The acquisition of Ballroom Group, international online ad network by Ströer Media AG, a provider of out-of-home (OOH) advertising in the Central Eastern European (CEE) region was approved by the Turkish antitrust authorities on August 1, 2013. Ballroom Group specialises in display and video advertising and is very active in the programmatic buying space. Programmatic buying is the automation of the ad purchasing process. This is the ad technology that dictates the serving of ads to a specific audience. Ströer Media AG will hold a 53.4 per cent share in Ballgroom Group.
The aim of the Ballroom Group acquisition is to expand Ströer's digital out of home business. Following the implementation of advertising technology in its German operations, Ströer is now seeking to expand this to its two biggest markets in the CEE region: Poland and Turkey.
As programmatic buying gains traction in the online advertising space, it has had a wider effect on all other media. In a weak European economy, advertisers are facing more stringent budgets. Hence, they are looking for measurable and transparent results to maximise their return-on-investment. The data-heavy nature of programmatic buying offers just that and is thus more appealing to marketers who need numbers to justify their ad spend. Mobile publishers have already embraced programmatic and now radio, out-of-home and even TV are experimenting with automated ad trading using 'big data'.
Digital out-of-home is growing strongly across Europe and publishers are eager to improve targeting and efficiency on the OOH platform. Xaxis, WPP's audience buying company has already launched a programmatic platform for digital out-of-home to link the ads consumers view on their PCs and mobiles with those they see in airports, taxis and buses.
This is part of a wider move toward a device-agnostic advertising strategy which optimises ads based on data rather than type of inventory. Companies like Google and Baidu are already implementing this in their offering, as their ads are served to the targeted individuals regardless of the platform. This is not however limited to the online-native companies. As the media ecosystem becomes more fragmented through the proliferation of connected devices, traditional players like the Guardian, BSkyB, and Ströer also starting to implement programmatic buying processes.