A DPAA-sponsored feature.
In our ongoing series of exclusive interviews with senior execs of recent new members of the Digital Place Based Advertising Association (DPAA), we chat with Ken Sahlin, CEO of DOmedia.
Mel Stott: DOmedia calls itself the leading software platform provider for planning and buying out-of-home advertising. Tell us a bit about that and your role in the digital out-of-home ad world.
Ken Sahlin: DOmedia’s Demand-Side Platform (DSP) for agencies and brands powers a larger portion of the U.S. out-of-home – including digital out-of-home – spend than any other set of tools. As demand for digital out-of-home continues to grow, we will be working even more closely with vendors and media buyers to ensure our platform continues to provide the most efficient and effective media buying experience available.
Of course, our role in the DOOH space extends beyond being the leading DSP in terms of market share. We are a company of innovators with a deeply entrepreneurial spirit. Right now, that is pushing us to take a leadership position in bridging the gap between the workflow automation tools we currently offer and future programmatic buying tools that agencies and brands want to utilize.
DOmedia’s newly launched Supply-Side Platform (SSP) for media vendors was our first big investment as we seek to guide all of the OOH industry, rather than just a few isolated networks, down a “path to programmatic.”
The SSP is seeing great adoption. Right now we are working with our customers to rapidly introduce new functionality to the SSP. This mirrors the process that secured our leadership position with media buyers over the last few years. At the same time, we are collaborating with other DPAA members to develop standards that will accelerate the DOOH industry toward wider programmatic capabilities.
What are some of the advertising agencies and brands with whom you have worked?
Protecting the data of our client brands and agencies is one of the core tenets of our business. But, to give you an idea, over the last year we have powered media buys for 11 of Forbes 100 Most Valuable Global Brands. And, as has been widely reported, our largest agency customer is the Starcom MediaVest Group.
DOmedia opened our DSP to small and mid-sized agencies at the start of 2016. In the last eight months, we have signed agreements with new agencies representing over $180 million in annual out-of-home spend. And, of course, that only really speaks to our involvement at the highest levels of the OOH industry. We also serve small businesses and independent advertisers, who use DOmedia to search the largest database of U.S. OOH assets and vendors and request “quotes” directly from them.
This year we have also seen a big uptick in the amount of political OOH advertising. That’s true testament to the format’s ongoing renaissance in terms of targetability and reach.
Can you place a dollar value on the transactions you have facilitated?
Obviously, we would love to do that. However, our agency partners have asked that we refrain for the time being. What we can say is that we surpassed $1 billion in transactions in 2015. We are now well beyond that, and our traction is only accelerating as we continue to bring on new agencies and brands.
We do publish the dollars that have been proposed through the platform. In fact, it is right on the homepage of DOmedia.com. At the time of this interview, that number is over $4.3 billion.
Earlier this year you announced the close of a Series A funding round totaling $3 million. How are those funds being deployed?
DOmedia has an aggressive growth strategy for the next few years. We are utilizing our recent funding round primarily to fuel growth in technology, marketing and customer acquisition. Our team has more than doubled in size since Q4 2015. We have already released multiple new products including our supply-side platform, a proof-of-performance application, and advanced mapping capabilities.
What does the future hold for DOmedia and the way OOH media is bought and sold?
DOmedia will continue to lead the industry in removing the barriers between buyers and sellers. Everything we do for buyers is aimed at shortening the time required to plan, buy and execute OOH campaigns, while also improving campaign effectiveness, measurability and transparency. Everything we do for vendors is meant to automate as much of their sales process as possible, so that they can spend time selling instead of organizing spreadsheets.
At the same time, DOmedia is working on the technology backbone for a programmatic future that includes the entire U.S. OOH industry, rather than merely niche groups of assets. Ultimately, that will help agencies and brands achieve greater results, while increasing overall profitability for vendors.
So, I am proud to say, as I look toward the future, that DOmedia is definitely living up to our promise to “change the way OOH media is bought and sold.”
What are you looking to get out of your DPAA membership?
Our industry is experiencing a real technological renaissance. The DPAA is a nexus for a lot of that creative and entrepreneurial energy. As a business, we have clear goals for growth and expansion, but we also believe there is a lot to be gained by joining together with other intelligent and enthusiastic companies and individuals.
The pace of change in OOH is accelerating rapidly. Big things are happening; we believe our DPAA membership gives DOmedia the ability to contribute to this growth.