity and science, for effective storytelling in the real world. Therefore, Out-of-Home must be reimagined to keep pace with rapid developments. In the future, competitive advantages will be earned not only through a purchasing platform but through a marketplace that combines DSP and SSP.