Owner of AOL and Yahoo! Verizon Media recently emerged as a major player in programmatic DOOH advertising.
Iván Markman, Verizon Media’s Chief Business Officer, spoke to Mel Stott about the company’s involvement in this new niche.
Please give us an overview of what Verizon Media does in the field of DOOH advertising.
First and foremost, OOH is an incredibly relevant, effective and innovative medium when it comes to consumer engagement.
Verizon Media makes it possible for the world’s largest brands to buy media across mobile, desktop, video, connected TV, audio, and, of course, DOOH. We entered the DOOH advertising market in 2019.
We have a premium media and content business with globally recognized platforms and properties. Those include Yahoo, HuffPost, TechCrunch, Engadget, and other well-known names. 900 million consumers visit these properties every month to access their favorite content, whether it be sports, stocks, entertainment, or news.
Verizon Media was one of the first media companies to make DOOH inventory available in an automated and programmatic way through our Ad Platform. This data-driven platform makes it easier than ever to serve ads on digital screens in public spaces.
How many DOOH screens can your advertisers access?
Verizon Media gives advertisers access to nearly 200,000 digital signs. Our DOOH inventory suppliers include Rubicon Project, Clear Channel Outdoor, Lamar, Zoom Media, Captivate and Hivestack, Broadsign, Vistar, and, most recently, JCDecaux through a partnership with VIOOH.
In bringing DOOH inventory to our Ad Platform, we are also helping DOOH publishers and content owners to monetize their content. We connect them with quality DOOH buyers.
Finally, in addition to our Ad Platform, we also have our Media Platform. Essentially, we make streaming content possible on mobile phones, tablets, smart TVs, Rokus, and other connected screens — including DOOH devices. Today, our media platform powers 10% of the world’s internet streaming, giving you a sense of our scale.
What’s the strategy behind offering both DSP and SSP programmatic DOOH platforms?
A core differentiator for our company is our “full-stack” expertise. Verizon is one of the world’s largest advertisers. At the same time it is one of the world’s foremost publishers & media platforms. As a result, we know what works best for both buyers and sellers, and we can use that knowledge to help either category.
Additionally, offering a DSP and an SSP allows for incredible “feedback” and transparency that can serve both sides of the market. In terms of feedback, that’s all about data. Through our DSP, we have insights into what works for buyers that can support sellers. Our SSP, in turn, gives us insights into what works for different publishers. These insights ultimately influence and inform the technology we bring to market.
Transparency is also hugely important today. Now, more than ever, advertisers and publishers want greater clarity into the media supply chain. As a partner, you can’t truly deliver that if you don’t have a holistic view of the entire market. By bringing the buy- and sell-side together, we can provide enhanced transparency to our customers and partners in a way that other providers can’t.
Verizon’s Media’s “full-stack” approach is especially valuable for emerging channels, like DOOH, where it’s still early days. Understanding best practices and how to evaluate performance of this new medium are paramount.
How do you view DOOH’s ability to resume its strong growth curve once people are out and about?
Pre-pandemic, DOOH had been one of the fastest-growing media channels. With COVID-19, there was certainly less traffic in areas surrounding major billboards, on the roads, in gyms, subways, etc. However, there is significantly more foot traffic in places like grocery stores, pharmacies and patient out-care centers. DOOH hasn’t gone away — it has simply evolved during this crisis. And, ultimately, the category will rebound as life continues to get back to normal and as more OOH is digitally-enabled.
In the meantime, flexibility is essential for advertisers. DOOH campaigns will need to be hyper-targeted by geography, given varying stay-at-home orders and regulations across states and regions. In certain states, for example, stay-at-home measures have only been lifted in certain areas. The programmatic capabilities we bring to bear through our DSP allow for that.
Buyers also need access to a diverse library of DOOH inventory that can scale quickly as the country “reopens” (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies now, subways and airports later). We have pipes into unique and exclusive demand that can grow with our advertisers as they return to DOOH screens. Verizon Media also makes it easy to access this inventory alongside all other forms of media (mobile, desktop, CTV, audio, etc.), which helps with scaling.
What type of measurement data do you offer DOOH buyers and sellers?
Through our own proprietary data and third-party measurement partners, we are able to help advertisers connect the dots and show the ROI of their campaigns. Our data helps track exposure and determine how it is linked to outcomes.
Our measurement partners include location measurement company Cuebiq, which provides foot-traffic measurement related to DOOH campaigns.
Do you see the demise of the online cookie and privacy concerns as potentially benefiting DOOH?
Definitely. However, the DOOH advertising experience is new to many consumers. Things like granular targeting by location, demographics, daypart, and interests only debuted recently. For that reason, seeing a targeted ad in a public space is still novel and can easily cross a line between “cool” and “creepy” if not done appropriately. This is why it’s imperative for DOOH campaigns to be conceived and executed with consumer privacy and, most importantly, relevance and value, top-of-mind.
Our platform and services team provide support to advertisers to ensure they engage successfully.
How does the adoption of 5G affect DOOH?
5G is transforming the DOOH industry and opening up new opportunities for advertisers and publishers alike.
Through 5G’s huge leap in connectivity and speed, we expect to see an increased number of connected devices. More connected devices mean more engagement opportunities for brands. This makes it possible for more publishers to monetize their content out of home.
Beyond that, though, 5G will allow for better overall content experiences. 5G-connected devices will deliver more seamless, rich, immersive, and personalized content, in real time. For example, speed can result in making sure that promoted items are in-stock at a nearby retailer. It can also help to make those ads relevant to the audience in that area at a given point in time.
What’s ahead for Verizon Media over the next year or two?
Verizon Media is one of the only true and largest omni-channel ad platforms in-market. We are investing in DOOH, connected TV (CTV), audio, mobile, immersive experiences (XR) and more. We are going to continue to be a leader in DOOH and expect the category to see massive growth as stay-at-home orders relax.
Verizon Media is among the first global advertising platforms to connect to the DOOH ecosystem. We are helping the category grow.
Our strategy is make DOOH buying more targeted, measurable and flexible, and to keep innovating when it comes to ad formats. And we are going to expand our inventory even further. The company continues to partner with the category’s top publishers, content providers and device/signage owners around the world.
Why did Verizon Media become a DPAA member?
We are seeing a big surge of interest in dynamic ad signs, as well as consumers constantly demanding innovation. We believe by joining the DPAA and its community, we can be a key part of the industry conversations and help advance this valuable medium.
You can read more about Verizon Media here.
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