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AdQuick launches open platform for online booking of billboard ads
The new platform also offers analytics for out-of-home ads and can directly transmit ad content to digital billboards.
If you’ve noticed that more and more billboards have essentially become giant TV screens, then you’re watching the out-of-home (OOH) industry slowly grow into something resembling the online ad industry.
This week, a Santa Monica, California-based startup called AdQuick launched its first product, a platform that is designed to manage the OOH ecosystem — including screens in bus shelters or displays on the sides of buildings, as well as billboards.
But the industry still has a ways to go. Founder and CEO Matthew O’Connor told me that well over 90 percent of OOH displays are still “static,” non-electronic displays.
This has resulted in ad inventory that is plagued by huge inefficiencies, he said, such as a vacancy rate as high as 40 percent, because advertisers can’t quickly find out about, buy, turn over or supply the static display opportunities.
AdQuick’s Web-based platform enables online self-service booking of outdoor electronic displays that are connected to the Web, offers the ability to transmit ad content to appropriate electronic displays, and provides an OOH campaign analytics dashboard. New York City-based Vistar Media also provides an online platform that books and serves ads to digital signage, via its own demand-side platform (DSP).
The AdQuick platform has been in beta testing for several months, following the company’s founding in August. It has already conducted half a dozen OOH campaigns for several advertisers, including chatbot provider Sensay, grocery service Instacart, influencer CRM Ninja Outreach, and fitness centers Orange Theory Fitness.
In its announcement, AdQuick cited Instacart founder and CEO Matt O’Connor, who noted that his company’s attempt to buy outdoor ads became “bogged down in the cumbersome process that took weeks of time and dozens of emails to gather options for campaigns.”
Eventually, he said, they spent the ad budget in Web marketing because it was easier to execute and measure.
There’s no real-time bidding yet in the AdQuick platform. Instead, advertisers buy OOH space on digital displays at a fixed price, and in those cases when the outdoor display is properly set up, the advertiser can use the platform to upload a video or graphic file that goes directly into the billboard or other display. Here’s a screen shot of the dashboard:
Inventory that is not available online — such as billboards that still have posters pasted on them — can be obtained via a “campaign request” feature in the platform, where buyers receive options within 48 hours.
Available inventory, shown as a photo at the location, can be sorted by CPM, total cost or region. After ad placement, the inventory owner provides a “proof of performance,” where someone takes and sends a photo of the ad in the billboard or other display, preferably within a few hours of the ad going up. A campaign analytics dashboard measures the impact of campaigns:
AdQuick conducts pre- and post-campaign surveys in the nearby area and in a control market, to measure channel attribution and unaided brand awareness. For each survey, the opt-in and paid respondents number in the hundreds. The analytics also indicate lifts in Google search volume for related search terms in the targeted areas, plus related boosts in Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and Facebook, as noted through third-party data.
Additionally, AdQuick offers a five-digit texting number and follow-up analytics, so that advertisers can list that number in their outdoor ad. A restaurant’s display ad, for instance, might encourage viewers to text the number so they can receive an auto-reply message with a discount coupon. Eventually, O’Connor said, calls to action might also include coupon codes or app installs.
Although AdQuick doesn’t integrate with other marketing/ad platforms at the moment, O’Connor said tie-ins with mobile ad and marketing automation platforms will be implemented within the next three months.