Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The case for digital OOH operations: double your tech teams

Guest post by Keith Nilsen,
Founder, voodooh

Monday, April 1, 2019

It’s all about two words – digital operations. The most vital, and often unseen, part in delivering creative digital OOH advertising.

Last month I was invited to be part of the Broadsign Digital Summit Creative Panel, as part of the Integrated Systems Europe event in Amsterdam.

It was great to be part of this discussion. Creativity is typically associated with brightly coloured, bean bag filled loft offices populated by achingly cool people with architectural hair using the latest gadgets. It is not seen as the domain of mostly unseen back-office techies, which is precisely what voodooh, the company I co-founded in 2016, primarily consists of.

It’s clear digital out of home (DOOH) is growing, according to numerous market studies.

Another study predicts that ad fraud could cost advertisers $19 billion in 2018, and as much as $44 billion by 2022, confirming that marketing spend is likely to increase into the unskippable, unmissable, unblockable advertising medium that is outdoor.

digital ooh operations, dooh advertising

Keith Nilsen, voodooh

The Digital OOH panels at last week’s Advertising Week Europe event in London, hosted by Barry Frey and the DPAA, only serve to confirm these facts. Industry leaders from VIOOH, Clear Channel International, TenthAvenue and Vistar Media all agreed on the growing strength of the outdoor format to a packed audience.

So it’s clear we’re in a great place, but as always, it could be better. And this links back to why Broadsign invited a digital tech-ops company to sit on a Creative Panel?

It’s all about two words – digital operations. The most vital, and often unseen, part in delivering creative Digital OOH.

Any creative campaign idea that a client, their agency or production partner has ambitions to deploy – outside of displaying a linear JPEG or a MOV file – is still classified as non-standard across most Digital OOH networks globally.

If your brilliant creative idea depends on environmental triggers, sports scores, news feeds, flight data, social media integrations, traffic speeds, radio broadcasts, user generated images, audience metrics, mobile-to-screen games, you’ll need Digital Operations.

Remember the British Airways #LookUp campaign where an on-screen child pointed to an actual BA aeroplane as it passed overhead? Inconceivable for Jon Andrews, Creative Technologist at Ogilvy, to develop and execute that without the experience, knowledge, collaboration and expert guidance of media owner Digital Operations.

In fact, I challenge any reader to name any non-standard Digital OOH campaign that has NOT required deeper technical involvement from the media owner digital teams.

It’s really interesting food for thought, especially when you go a bit deeper and see this area is, for the most part I believe, the least resourced area within most Digital OOH organisations.

British Airways' traffic-reactive digital OOH campaign by voodoh

British Airways’ traffic-reactive digital OOH campaign by voodooh

And it’s not just campaign creativity at stake.

Without the critical Digital Operations teams generally, there is no active network monitoring, no ongoing tech development, no third party platform integration, no independent audience analytics, no digital R&D, no process improvements or standardisation. Definitely no real chance of achieving effective levels of either automation or programmatic capability. Digital OOH simply does not exist without Digital Operations.

So that’s why Broadsign invited voodooh to their Creative Panel, which can be viewed here. The industry needs to understand that robust, experienced Digital Operations is intrinsically linked to everything in Digital OOH.

The (mostly) under-resourced media owner operations teams, these passionate individuals, are directly or indirectly responsible for almost every day-to-day element of digital. They are the genuine unsung heroes of this incredible industry, and where those hard-working, dedicated and passionate individuals are not nurtured, supported and recognised, the industry risks grinding on in inglorious mediocrity, despite the wonderful image presented externally. We are far better than that as an industry, so I’ll return to my headline – the best advice I think I can give:

Double your tech teams.

Keith Nilsen, voodooh founder.

To learn about voodooh, visit:

Published on Monday, April 1, 2019 at 8:17 PM

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