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April 13, 2020

OOH Insider - Episode 024 - Jonathan Gudai, CEO of Adomni

OOH Insider - Episode 024 - Jonathan Gudai, CEO of Adomni

At some point, we will all count on our families for a favor.

For Jonathan Gudai, his favor was to help his brother-in-law sell of the unsold inventory that pesters media owners.

3 digital billboards in Las Vegas, to be precise.

165,000 screens across 32 different formats later and it's safe to say that may turn out to be the greatest favor in billboard history.

Jonathan is a guy who gets growth, knows how to scale and leads the conversation with a distinct responsibility to introducing brands to the power of out of home.

With campaigns sprawling across the country, taking advantage of the Facebook-like out of home advertising platform makes it easy to:

✅Reach the right target audience

✅Leverage dynamic digital capabilities - like day parting and weather triggers

✅Understand how to measure the impact to their brand

Learn the story behind the brand that is giving advertisers access to out of home at their fingertips.

Check out Adomni here: https://www.adomni.com/

And make sure to connect with Jonathan Gudai at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathangudai/

As always, connect with me on LinkedIn too at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/troweactual/

Support the show (http://oohswag.com)

Welcome to the out-of-home insider show. The loudest voice in out-of-home bringing you tips, tricks, and insider insights to not only make your advertising more effective, but more efficient too. And with me today, a very special guest, the man behind the Dominic, Jonathan Godiva. Thank you so much for making time out to join us here today.

Well, thanks for having me. It's great to be here. Well, a great place to start. It's a, it's a fun place to start because I feel like everyone's got their own unique path of how they ended up in out of home. So why don't you tell us yours? How did you get to be the programmatic out-of-home guy? Yeah, it's a, it's a great, uh, it's a great question.

It kind of goes back to 2014, 2015. Um, I, uh, I had been in the e-commerce world for most of my career. Uh, pretty much from like 2002 to 2014, 2015. And I was in the process of selling the, the eCommerce business that I had. And this, uh, this guy named John and fines are dating my, my wife's sister. And he's a serial entrepreneur.

He's from Las Vegas. He has bars and restaurants and security company and magazine. And he owns a few, uh, billboards as a small ownership, passive investor. And he came to me and said, you know, we looked at, I looked at our P and L for the year and when I calculated how much money I could have made versus how much money we did make, there was like 20, 30% gap.

And he's like, I'm looking at this almost like it's a hotel. Yeah, property where it's a digital sign. There's eight slots. If only six or seven of them are sold at any given point. What if we took the unsold space and put it online and he's like, I don't know anything about e-commerce or digital to be for buying things online.

From a, from a production standpoint, but you do. And so maybe you can join me and we can build this and maybe we can make more money on these three boards. And if it seems like it's interesting, maybe we can take it and apply that to others who might have the same need. So ad Omni originally started as advertise everywhere was the name, um, but focused first on, on these digital billboards and last week, That's a, and that's definitely an interesting way into the space.

It starts out. We've got three. How did it go? Did you, did it work initially? Were there I'm sure. Some, some hiccups along the way, what was that first 12, 18 months, like trying to figure this thing out. Yeah. Yeah. So it's. It's it's interesting. You know, like you've got an idea and the concepts, it sounds so simple, right?

I mean, we've been selling stuff online now for many, many, many years. And, um, and so the first thing I did was say, I don't want to have to reinvent the wheel and build everything from scratch. There's gotta be a platform. Uh, Shopify of the world, right? For, out of home that we could just use and maybe add some custom features or apply it to the, the screens.

Um, because you know, most people in technology try to build what really needs to be built, but utilize what's already available as building blocks. And so the thing that surprised me the most in 2015 was that there just wasn't a platform or a technology like a Shopify, or like, you know, these e-commerce Bluffs.

That you could take off the shelf. Um, and so we ended up saying, okay, well then we'll, we'll build something from scratch. And then the next big challenge was, well, the software that's running, these screens, wasn't built for programmatic selling. Wasn't built for fractionalizing ads to be sold to different people online.

Sure. And so, you know, we had some electronic screens and then some prisons. And the software was just, you know, re re meant for something else. Right. It was designed and built for basic slot mat management and for longer-term campaigns. So we, so to answer your question, was it more difficult? We just kept realizing that the solutions weren't out there for the problem we were trying to solve from a product perception.

