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Feb. 28, 2023

Everyone Is A DSP. Even You.

Everyone Is A DSP. Even You.

This concept was initially mentioned in this episode in case you want to check it out https://www.theoohinsider.com/669730/12327510-is-this-the-compromise-for-great-creative-episode-99-recap-of-wes-frick-of-wes-frick-design and for the episode I referenced about Brooke Ermogenis, it's this one here -  https://www.theoohinsider.com/669730/12157378-the-programmatic-primer-101-episode-98-recap-of-brooke-ermogenis-founder-of-doohx-io

And if you're this far down the rabbit hole, you may appreciate going back and listening to this episode too about Edison Interactive and why I think they're the dark horse of DOOH and the lessons you may take for yourself https://www.theoohinsider.com/669730/11884569-is-edison-interactive-the-dark-horse-of-dooh-and-the-f-word

Looking for your next job in OOH? Start here: www.oohired.com


Everyone is a DSP

Welcome to OOH Insider, the first podcast made just for media and marketing executives about how to create alchemy in the real world - blending marketing art and marketing science to create brand experiences that drive impact you can measure.

This is an idea I’ve been really thinking about over the past 3 months or so and I think it’s to the point that it’s developed enough to share here with you and that is defining the DSP, or the demand-side platform. Now this may sound like a conversation about programmatic, but it’s not. In fact, this concept has very little to do with the programmatic landscape at all and everything to do with how we grow the pie of advertisers using OOH to elevate their brands.

Let’s start by breaking down what a DSP is and why it’s relevant. DSP is short for demand-side platform. This is the literal interface used by marketers to deploy ads. This can be Facebook Ads Manager, Google Ads Manager, or even The Trade Desk or Google’s DV360. Simply put, a DSP is how marketers access inventory and run campaigns. Pretty simple.

For OOH, and more specifically, programmatic digital OOH, these are platforms like Vistar or Outmoove. These platforms are designed to be self-serve, exclusively for programmatic trading.

And that’s a good place for us to put our first pin in the map. There are very clearly self-serve DSPs for programmatic trading, so then, what would the opposite of that be? Managed-service? Full-stack OOH? That is, to include all formats and buying methods, not exclusively limited to digital formats available programmatically.

You can quickly see that  DSPs exist on two spectrums. The first is the spectrum of self-serve vs managed service and the second spectrum is as digital programmatic exclusive vs full-stack OOH, traditional buying, programmatic, all things OOH.

You’re probably catching where I’m going with this. What this means is that OOH specialists are DSPs as well. OOH specialists would be classified as a managed-service, full-stack DSP. They either offer a technology platform to their clients OR act as what’s now as an iPaas, an integrated platform as a service, also what we know as an agency.

Okay, so what does this have to do with the last episode where I was talking about creative agencies and everyone being a DSP? Well, because creative agencies are a type of DSP too. See, each DSP has a unique selling proposition, something that they believe makes them the better mouse trap. For programmatic DSPs it may be the flexibility and targeting and never having to talk to a real person. For an OOH specialist, a managed service, full-stack DSP, it may be expert insight and execution for scaling brands who want a hands-on experience. And for creative agencies? Well, instead of offering a flashy dashboard with some targeting heatmap, you are a creative DSP. The USP that you offer aligns with brands who want to build their campaign from the creative vision outward. So whether you’re a programmatic DSP, an OOH specialist, or a creative agency, from a competitive standpoint we are all DSPs.

What are we fighting for?

We’re fighting for the long tail. If you’ve never heard of the long tail before, that’s okay, we’re about to break down what it is and what it means for OOH and if you have, I think you’ll appreciate this perspective on it, but The Long Tail was a concept popularized by Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired.com from 2004-2012, really one of the companies that pioneered a lot of the modern internet, but basically The Long Tail boils down into these three pillars: 

First: A Huge number of mildly popular products can outsell a small number of evergreen hits, meaning that if you can offer a sufficiently large number of niche products, you can compete with the few best sellers.

