Can automated media buying models become the norm for DOOH in India?

Industry leaders say though brands, media owners and agencies are realizing the importance of automation, the adoption is fairly slow

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Published: Jan 21, 2021 8:29 AM  | 6 min read
automated media buying dooh

The digital out-of-home (DOOH) market has been picking up in India. The spike in growth was amplified when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world last year. In the current market scenario, tracking of campaigns and data insights have become paramount, making DOOH offerings even more appealing for marketers. Another trend that picked up during the pandemic is contextual advertising, which allows for targeted and personalized content.

With this increase in the appeal of DOOH and contextual advertising, an automated media buying model would be an ideal pathway to success. However, can automated media buying models see a ray of hope in a market like India which is still trying to navigate the obstacles of government restrictions when it comes to DOOH media sites?

An automated media buying approach will allow brands to structure a timing for their campaigns based on the data of their targeted audience. Instead of having a 24x7 approach with low-impact visibility, the campaigns will be generated according to the audience data and the context of the ad. 

e4m spoke to DOOH some leaders to understand first-hand if an automated media buying model for media sites can come into play in the near future.

Automation, the way forward?

According to Rishabh Mehta, Founder & CEO, LOCAD, DOOH itself is relatively new for India, and so, a complete automation of media buying will take much more time in terms of adoption in India.

“Though brands, media owners and agencies are realizing the importance of data and automation, the adoption is fairly slow. But we are confident it will only grow stronger moving forward,” says Mehta.

Gulab Patil, Founder, CEO, Lemma, feels automated media buying models isn’t just a norm but a natural progression of events. “Every manual process today is evolving into automated systems across the board. Automated buying in OOH would bring in ease in many of the manual processes that can be avoided by a simple platform upgrade or integration. Although such platforms are currently being experimented on in the digital OOH space, once this system is perfected, it can be extended to OOH sites.”

“Automated buying brings in a lot of benefits, right from an aggregated view of multiple screens to standardized pricing and much more. This progression is indicative of the direction in which the OOH industry stakeholders would gravitate towards, i.e., automation in every process, right from planning, buying, execution, reporting to measurement,” Patil adds.

The recent growth within OOH has been heavily reliant on digitisation of assets, which stimulated an increase in both supply and demand for this medium. With Covid-19 accelerating the digital shift and marketers shifting focus from vanilla branding to ROI and conversions, DOOH is all set to grow at a considerable rate. With its key currencies -- accountability, speed, flexibility and adaptability-- DOOH, in the new decade, will integrate more with digital buys and increase OOH advertising’s market share in the overall media mix.

Sharing his perspective, Gautam Bhirani, Managing Director, Eyetalk Media Ventures, says “Automation of buying and delivery provides buyers and sellers with a powerful new way to operate, plan, negotiate, deliver and report all in one place automatically. It’s a tool that makes the time-consuming and error-prone manual processes required to book OOH media a thing of the past. The process not only brings transparency but also brings standardization and closes the reporting loop.”

 “With DOOH taking the big leap and integrating with digital advertising, automation is the way forward. However, the transition of one to many medium comes with its complexities,” Bhirani adds.

Speaking about DOOH networks and infrastructure in India, Bhirani shares, “From flawless connectivity, advanced processors to operating software, systems are needed on both sides to make both automated guaranteed and real-time bidding truly live. This also means migrating media owners from spreadsheets and phone calls to a fully live system that delivers costs and availability in real-time, and then accepts bookings from an automated buyer.”


Automated DOOH & contextual advertising

Patil shares, “Automation in buying will certainly boost concepts of audience buying, contextual ads and real-time ads for the sheer fact that it would allow brands to cherry-pick locations that enhance the media outcome with these additional targeting parameters & data-driven ad serving. Traditional approach of bulk buying has gone redundant and customized approach reaching more relevant audiences is the default strategy adopted by most marketers.”

Mehta adds, “Planning has now become more data-driven and advertisers are paying due attention before selecting sites. We have worked with several large brands over the last few weeks and have demonstrated the value of data-driven plans vs adhoc gut-based planning and buying.”

Hope for automated models

“Automation will bring in greater transparency and accountability. However, the effectiveness of this is completely in the hands of all three stakeholders i.e. media owners, brands, agency and the key is adoption,” says Mehta.

“As far as DOOH is concerned, it will be more of a direct automated model than just programmatic at this stage. Till the time the industry as a whole does not move towards a common system, complete automation is very difficult. We will see many hybrid and closed models emerging wherein automated data-driven systems will be used as a means to justify the selection along with some traditional buying habits. Once the number of real DOOH assets, like sites at airports, malls etc, increase, programmatic will have a huge potential. What we are doing in India is far ahead of many other countries across LATAM and SEA in terms of technology adoption and so a huge opportunity is waiting to unfold,” shares Mehta.

