DOOH industry moves to standardize ad inventory

The wide variety of exhibits and locations requires a consistent digital taxonomy.

Six players in the highly competitive digital space announced an initiative this week to standardize job descriptions and positions for ad space. This is to reduce confusion, especially in the programmatic space where multiple stocks sold by different SSPs can describe the same opportunity in different ways such as ‘Retail’ and ‘Buy’.

The six companies involved are Adomni, Broadsign, Place Exchange, Verizon Media, VIOOH, and Vistar Media. Leslie Lee of Vistar Media, speaking on behalf of the group, explained the need for standards.

One free for everyone. “It was useful in terms of how a media owner would describe his stock,” he said, “and caused confusion on the buyer’s side of the equation.” Call it ‘an exhibition instead of describing it as an exhibition in a shopping center in a food court’, you would say ‘this is a shop’, you would say ‘a shopping center’. “They are all. It describes the same thing, but there were buyers who didn’t bother to leave what they could buy.

Of course, it’s a virtue of OOH that there are so many different types of inventory – standardization was less important for image ads on personal devices. “There are so many differences in a browser that an ad can have,” said Lee, “but even in the online world they went through a phase where they needed to standardize ad unit size.” It was easy for the buyer to understand. One of the unique and wonderful things about the outdoors is that there are a wide variety of environments.

A sectoral initiative? Just as strong as the companies involved, there are other major players in the DOOH space. Is there any hope that they will get on board? “The goal is to make sure the standard is available and accepted by the widest possible division in the industry,” said Lee. “There are already several platforms working with the group and examining the standards, and it looks like more approval is needed. It will come.”

Lee describes the initiative as ‘fairly advanced’. A first standard is now publicly available and in use. The project has been running for about a year now and there have been discussions with media owners. “The idea is to constantly review and update it when new inventory is introduced,” said Lee.

A continuous flow of the model is likely to be needed as innovation continues in the DOOH inventory, with digital ads constantly appearing in new and unexpected spaces. “With the advancement of technology, there are many more screens and devices connected to the internet. I think we’ll be adding a few more categories in the coming year as well.”

Because we care.  There is standardization in so many areas at Martech – from identity resolution to video statistics – that it is interesting to see how concrete steps are taken. “Because there is usually foreign investment – there are more opportunities for brands than benefits – the whole industry usually comes together because that’s the important conversation,” Lee

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