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23/09/2020 - Views

New Dawn for Out of Home

Sophie Pemberton, Talon’s Group Strategy Director, explains why waiting for the online industry to get programmatic OOH right is no longer an option and why Talon decided to rewrite the rule book for a simpler automation process, one that is designed specifically for OOH.

2020 was full of promise for OOH. The industry was continuing to grow, inventory digitisation was set to expand across the UK and investment in technology meant more intelligent solutions for our clients. Despite the recent crisis temporarily slowing growth, it hasn’t dampened our appetite and ambition to keep focussing on future facing solutions which will inevitably provide greater opportunities once we are back to normal. Whatever that looks like.

As a medium that is over 100 years old, OOH has a heritage that makes it a medium consumers can trust and one that advertisers continue to find value in. But at Talon we are committed to going further. To drive client value through planning and buying excellence, and our agile and entrepreneurial approach enables us to deliver outstanding OOH campaigns for our clients. It is also the driving force behind our technology stack at Talon. We have invested heavily in our technology as we know that this is what will set us apart and deliver client value long term.

With digital OOH spend in the UK last year surpassing 50% of all OOH, we are at a critical juncture as an industry as interest in digital OOH and the benefits it brings continues to grow. This is due a multitude of factors, but flexibility, scale and creative potential are some of the pertinent reasons that more advertisers are investing in digital OOH. So, it comes as no surprise that players with strong credentials in the online mediums (and are being squeezed out of this space by walled gardens), are seeing Programmatic OOH as their next big growth opportunity. Traditional digital and AdTech businesses have heard - and are trying to answer - this call for a PrOOH solution and there has been some success from these players pivoting their technology into the OOH space.

However, when it comes to the digitisation of one the world’s oldest advertising channels, it is fair to say that transforming a complex planning process and infrastructure requires a unique approach, not one transferred from another industry. Features and capabilities are falling short when it comes to providing effective solutions for brands as the technology has not been adapted to accommodate the differences in the two channels. Namely, with online advertising it is one to one, there’s standardised inventory and buys can be based on live behaviour with infinite impressions available. However, OOH is still a broadcast medium with a huge variance in inventory and targeting is based on predicted behaviour with a finite number of impressions available.

Early on at Talon, we made the move to accelerate and invest in our technology strategy and in just 2 years have launched 3 proprietary technology platforms to deliver smarter OOH campaigns, the most recent of which is Atlas. Going from concept to revenue generation in just 7 months (for anyone in software development, you know just how impressive that is) with Atlas we have translated what has made Talon so successful since we opened in 2013 - our creativity, approach to data and of course our technology - and combined it all into the one platform. Atlas is our intelligent automated digital OOH buying platform designed to solve a problem for advertisers rather than the online AdTech industry and combines our specialist knowledge with technology expertise to provide a solution unlike anything else in the market.

Like our other platforms Plato and Ada, we built Atlas from the ground up rather than looking to replicate existing industry products. Unlike other AdTech systems, Atlas connects directly to Media Owners, so the intermediaries that are commonplace in a traditional programmatic supply chain do not exist so that value can be delivered straight back to our clients.

Through Atlas, we are heralding a new dawn for OOH where we can produce granular insights based on real audience data, trade more efficiently and understand campaign efficacy through campaign reporting and attribution. With an expert team providing a managed service, Atlas follows a simple process making it easier for digital first advertisers and online planners to extend campaign strategies into OOH.

So, whilst 2020 didn't quite go to plan, we have seized the opportunity to rewrite the rulebook for programmatic OOH and are excited to already have executed our first Atlas campaigns and look forward to working with all our partners in the very near future.

Sophie Pemberton, Talon Group Strategy Director