Bhirani, speaking about the industry’s acceptability towards automation, says, “Despite being in the centre stage for a decade, pDOOH is still an innovation for agencies and advertisers. Both programmatic and automation in respect to DOOH is still grey as teams within the ecosystem struggle to accept and adapt the once offline medium as a new digital channel. The industry needs to come together and embrace this opportunity. Location data has been paramount, as it allows us to leverage the tools we have built for other channels and apply them to DOOH.”

Talking about the offerings EVP is providing in the automation space, Bhirani says, “At Eyetalk Media Ventures, we are all set to launch our platform which brings planning, buying, optimization and content delivery on a single platform, simplifying complex processes which have been hampering the medium’s adaption. Our platform will create an interactive, easy e-shopping-like experience layered by data integrating with all our networks and will be available to brands from March 2021.”

Patil adds, “There is a high demand for such a solution in the OOH ecosystem and is already in use at many of the leading agencies. OOH stakeholders are working towards enhancing the buying platform to a more rounded solution that serves as a single point in helping planning, execution and reporting. Brands and agencies, in a world with the pandemic, are focused on ROI and appreciate any form of intelligence that serves this purpose.”

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Bright Outdoor Media’s public issue oversubscribed 1.27 times

The shares of the company will be listed on the BSE SME Platform on March 24

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 20, 2023 3:01 PM   |   1 min read

Bright outdoor

The public issue of Bright Outdoor Media has got an overwhelming response. The Rs 55.48 crore public issue was oversubscribed 1.27 times.

The retail category saw 1.15 times subscription for the public issue while the NII category received bids for 1.39 times of the quote.

The shares of the company will be listed on BSE SME Platform on March 24.

Sharing more details, Yogesh Lakhani, Chairman and Managing Director, Bright Media Outdoor, said: "We want to thank all our investors who have put their trust in our public issue. We are hopeful that after the proposed public issue, we will be able to execute our growth strategy in a manner that creates exponential value for all stakeholders while consistently delivering quality services."

The initial public offering comprises a fresh issue of 38 lakh equity shares of face value Rs 10 each at a price of Rs 146 per share (including a premium of Rs. 136 per equity share) aggregating up to Rs 55.48 crore. The minimum lot size for the application is 1,000 share, which translates into Rs 1.46 lakh per application.

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DSP Mutual Fund launches OOH campaign to create awareness about index funds

The campaign urges investors to start investing in index funds because they are simple, low-cost funds that aim to mirror different indices

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 10, 2023 2:12 PM   |   2 min read


DSP Mutual Fund has launched #LetsIndex, its new Out Of Home campaign #LetsIndex aiming to build awareness for Index Funds. The campaign urges investors to start investing in Index Funds because they are simple, low-cost funds that aim to mirror different indices. 

Index Funds have seen a massive rise in popularity, seeing a growth in AUM of more than 100% each year since the last few years. Investors and MFDs across India are appreciating the many virtues of Index Funds and recognizing how they can complement active funds in investor portfolios, thereby contributing to their growth.  

DSP Mutual Fund’s #LetsIndex OOH campaign is running across 17 cities across India, including the top metros via 1000+ touchpoints. This 3-week campaign includes Billboards, Bus Shelters, Digital Billboards, Transit media and more. 

The OOH campaign is also being supplemented with digital media to build further awareness and drive interested investors to learn about index fundson

 This initiative continues DSP’s ongoing efforts to build focus on Index Funds and passive investing in general, adding strength to their content library on their YouTube channel as well as their blog. 

Abhik Sanyal, SVP & Head-Consumer Marketing, DSP Investment Managers said, “The simplest answers to difficult questions are often the right ones, as Occam’s Razor postulates. Index Funds seem almost boring in comparison to other categories of mutual funds, ones that generally grab more attention due to their raging but momentary outperformance or underperformance. At DSP, we believe this is exactly why Index Funds should find flavour in every investor’s portfolio, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced investor. They keep things simple, operate unemotionally & without biases and offer the low-cost advantage to investors. Our creative challenge while planning this OOH campaign was to condense the many advantages of index funds into DSP’s OOH lexicon – short, crisp, hard-hitting. I believe our creatives deliver on this front.”