And fortunately, we had a very strong team of engineers, just a couple of really smart guys with me as the core nucleus of the company. And we started building our own media player, software, our own online content management system, our own e-commerce booking platform. And little by little, we, we, you know, it took us about six months before we had our first kind of ready to test.

Um, and, and so that was 2015. And then in early 2016, we started testing. And the nice thing is we had our own boards, right? So we have the luxury of being able to, um, you know, test in a real environment without. Potentially messing with someone else's business, even though we have a big chance of missing our own business, you know how that is, but you still take your, your own risks more than you do for others.

So we launched, we ended up launching and went really well. We tweaked like any software there's bugs you fix on the way. And in July, 2016 was the first kind of real true launch of the first paid campaign. And before we hit our, our 11 month anniversary, We had already done a million dollars of ad revenue.

Through the local hotels and shows and corporate events that were coming to Vegas, that all of a sudden could buy three days worth. And it wasn't super hard. And, and, um, and we, we, we didn't have a big sales team. We were just kind of going out and selling our own product in the early days. Um, but it kind of validated that we were onto something.

Um, and so that was, yeah, that was 2016 to 2017. Those were the early days. And then what we realized was. But the market was way bigger than digital billboards, you know, like that, that was where we started. Sure. But, um, we said, well, this, this idea can apply to any digitally connected screen. What kind of makes sense as the next thing.

And like any, any big company who's testing a, build a new products like Amazon does all their testing and in Seattle and Microsoft in Seattle, right? You, you build a test as close to where you are. Um, we saw started, you know, talking to the local taxi top guy who had mostly static boards and he said, yeah, I'd be interested in trying these, these digital topics.

And so this is 2017 that we have the conversation and, and we, we ended up building, uh, you know, taking the platform and applying it for the mobile vehicle network, which our idea was, if you could combine our digital billboards with these taxis, they're driving around in Vegas, a brand can kind of dominate your attention.

Right. You're sitting at a stoplight. You're like, what show am I going to see this tonight? Or this weekend? It's boom. And right next to you on the seven screens and 14 taxis in front of you. Oh, I think that's what we're going to go see, honey. Yeah, exactly. So, um, so we were like, okay, well, that's going to be the next network then that we're going to layer on top of digital home.

We'll we'll go into the transit. And man, that was, that was rough. Um, if we thought that digital billboards and the software that was running, those was difficult, uh, to have a system where you got the internet connection. That can go in and out just based upon where the car's driving underneath, like, you know, the parking garage, boom, you can't communicate with it.

You've got these guys that, you know, taxis they're plumped the taxi lines and then just turning off their car. Right. So when the car turns off that the screen started off. So the car, you know, the screens and the ads were turning on and off. So all these like things that we had never really prepared for, um, we had to build the software into the system to support.

Um, but it was a, it was a really interesting time because we learned a lot and, um, and we ended up successful with it. We ended up, um, rolling that out in 2017 and, and starting to take orders for that. And, and it was for that particular line, it was always a matter of scale. You know, Vegas has got thousands of cabs driving around.

Right? Sure. You need to have a certain percentage of them that have the digital screens for. That experience of the big screen, little screen kind of surround sounds or experience. And so, um, so, so, you know, we, we worked with them and then we were sort of waiting in Vegas for the right company to come up that was going to install these, um, everywhere and, and take it to the next level.

Um, and so, yeah, so those are, those are the origin stories of us, just having an idea, uh, taking it to market iterating on it, learning, and then along the way, you know, building a brand, you know, a Dominic. Was built by non out of home. You know, people, I mean, my, my business partners are owners of, out of home, but they're not, you know, they're not the clear channel Lamar, they're the big plants, all the insides in an ins and outs.

So, um, so we wanted to basically go to market and say, we want to be your partner to every out of home operator owner. We don't want to make money unless you're making money. We want you to be able to set the prices. And have transparency along the entire transaction where you know, which advertisers are buying, what the size of the campaigns are.

Um, and ultimately we want to just help you fill your unsold space. Like that is our mission. And we, we will, we'll only be high-fiving when we're all making money together. Um, this model. Yeah. I mean, that was, that was, that was the only way we saw it succeeding, you know, like there's, there's been too many, uh, tech companies.

Or even marketing entities that have took advantage of others that, um, we just didn't think that that was going to last or be something that, um, that, that ultimately, you know, we, we wanted to be as transparent as possible because we felt that that was gonna allow us to scale faster. So from three screens, helping your brother-in-law sell some, sell some additional space to, to how many screens are you tapped into, right.

