Why Apple's IDFA Update Is Great for Out-of-Home Advertising

With the changes being imposed around the digital advertising ecosystem, DOOH is well-positioned

Big tech continues to crack down on brands and agencies’ access to consumer data in the name of user privacy, with Apple’s recent iOS update challenging marketers’ access to Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) being the latest example. While such moves will set the ad industry back years, one-to-many digital channels are less affected and stand to gain new adopters.

Programmatic digital out of home (DOOH), for instance, can deliver context-based targeting, improve ad spend efficiency and minimize spill impressions even with reduced access to mobile location data. As the adoption of programmatic DOOH accelerates, more brands will utilize this impactful medium to reach consumers.

Here are three reasons why the channel is a safe haven for brands and agencies facing the loss of IDFAs:

Macro-movement and behavioral patterns

By its very nature, programmatic DOOH has never sought to compete with one-to-one advertising. As opposed to targeting individuals, it leverages user behaviors at a large scale to connect brands with crowds of people, also known as one-to-many targeting.

Programmatic DOOH collates major audience movements and consumer behaviors to build a clearer picture of when, where and how out-of-home advertising can be most impactful. For example, advertisers can look at fitness enthusiasts to understand what percentage of them hit the gym, when they do so and what their preferred habits are afterward.

Most often, people follow routine journeys in their everyday lives. Programmatic DOOH over-indexes against these journeys to engage consumers with contextually relevant messages at multiple touch points at highly effective times and places.

Modeling historical device IDs

Instead of relying on deterministic matching or first-party IDs, programmatic DOOH uses modeling of probabilistic, historical mobile location data. This enables media planners to learn which device IDs are likely to be in the vicinity of specific DOOH screens at particular times. Mobile location data is thoroughly vetted, and data from the most recent 24-hour period is used to inform programmatic bidding strategies and allow for real-time activation of DOOH campaigns.

To return to the fitness enthusiasts example, if historical mobile data indicates that a significant amount of these individuals use public transport routes when traveling to the gym, brands and agencies can heavy-up programmatic bidding on DOOH screens at relevant stations and terminals. By also tailoring their brand messaging and ad creative to these specific audiences, advertisers can ensure strong contextual relevance and drive increased campaign efficiency. The level of precision we’re talking about here was previously challenging in traditional OOH and remains possible despite the loss of Apple IDFAs.

Large data sets ensure significant sample sizes

The mechanisms that support one-to-one targeting will continue to be impacted by the walled gardens’ allegedly privacy-conscious decisions. With Google Chrome retiring third-party cookies by the end of 2023, brands and agencies will need to dramatically rethink their digital advertising strategies, improving the effectiveness of probabilistic matching and one-to-many targeting will be top of mind.

The vast quantity of data available in programmatic DOOH benefits the channel, enabling advertisers to accurately target consumer behaviors and cohorts instead of trying to establish individual one-to-one connections.

As brands reassess where to invest their ad dollars, digital channels that can weather the storm of increasingly complex access to consumer data will attract greater budgets. While OOH has historically been a powerful one-to-many channel, programmatic DOOH has transformed the industry into one-to-a-select-many, thus minimizing spill impressions.

In a world where one-to-one marketing is being increasingly challenged by the actions of big tech, programmatic DOOH is the channel that brands and agencies can rely on. With consumer data privacy under unprecedented scrutiny and one-to-one targeting being threatened, programmatic DOOH promises to deliver contextually relevant advertising at the right time and in the right place.