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Bharat calling: Brands on OOH route to reach smaller cities

Hyperlocal engagement, cost-effectiveness and more disposable income are drawing advertisers to opt for outdoor advertising in rural India, say industry heads

By Tanzila Shaikh | Mar 3, 2023 9:02 AM   |   4 min read


Rural India or Bharat is featuring big on the list of brands and to amplify this further most marketers are taking the OOH route. The outdoor advertising sector is seeing steady growth and has the potential to get bigger, show numbers from industry reports.

Industry players share they have reached pre-Covid numbers and they see this getting better in the days to come with more premium spaces being developed in the country’s rural pockets, lending brands more scope of engagement via the OOH routes.

Tier 2, 3 and 4 cities are emerging as new target points and OOH is one of the biggest mediums, especially for regional brands, to catch the attention of consumers.

Haresh Nayak, CEO & Founder, Connect Network Inc, referred to announcements made in the Union “Amrit Kaal” Budget. “The budget stuck to the narrative of a larger economic strategy to boost India’s fortunes in 2047. The biggest positive is the 33% increase in overall CAPEX outlay on infrastructure development, which will take India towards becoming a true global powerhouse and help urbanize the hinterland. The funds announced for creating infrastructure in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities will go a long way in boosting overall consumer confidence, and also help the OOH industry with modern infrastructure and expand the business in more markets.”

Sharing more on this was Lekshumanan Annamalai, Founder, Coral Media. “Regional brands are investing more as they have tested success with hyperlocal activities and concentrated areas. In terms of value, the proportion would be the same, as our industry is dependent on the real estate of the business (the areas where the OOH structure is situated). The cost of doing a campaign in Mumbai and NCR is equal to doing campaigns around the entire country.”

According to Mangesh Shinde, Co-Founder of OSMO Advertising, “The pandemic has shaped consumer behaviour in multiple ways. With the rising penetration of smartphones and subsequent internet consumption, Bharat unlocked a completely new user base for brands via E-commerce platform. Increasing digital literacy and disposable income in Tier 2,3 & 4 markets have opened up new growth opportunities for several categories.”

“The Indian government has also been aggressive in expanding the road infrastructure and making connectivity easier between a metro town and its nearest hub of Tier 2 & 3 cities. As a result there has been reverse migration of numerous industries from India to Bharat that has generated more local employment resulting in an increase of disposable income. There is also a reverse migration of talent from India to Bharat as it offers better standard of living at much affordable cost of living. This has created a demand for lifestyle and recreational needs providing growth opportunites for industries like E-Commerce, housing, Retail, F&B, Entertainment etc.”

Asked why advertisers are taking an interest in the hinterlands, Rajneesh Bahl, Business Head, Zest Outdoor, said, “It is very simple, your advertising levels are always proportionate to the level of consumption. These regions have started developing and their infrastructures are developing, the BFSI sector has reached far in these regions and they have the capacity to pay. And during the pandemic, a lot of people went back to their hometowns, and with work from home/anywhere being the new norm brands have found a new interest in these regions.”

Earlier in January 2023, the Zomato x Blinkit OOH campaign got the entire nation’s attention. This traditional media campaign was a trending conversation for days and spurred many brands to get on to the bandwagon.

Asked about the future of the OOH industry in rural areas, Annamalai said it is surely growing but will take a little while to catch up with the urban business. “It is certain that tier 2-3 cities are going to grow big. After Covid, the maximum disposable income is in these towns due to the WFH model. However, it will take time to match top cities like Mumbai and NCR because of the absolute pricing. Also, considering cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai still don’t have much infrastructure for the OOH industry, it will be a slow growth.”

Like other mediums, the OOH medium is turning to digital. Speaking on innovations in the industry, Shinde said, “OOH is one the leading mediums where innovations make high decibel noise. Technology integration in a brand-suitable context yields positive results. Recently we executed a 3D Anamorphic Installation campaign for Renault inside malls in Mumbai, Gurgaon and Bengaluru, which provided an immersive feature experience of Kiger. We have also successfully integrated OOH and digital for omnichannel communication of HP Spectre Laptop.”

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Delhi-Mumbai expressway: A fast-track OOH route for brands  

The 1,386-km long expressway gives brands the benefit of achieving total market coverage and reaching a wider audience in a short span

By Shantanu David | Feb 27, 2023 9:07 AM   |   4 min read


Hailed as India’s landmark infrastructure project, the Delhi-Mumbai expressway seems to have put the OOH sector on fast drive. The longest expressway in India stretches up to 1,386 kilometres and cuts the travel distance between Mumbai and Delhi to 12 hours from the present nearly 24 hours.