So now we have a little over 165,000. So from three to 165,000 from traditional roadside, big screen stuff to taxi toppers, I'm sure you got a bunch of other crazy formats. W w what other sort of screens are you tapped into? Yeah, yeah. So right now we have 32 different, uh, we call it media types. I know that there's, you know, people out of home traditional call them formats, but, um, basically for us to be on the programmatic platform, you need to have the ability to synchronize your system with our system.

Electronically automatically. Let's talk about that for a second. In case anyone's getting freaked out by the tech talk. Yeah. Do I, if I, if I'm a media owner, do I need to change my infrastructure in some way? What, what are the ramifications or impact to my current systems? If I wanted to work with the dominated, you know, sell my inventory.

Yeah. For most people you don't, I mean, it's, it is situational and that the platform that you're using. It can be on a spectrum of easy to integrate with, to impossible. Um, and fortunately, you know, at-home companies have been investing in new, either layers in between their content management system, um, and, and, and kind of the cloud, um, or they've been replacing it with new screens.

It just comes with the new stuff that just has the ability to connect. So, um, so yeah, so if you're running BroadSign or a UDA or blip or apparatus, um, or a dominant media player, CMS, um, then you can connect, you know, three, four years ago. I couldn't say that. Right. We weren't partnered with all those companies.

And so aside from the media owners being really where the business started of, of having the 165,000 that's when the business starts getting into. Um, it's the partners along the way that we've formed partnerships with where broad signs, uh, reach SSP. For example, we connect into that and we make, so it's now easier than ever to connect to the anomaly platform.

Um, but it's one of those things that on a case-by-case basis, we, you know, we're pretty upfront and asking, what are you running and what versions and, and being able to assess, you know, the feasibility, but it's got a whole kind of really good. It makes sense. Where are you seeing the most growth from, for programmatic?

Is it from brands direct? Is it from agencies adopting it? Is it a little bit of both? Where are you seeing the most growth? Obviously we're in unprecedented times, but up until that point, where are we seeing it from? Yeah, sure. So our big mission is to try to bring new money into the marketplace. Um, so direct to consumer brands, um, you know, uh, brands that are focused more on Google and Facebook advertising.

So money that traditionally hasn't been spent in out of home. That's right. Okay. That's, that's kind of our like tier one preference. Um, and, um, and so, yeah, there's a wide spectrum. Um, agencies, you know, there's also obviously some very powerful holding company agencies, but with major brands who can trust them.

And we, we, we can't lose sight of those guys too. I mean, that's, you know, even, you know what, the biggest thing that we've been trying to do is either two things, one bring new money in where, like there's a there's brands that have never advertised in digital home that we're bringing in and saying, look at the benefits and can.

Awareness, but it can also help performance or we want to increase the wallet, share of how much out of home is getting in the media mix. So these big holding company agencies, they're buying out of home and they've got their specialist agencies that are doing so, but if we're like four to 7% of their total media budget, our goal is to try to get that to be 10 to 20%.

Based upon the ability to target an audience, to, you know, control your messaging dynamically, um, to swell your budgets, contracts, do all these things that they're choosing to go with Google and Facebook because they have those capabilities. And now they're learning that, oh, I can do that too. Without at home.

Um, that's really powerful. Maybe I should be spending more. Th than the way that I've been doing it. So in the audience targeting side, and I've had the opportunity to play a little bit within the back end, but I'm by no means an expert. And so I can start with the audience first, right. From a planning standpoint, inside of your platform, is that, is that correct?

Yes. And is that based on geo path? Is it your own. Audience insight. What's that information? Where's it coming from? Sure. So, um, geo path is definitely the industry standard when it comes to the impression counting. Um, so any of the media owners that are being Geopack rated, um, those impressions are being fed into a Dani system to say I had 5 million impressions and I spent $5 million.

You know, whatever. Um, but where Geopack also has their audience, uh, data where that, where they partner with some third-party audience providers, that's part of their tool, which is something separate that we don't leverage for a Dominic system loader with a comical place IQ, um, back in 2018. And a place IQ uses mobile location data to basically understand where anonymously and consumer safely, where devices have traveled and where, you know, so if you wake up in the morning and you go to the gym, 24 hour fitness, and then you go from there to Starbucks, And then you go to the, you go to the office, those kinds of patterns, your, your device is sending location, lat, longs, constantly.

