Fast 5 with Seedooh Founder and CEO – Tom Richter

Tom Richter

As the industry continues to digitise its assets, Advertisers are embracing the functionality of digital Out of Home. But is there trust in technology? We caught up with Seedooh Founder and CEO, Tom Richter, to find out how Verification is playing a role in the future of Out of Home here in Australia.

So, here’s this month’s Fast 5.

What are the key benefits that Out of Home Verification is providing advertisers & suppliers?

Standardisation: A consistent or standardised approach to verification across an industry, creates a common currency or language. This process, while requiring the commitment of all sector participants, facilitates the ability to perform compliance evaluations with reference to the same agreed metrics. The outcome at scale is a framework or de facto standard, where the advertisers preferred choice of verification vendor evaluates compliance in a transparent and less ambiguous manner, which is beneficial for all sector participants.

Confidence: Out of Home done well, uses all available data-sets to place the right message in front of the right people at the right time, for maximum effectiveness and ROI. Having put in the effort – and the investment (in media, data, creative development etc) – all parties should be confident that the campaign is delivered in line with the booking parameters, however complex and variable. An accurate, scalable verification solution enables both advertisers and suppliers to transparently monitor delivery in close to real-time, and resolve scheduling errors or system failures immediately.

Continuous Improvement: Inability to measure a process prevents the effective management and improvement of that process. Verification as a best-practice business process provides a standardised, complete and accurate data-set of exactly what happened in the real world. This enables continuous improvement of the processes involved in delivering the right message to every OOH asset, at the right time.

What are the methods and data sources adopted to verify Out of Home campaigns in Australia & what is your preferred?

Broadly speaking there are three different methods to verify campaign delivery in OOH.

Firstly, physical inspections, which utilise field auditors working from a site list of expected locations, to determine an estimated view of delivery compliance, with reference to a small sample of moment in time photos and videos of ads on screens, or classic sites.

Secondly, the conversion of DOOH jpegs to HTML5, enables creative tagging, replicating a verification process from digital online, by pinging an external server each time the HTML5 ad-package plays. Whilst this works well in a digital online environment, it has challenges for scalability, accuracy and network security in a DOOH context, due to; the manual processing of creative files, intermittent internet connectivity, and the potential for unauthorised access to a secure public space network.

The third method, pioneered by Seedooh for OOH, utilizes backend system integrations, to autonomously and independently query and report on network source data. This is a recognised global best-practice assurance methodology called system event verification. Source data includes both the booking context (what was scheduled, where) and the event data verifying each time an ad is displayed, or a classic panel is installed.

Direct connections to source data events within secure systems (and appropriate controls aligned to a global data assurance standard), ensure Seedooh delivers the most accurate, scalable and secure method for performing verification in OOH. Importantly, this methodology avoids adding extra manual steps into the already complex message delivery process required to operate extensive networks in public spaces.

What will an Out of Home verification supplier look like in five years’ time?

Following the evolution of a standards-led, mature approach to verification, participation will favour verification suppliers who provide scalable, highly accurate, secure tech solutions that can be implemented at a system level. Typically, these will be suppliers who offer Platforms, rather than linear products.

Platforms that are built to smooth pain points rather than create them, will continue to add value to the supply chain by providing a baseline of verified OOH data that has multiple participant value across the supply chain. This value will perhaps be most apparent as this baseline data-set becomes fully integrated with other valuable data-sets.

The use of this data will then extend well beyond simple verification, which will become an entry-level hygiene factor. Critical data provided by verification suppliers will agnostically connect to other planning, trading and BI platforms, driven by a minimum requirement of standardised, automated movement of data, with data security and integrity assured to global best-practice standards.

The verification platform providers of the near term OOH future will be enablers for marketers, agencies and suppliers to ensure their human capital is wholly involved in creating more effective and rewarding campaigns rather than administering processes in campaign delivery.

In this future, OOH will be a serious contender for a more significant share of the media budget, because it is more mature and connected – and easier to measure, transact and optimise in-flight and by burst.

IAB has predicted that via Programmatic buying methods, we will see greater creative experimentation across DOOH in FY22. Will Verification play a role in this and if so, how?

Verification will play a critical role in any DOOH campaign delivery, including programmatic.

Programmatic buyers are used to seeing a ‘tick-box for verification’ in their DSP for other digital media, where the campaign execution flow is usually external to the publisher’s own systems. This makes sense, any Advertiser should be comfortable that they are getting what they pay for with any booking.

In DOOH, the concerns about brand safety, fraud etc are less pervasive, of course, but as more brands begin to experiment with the flexibility and optimised targeting that pDOOH can offer, other risks become more prominent, such as whether the right messages appear on the right screens at the right time. They will also seek to understand the contribution that OOH makes to their success parameters – you can’t ‘click’ on DOOH – so connected data for each delivered execution will be an important baseline data-set to calculate impressions and interactions or influence.

We believe that pDOOH will be a growing component of OOH investment and that buyers and advertisers will want a complete picture of how their brand is achieving exposure in the real world. So, their programmatic delivery data should be standardised alongside the verified data for their activity booked via an insertion order (IO), on both DOOH and Classic formats – and available to be integrated with channel-agnostic data-sets.

According to IAB, Australia is one of the world’s most progressive markets when it comes to third-party verification of DOOH. Why do you think that is?

Digitisation of OOH networks happened very fast in Australia and was concentrated between 2013 and 2016. These were also rapid growth years for OOH – and demand for the best quality DOOH signs was extremely high.

Given the rapidity of change, there was minimal standardisation. The competition for growing budgets was fierce (digitisation at scale is capital intensive) and there were a plethora of ways that DOOH was sold and self-reported.

Seedooh had been working with key participants on the buy and sell side for a few years ahead of our launch to market in 2017, with a platform specifically designed to make standardised, independently verified data available at a sector level

Other verification products followed over the next few years and there has been a concentrated focus here that has not been seen in other markets to date.

System-wide innovation at market scale requires the engagement and commitment of all stakeholders and Australia experienced a very localised perfect storm which certainly achieved that focus, within a relatively consolidated market in global terms. After 4 years, this has resulted in a real-world demonstration to other developed and developing markets of the importance of best-practice principles and standards in the implementation of third party verification, to guide this critical evolution for the future.

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