Think about this in the context of OOH. 80% of OOH’s revenue comes from local advertisers. This is across all of the formats, from billboards to bus shelters, one-sheet posters in laundromats, to digital place-based screens, 8 out of every 10 dollars spent on our channel is coming from local advertisers. That means that despite the popularity of a few AMAZING screens we see all of the time in Times Square or Las Vegas, that the backbone of our industry is local. Said another way…a huge number of mildly popular products can outsell a small number of hits.

Okay, check. First pillar down. Next pillar, and the way to think about this is the unique dynamic of OOH in that anyone can start a media company and we continue to see new networks and new offerings pop up weekly, but the next pillar is “since everyone can now produce their own content, the tail keeps getting longer”. The barrier to entry to becoming an OOH media owner is literally zero. You can go into business offering some new format hanging posters on telephone poles in the burbs tomorrow, get cash in advance, and you don’t have to even forfeit a single-cent of your valuable capital. 

This pillar actually applies doubly here because it also pertains to the democratization of content creation and being able to simply go into business for yourself. So as the long tail for distribution gets longer, aka ad space, aka new networks, the long tail for content, new brands, and new products gets longer as well. This just keeps going. Because the means of production are now available to everyone, the tail has completely exploded in length and keeps getting longer.

Last pillar here - Aggregators make accessing niche products easier, which increases products and makes the tail fatter. Go back to the Brooke Ermogenis episode recap and listen to the part about being in as many storefronts as possible as a media owner. There are two types of aggregators online, and the same also holds true for OOH. 

There are hybrid aggregators, which catalog physical goods online, to make them searchables and then ship whatever is ordered.

And there are digital aggregators, which only sell digital products, that can be bought any time from anywhere.

Hybrid aggregators, these are the OOH specialists who have catalogued all of that historical planning information and who continue to add new networks, and new information. That catalogue doesn’t need to look like a shopify website, it can be a spreadsheet, it’s the concept here that I really want you to take away as most valuable.

And the digital aggregators? Well, I mean, that’s basically like the 101 explanation of what a programmatic dsp offers “only sell digital products that can be bought at any time from anywhere”.

So we have both, OOH has both types of aggregators meaning that the third and final pillar? Well, check.

It turns out that we’re all DSPs chasing the long-tail. The reality is that programmatic DSPs will continue to be best-suited for the new money into our industry and that strategically, programmatic DSPs should be looking for qualified managed-service, full-stack DSPs, yes, OOH specialists, to partner with to ensure that more of the spend stays within their ecosystem long-term.

For OOH specialists, the newly dubbed managed service full stack DSP, it’s critical to start investing in technology now if you haven’t already because this is the game you are playing, whether you realize it not, and regardless of whether you want to participate, those are the rules because when the customer’s expectation changes for any one thing in their life, it changes for all other things. Amazon prime created an expectation now that everything is just one day away. In fact, the other day I ordered mouthwash before bed and had it on my doorstep the next morning. It doesn’t matter if it’s mouthwash or marketing, when the expectation changes, it changes for everything.

For creative agencies, I think it would be smart to partner with programmatic DSPs because it makes their offerings more valuable, especially once you can demonstrate that campaigns are more effective with better creative. Otherwise, partnering with an OOH specialist who can give you scale in being able to offer media buying as a well to offset undervalued creative services.

The landscape has changed and collaboration is key so, in the spirit of collaboration, please share this episode with a colleague or a client and start a conversation today.

Make sure to check out double o hired dot com, whether you’re a growing company that wants to find OOH specific talent or a job seeker ready to write your next chapter, double o hired dot com is the first completely free career marketplace just for OOH. Post your open roles for free, engage directly with hiring companies, for free. All a part of the OOH Insider brand, so please make use of it. 

Right before sitting down to crank this one out actually a gentleman sent me a message to say thank you for the career marketplace because it has led to him getting an interview already with a company he is interested in. I heard something the other day that only like 3% of resumes even get reviewed by a human and when you’re using sites like indeed or whatever to just fire off your resume, it makes sense, but what we’ve got with double o hired dot com is a curated, 1 to 1 environment where you’re engaging directly with the person who is hiring for the role, which is sometimes the CEO or Founder themselves. It’s pretty crazy if you think about it.

Okay, that’s all for this one. A lot for you to think about here, so live hungry, stay full, and I’ll see you next time.