And so plays IQ through partnerships with different app companies is just getting the device ID. It's not, doesn't know it's 10 and the, your age and all this stuff necessarily. But, but, but it considers you a coffee drinker and a gym goer because of where you've been. And so w we partnered with place IQ to, uh, you know, ingest the data around those 165,000 screens and build profiles for those, uh, those, those boards.

Right. Um, and so the idea is when you do a Facebook campaign today, and last year, $70 billion was spent. By people saying, I want to reach a male who's, you know, between 30 and 50, who goes to the gym and drinks coffee, I've got some new coffee flavor, sports drink, right? Um, Facebook is going to show you the size of the audience, show you your CPM and let you advertise and reach 10, you know, on his phone or when he's on his computer on Facebook, we wanted to replicate the same sort of process, but for out of home, And it's not one-to-one, it's not 10 necessarily, but what you're saying is I want to reach this audience as a majority of the composition of who I'm trying to reach, and we can score all these screens and say, okay, you want that billboard over there.

You want that zoom media, gym screen over there and build these, uh, these multifaceted campaigns that enable you to have a more efficient return on return on your investment by, by optimizing your audience. So that was our vision. We call it audience IQ. So that's the product name for it. And, um, and yeah, we're excited about it.

We think it's, it's a, it's a way to build a bridge between advertisers who are used to something one way. And when you come over to the out of home, it not feeling like it's something so far. Absolutely agree. It's it's a bit ironic that, so I'm doing this live session on Thursdays at three every weekend.

And the premise is exactly that, that. Out of home is just as easy as Facebook ads. So it's funny that you use that analogy and the goal is introduce it to folks that are maybe not from out of home, so to grow our share of voice. Um, and then also for, you know, just media. Account executives so that they can go in and have better conversations with advertisers.

So it's great to hear that there is, because I think that is, it's such an easy concept to understand, oh, I'm able to target men 34 to 43 years old who drink coffee and go to the gym in this radius. Gosh, if I could do that with building. For a fraction of the cost potentially on a CPM basis and be able to measure it back to a return on investment.

That'd be pretty neat. Wouldn't it? How do you, how do you handle the measurement conversation? It's, it's a button type thing going on, you know, it was foot traffic, the thing, or how are we measuring things? How do, how do you guys approach it? So, um, it's, it's, it's one of the most important things that we're trying to get better at.

Um, I think that it's not even just an, a dominate thing. It's not which vendors we use. It's like an industry-wide thing that, um, what I've learned in the, in the, in the few years that we've, we've been at this is that there's so many different variables at play from what the brand is trying to achieve, to what budgets they have and how long they want their campaigns to run to, you know, all, all these different things.

The feasibility of measurement is something that needs to be looked at on a case by case basis. Um, we want to be able to offer it as an add on to campaigns for everyone to be able to be exposed to it. But the, the, the reality of it is that not every campaign is suitable for a measurement campaign. Um, and, and so that's, you know, first and foremost, it's helping the brands understand what's possible.

When they're creating their strategies and in the early stages of the planning process, and then ensuring that, that we set up the right mix of, uh, like I said, budget time, media, media types, that, that has a high confidence level, that, that there's going to be a measurement report that is meaningful to them.

Um, and so I will say that. The things that we're focusing on. There's, we've, we've basically boiled down measurement into like seven different outputs. And the top three that I've been most focused on and trying to put in front of our best brands are the site visitation lift. So if you are a brick and mortar, like a retailer, and you're doing a campaign and you want to know, well, you know, consumers are exposed to my ad.

Can you tell me what percentage of them ended up going into my stores compared to people that we don't think were exposed to the ads. And can you just show that there's a lift in the site visitation? So that's the first one is just the physical brick and mortar real worlds, um, you know, brands. The second one is, is offline to online, uh, conversions of some story.

So I am, let's say a vitamin e-commerce. And I don't have brick and mortar, but I want to do an at home campaign. And I want to see how many people that saw my billboards and my Uber car, top ads ended up going to my website, um, and compared to the devices that, that weren't, that didn't see my ads. Right?

So the, the, the online visitation, um, is something that we're focused on. And then the third is just the brand sentiment surveys. So the ability to say. Um, you know, the consumers who were exposed to these ads on average had this much more affinity toward your band and your brand, whether it was like, you know, I have a, I'm going to go buy this product or I already did, or all these things that, um, that that's just kind of consumer survey feedback that you can tie it through together.

Those are the three that. That we're seeing have the most like usability across the board. Um, but it's one that we caution to all brands beforehand. Don't before you fall in love with it, let's just make sure you understand that there needs to be scale, right. For any of these reports to have meaning the scale comes from the campaign running long enough, um, and to run long enough and you have a budget.