The expressway is expected to be completed by January 2024, with work happening at multiple points along its routes. PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the Sohna to Dausa stretch earlier this month, which is likely to reduce the distance from Gurgaon to Jaipur to only two hours.

Brands across the spectrum – travel, food and automotive – are set to go for OOH and DOOH contextual and regional advertising given that it’s easy to catch a viewer’s attention when they’re travelling especially on such a long highway.

Confirming the potential, Tanvi Bosmia, Associate Account Director, Brand Experience, SoCheers, says given the distance, travel time and states it will traverse, the expressway will help brands attain a total market coverage and reach a wider audience within a short span of time.

Mitesh Kothari, Co-founder and CCO, White Rivers Media, is also expecting exponential growth in OOH marketing this year overall as more and more offices have completely reopened and travel has resumed after the long pandemic fear and restrictions.

"With the new Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, people are going to feel even more upbeat and motivated to travel for both leisure and work. It’s a golden moment for brands to go strong with strategic OOH advertising and unlock tremendous growth possibilities," he says.

A report by AdEx India predicts a CAGR of 11.5% for the OOH advertising industry in India between 2020 and 2025. Additionally, a Nielsen study showed that OOH advertising can increase brand awareness by up to 54%.

Vikas Kumar Mangla, Founder and CEO, Digital ROI, says that targeted messaging is essential for brands to connect with their intended audience. 

He cited Airtel's DOOH campaign in 2019 targeting truck drivers as an example. In the campaign, digital billboards displayed information about Airtel's mobile data plans, and entertainment options such as movies and songs that truck drivers could stream on their mobile devices.

“Location-based targeting can also help brands maximize their advertising efforts. Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) had previously launched an OOH campaign targeting travelers on their way to hill stations. CCD strategically placed billboards along highways that lead to popular hill stations, such as Shimla and Manali. The billboards displayed messages promoting CCD as a perfect pit-stop for travelers to relax and refresh themselves on their journey,” says Mangla.

The Delhi-Mumbai highway traverses six states - Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra - connecting major cities such as Kota, Indore, Jaipur, Bhopal, Vadodara, and Surat, and is expected to see a high volume of traffic, ranging from business to pleasure excursions.

 “Considering a brand will be seen on every corner of the route this will eventually help in high impact visibility thereby, building better brand awareness and recall,” says Bosmia, adding, “The brands will have to be simple, impactful and catchy. This, indeed, is one of the best opportunities for brands across geographies to capitalize their target audience.”

Satya Satapathy, Founder, Creation Infoways, points out that brands can also utilize dOOH advertising to create more dynamic and personalized experiences for consumers. “By using technologies such as facial recognition or mobile device tracking, they can deliver targeted messages and promotions to individuals based on their demographics, behaviour, or interests. This can be especially effective in attracting local consumers or promoting nearby retail locations,” he says.

For instance, brands can place large billboards, digital displays or even interactive installations along the highway to grab the attention of drivers and passengers. By creating visually compelling and engaging content, they can capture the interest of their target audience and leave a lasting impression.

"The advanced programmatic capabilities also equip DOOH to deliver a more engaging experience. Depending on the brand call, we can analyse and devise the best-suited plan to maximally make use of this opportunity," adds Kothari.

“That being said, it's important for brands to consider the safety and regulatory aspects of OOH/dOOH advertising on highways. They need to ensure that their advertisements don't distract drivers or cause any accidents,” says Satapathy, adding that they also need to comply with local laws and regulations regarding the placement, size, and content of their ads.

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Laqshya Media Group forays into UAE & Gulf

Elie Hankash is the head of its Dubai office

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 20, 2023 2:44 PM   |   2 min read

Elie Hankash

Laqshya Media Group (LMG), a leading  communications group in India, strengthens its presence in the UAE and Gulf region with the expansion of its agency business and the appointment of Elie Hankash as Head of its Dubai office. This move marks a significant milestone in LMG's growth and reinforces its commitment to providing its clients with top-notch services in the region. 

Elie has joined LMG as General Manager – UAE & Gulf and will be based at the Dubai office. He will report to Mr. Atul Shrivastava, Group CEO of Laqshya Media Group. Elie brings a wealth of experience, having worked in the advertising and media industry for 35 years. He was previously Regional Buying Director at MCN Group for 15 years and has held senior positions at Leo Burnett, Y&R, McCann Erickson, and Memac Ogilvy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management from Memphis, TN, USA. 

