From last mile to last aisle: Omnicom Media Group sets up first programmatic PMP for retail place-based screens
Omnicom Media Group, Digiday has learned, has set up an out-of-home focused programmatic private marketplace that harnesses some 80,000 point-of-purchase screens across multiple environments in an effort to give OMG clients preferred or exclusive access to place-based inventory that’s as close to point of purchase as one can get.
You’ve heard of “the last mile” in retail marketing? This represents the proverbial “last aisle.”
The pandemic of the last two years may have kept a lot of people shopping from home, but that hasn’t stopped retailers and a host of place-based media firms from investing millions into screens that are in or near stores. Companies like GSTV and Volta, Cooler Screens and Grocery TV continue to expand their network of screens, providing content and advertising to consumers in stores, gas stations, EV charging stations and the like.
Some of this place-based media network inventory is now programmatically available for the first time, which triggered the media agency network to create the PMP, said Megan Pagliuca, Omnicom Media Group’s chief activation officer, who noted the marketplace goes live today (April 8).
“The benefits of programmatic around measurement, targeting, ease of testing, etc., creates this massive opportunity for brands to be able to drive ROI by reaching consumers, right when they’re about to purchase and when they’re near the product in the store,” said Pagliuca.
She said that creating the programmatic PMP enables OMG’s clients to have more control over purchasing screens they can guarantee are near or adjacent to their products in stores, unlike buying directly from the networks, which do not guarantee the same proximity.
“We’ve been able to effectively capture and take advantage of these trends when [they’re] still in [their] infancy, and having the first-to-market programmatic point of purchase screens offering,” added Pagliuca. “And then we secured exclusive inventory that you can only buy through us if you’re buying it this way.”
As for curating the place-based networks selected to be part of the PMP, Jill Schnitt, OMG’s Outdoor Media Group’s president, cited technology, the best possible inventory and “measurement opportunities to show that what we put out in the marketplace helped influence any decisioning too,” she said.
The media agency network has 90-day exclusive access to programmatic inventory with Cooler Screens, 90-day “first-priority access” to Volta, and “first-priority access” to native content with Grocery TV, along with non-exclusive access to programmatic inventory from GSTV (gas stations); Lightbox (malls); NRS Digital Media (convenience stores); Velocity (movie theaters); Screenverse Essential (grocery and retail stores); and Starlite (grocery, pharmacy, liquor stores and outdoor retail centers).
Jay Pattisall, global agency analyst at Forrester, credits OMG’s PMP approach for “their ability to score audiences and inventory using their audience platform.” But he was quick to add: “Tech-driven and deal-driven marketplace advantages are a temporary advantage. Media and marketing technology are an arms race. Competitors always catch up or leapfrog into the next.”
“The real value is what unique services and solutions can be developed as a result of these types of limited-exclusivity deals,” continued Pattisall. “What CMOs and heads of media should look for is the learning that comes from this and how to apply those insights in a scalable way in an environment where they will bid against competitors.”
The media partners in the deal with OMG believe they do solve some of those issues for CMOs.
“We recently surveyed grocery shoppers and discovered that 95% of them are still regularly going into physical stores to get their groceries,” said Nolan Johnson, director of ad partnerships for Grocery TV. “Omnicom’s new marketplace provides both endemic and non-endemic brands with the opportunity to bridge the gap between online and in-person retail media and capture attention in the real world.”
“Everybody benefits when shoppers have information at hand when they’re making purchase decisions,” added Arsen Avakian, co-founder and CEO of Cooler Screens. “Cooler Screens’ programmatic content activates consumer intent at the shelf during consumers’ moment of truth. Now Omnicom can leverage Cooler Screens’ in-store retail media network to measure attribution across the consumer path to purchase, from online to offline.”
And, in theory, that captured attention will inspire purchasing.
“It’s our job to listen to the market and understand what they need from a solutions standpoint,” said Sean McCaffrey, CEO of GSTV. “Retail media has just exploded, and at its simplest it draws a straighter line from investment to sales. Ultimately, it’s conversion-oriented media, meant to drive sales. Our audience [offers] a highly-contextual moment right before purchase at so many retail stores.”
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