It supports the duration and the mix of media formats. Um, and so what we've found is that it's really more applicable for the larger, larger campaigns, um, or the ones that have longer durations, um, that you know, that we can have the data for. But it's very, it's very much a part of our conversation. I wouldn't say it's every single pitch or every single, you're not going to tell a.me homepage and it's gonna.

See your ROI, uh, like Google and Facebook, right? Where it's all, it's all converted. It's all direct response measure. Um, but instead, what we've been doing, Tim is really focusing on by putting out a home on top of Google and Facebook. All of it is going to get better. Everything works better. Right?

Legitimizes brands, it creates conversations. It makes all of those things work better. You touched on something and I want to come back to it because it's, I think maybe the most undervalued plus. In digital, out of home. And that's the ability to do dynamic creative to do and leverage things like day party, weather triggers, different types of things.

You mentioned it is that built into the dominant platform. Is that something that I can do directly through you? Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I'd say it's in the high nineties. Um, percentage of our campaigns are day parted. Um, in a lot of it has to do. Um, kind of this new school audience way of trying to reach people, right?

So if you are optimizing for an audience and you want to be, you know, you, you want to reach people in the gym, you know, then there's going to be certain times a day where there's going to be more audiences there and maybe your audience. Uh, and so yes, to answer your question absolutely day partying is a huge component of it.

The dynamic creative, um, comes in in a few different flavors. There's. The continent itself is being fed from a dynamic source, whether it's like Twitter feeds or, you know, movie times or weather, stuff like that, where it's, you know, it itself is every time it's being served, asking the system, well, what am I showing on this ad?

Right. And we do support HTML content through a Domini. Um, but, but, but only some board owners support that today. Right. It's not gonna be across. 165,000, because a lot of them don't, don't don't support HTML. Um, but then there's the other side of, I only want to show certain ads when certain things are happening, like a pizza brand them then.

Yes. So my ad, exactly. So I'm a pizza brand. I only want to sh here's my budget. I've got a million bucks to spend in these, in these two months, but I only want to spend it on days where it's raining. When people are driving home and they're like, well, I'm not going to go to the grocery store. Do I have whatever in the fridge?

And then that Domino's ad pops up and it's like, that's what I'm going to do. It's raining. I'm going to order pizza and, and do that. There's that triggering that it's also dynamic content that we're doing a little bit, a little bit of, but a lot of those things are kind of. Come from the client, right.

Come from the brand or advertiser saying, I want to do stuff like that. That's really cool. That's really interesting. And sometimes they're more just trying to take what they're doing with their other channels and just applying it on digital home as an extension. And then every, so often the meetings we love to have, we're saying, well, here's like, here's what you can really do if you want to harness the full capabilities of the platform.

And they're thinking outside the box and they're, and they're willing to do things that may not flow with the whole rest of the campaign, but. But it's still will drive the results that they're looking for. And that's really, I think one of the most fun things about out of home is that it is this blank canvas and we can get a little bit outside the box, all, I guess, all pun intended or some pun intended, right.

Of that traditional square. Well, Hey, it's a billboard. It's gotta look like this. No, it can be fun. It can be dynamic. You can have motion in certain places. There's, there's just so many things that you can do that the fact that you offer it. The planning side audience, Hey, we're going to target the right audience.

We're going to have a responsible conversation about how we're going to measure it. And oh, by the way, look at all the really cool stuff you can do with it while you have it on. I think it's a great conversation to have. I appreciate you introducing all of the audience to more of the nitty gritty behind what you guys do for anyone interested.

What's the best way to find. Just@adominic.com, a D O M N I. And then you can reach me on LinkedIn. If you search for me, Jonathan, I, um, I'm pretty active on there and yeah. Would love to be on the show again in the future. And it's one of those things where innovation is happening so quickly and it's just having the market catch up to taking advantage of what's available now.

And also understanding that where it's headed is super exciting for a medium that I think has been really undervalued for a very long time. And when the, when the big digital guys just start to realize the true value and they actually have a tool to go do it themselves. Um, well then you've got to Facebook and Google search.

It's not a bad, not a bad situation to have, I think, creates market efficiency overall for everybody at the end of the day, it's not a threat to anybody's business. There's certainly enough for us all to be a very profitable in the things that we do. So, Jeff, again, thanks so much for taking the time out.