On this occasion, Atul Shrivastava said, “We couldn't be more excited to welcome Elie to the Laqshya Media Group family! His extensive background in related fields is a game changer as we grow our presence in the UAE and Gulf region. Our expertise and experience make us confident that clients will warmly receive our tech-focused and innovative approach to out-of-home media and partners alike.” 

“I am eager to bring my skill set to Laqshya and help drive the company’s growth in the UAE and Gulf region. We believe that the Middle East region is an important market for us, and we are committed to building strong relationships with clients and partners in the region,” said Elie Hankash. 

The new Dubai office will serve as a hub for Laqshya Media Group's operations in the UAE and Gulf region, offering a full range of services, including out-of-home media planning, buying, digital solutions, and experiential marketing. The company's extensive portfolio of assets, combined with its cutting-edge technology and innovative approach, positions it as a leading player in the out-of-home media market. LMG's move into the UAE and Gulf region is part of its wider strategy to expand globally and offer its services to clients worldwide. Laqshya is already executing a number of campaigns in global markets through its alliance with some of the leading OOH agencies in Europe and the USA.

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First for OOH: Bright Outdoor Media IPO from March 14-17

The company seeks to enter the DOOH space and position the company in the ‘minds of people, Chief Managing Director Dr. Yogesh Lakhani told e4m

By Tanzila Shaikh | Feb 17, 2023 9:17 AM   |   1 min read


Bright Outdoor Media is all set to launch its IPO from March 14-17. This will be the first time an OOH company will be going for an IPO. 

In an exclusive chat with e4m, Dr. Yogesh Lakhani, Chief Managing Director, Bright Outdoor Media, said, “We have been in this business since 1980. We want to introduce the company and position it in the minds of people. We want to expand the business since OOH is also going with the digital wave and digital hoarding is costly. We want to enter into DOOH and we want to be a part of that journey.”

“Currently we have been funded by banks. This will be a landmark movement. We want to convert 100 hoardings of Mumbai into DOOH. The investment will be currently in India but we have plans to go abroad as well.”

According to Lakhani, building a DOOH needs an investment of Rs 1.5 to 2 crore. The company is going to dilute 25% stakes with this IPO, he said. 

The initial public offering will comprise a fresh issue of 38,00,000 equity shares of face value Rs 10 each at a price of Rs 146 per share (including a premium of Rs 136 per equity share) aggregating upto Rs 5,548 lakh. Minimum lot size for the application is 1,000 shares, which translates into Rs 1.46 lakh per application.

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Lemma partners with Maxamtech Digital Ventures for 'metaverse' billboards

They will offer clients strategic in-game placements and enrich customer engagement by allowing advertisers to redirect users to their website or landing page

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 16, 2023 12:19 PM   |   2 min read


Lemma, an independent supply-side platform for large format ads, has announced its partnership with Maxamtech Digital Ventures, launching its metaverse billboards to real-world digital out-of-home clients.

Advertising in the virtual world mimics the brand's actual world representation. Brands can now create a dual experience for audiences in the virtual and physical worlds through Lemma, doubling the overall impact.

The collaboration between Lemma and Maxamtech will assist global brands in creating an indelible brand impression on untapped audiences through the virtual billboards in the Metaverse, connecting the brand story seamlessly across both realms.

Billboard advertising in the Metaverse is currently relatively affordable. The costs of running a campaign in virtual space are low, making it a potentially lucrative opportunity to target a new audience entering the Metaverse.

Maxamtech is a prominent player in the market, with a growing audience in gaming and virtual worlds. Maxamtech and Lemma will offer clients strategic in-game placements and enrich customer engagement by allowing advertisers to redirect users to their website or landing page.

Gulab Patil, Founder and CEO of Lemma, said," Metaverse billboards can reach a global audience and help expand a brand's reach and target new markets efficiently. Further, virtual billboards can show unique advertisements to each user based on their demographics, interests, and actions. Ad personalisation reduces waste and boosts the efficiency of advertising campaigns as a whole." He continues, "Our decision to offer metaverse billboards to the clients will ensure that brands who aim to reinvent themselves to align with audiences in the Metaverse as new patterns of behaviour and consumption emerge will be able to do hassle-free through Lemma."

"We are constantly looking for new and exciting ways to grow and monetise our gaming platform, and this partnership with Lemma presents a perfect opportunity to do so. We look forward to working with them to offer brands and advertisers innovative ways to reach audiences with engaging and cutting-edge new ad units," concluded Xerxes Mullan, Founder of Maxamtech Digital Ventures

Brands can begin with billboard ads and expand into events, product placement, content creation, virtual influencers, and other metaverse advertising opportunities, making billboards the entry point for brands to explore Metaverse advertising.

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