DPAA member profile: mobile and DOOH ad platform Vistar Media

A DPAA-sponsored feature.

By Mel Stout.

In our ongoing series of exclusive interviews with senior execs of recent new members of the Digital Place Based Advertising Association (DPAA), we chat with Michael Provenzano, CEO & Co-Founder of Vistar Media.

Tell us about your geospatial technology and how it is used to gain insights into consumer behavior.

Vistar has built the first data agnostic system for defining audiences based on location, and analyzing the movement patterns of these audiences. We use aggregated consumer data to predict the affinity or the probability of a certain type of behavior in a certain area at a certain time. For example, we might ask, in this area of Manhattan over these four blocks, what is the probability of encountering someone who gets coffee at Starbucks every afternoon, between 3 and 6 p.m.? It’s about leveraging consumer mobility data to understand patterns and even connect these patterns with other data sets like purchase data, demographics, etc.

How do media owners, agencies and brands utilize your data?

Today, when marketers think of location data it often revolves around using location as a way to describe an individual consumer. For Vistar, we came from the very opposite side of the spectrum in looking for a way to help marketers use massive location datasets to reach the right audiences utilizing a one-to-many medium (out-of-home).

We are creatures of habit in daily behaviors so our software is looking for these consumer movement patterns. It is from this geospatial analysis that we gain insights and targeting parameters for OOH media campaigns.

On the flip side, the same movement datasets can be used to measure the success of a campaign whether the KPI is foot traffic, sales lift or even upper funnel brand awareness metrics.

Michael Provenzano, CEO & Co-Founder of Vistar Media

What advertising categories are your prime targets?

We prioritize all of our sales efforts by verticals based on our measurement capabilities (e.g. ability to show ROI). We have first-to-market solutions for retail, QSR, automotive and CPG brands. Over the past 2.5 years we have released dozens of case studies with the largest brands in the world and are thrilled to be growing these learnings at a rapid clip over the coming months.

In addition to your geospatial technology, Vistar Media also offers media owners software solutions for revenue management and network operations. Tell us a bit about that.

After 4 years of operating an exchange for DOOH, we’ve learned a lot about how technology and data can drastically change how a channel of advertising is transacted and measured. We’ve built some amazing technology and our media owner partners always asked “can we have that?” so we spent the last 18 months iterating with our largest partners on what it would look like to run their businesses from one platform with Vistar’s holistic revenue management, ad operations, and programmatic sales solution.

There are a few core components of this software suite including inventory management, direct ad delivery and of course, the exchange.

Our inventory management solution is equivalent to software systems that have revolutionized the airline and hotel industries. Media owners can understand utilization and optimize pricing across sales channels, respond to RFPs faster through an easy-to-use, web-based mapping interface and layer first and third party data sources to increase the value of their inventory and broaden their client base.

Vistar’s ad server eliminates time spent scheduling playlists and targets ad campaigns more dynamically through intelligent business rules for ad delivery. Everything from streamlined workflows to delivery against external datasets to integrations with online digital ad serving tracking systems.

This summer we acquired a small software firm, Cortex, that was building device management and application deployment systems for the IoT space. There was a unique and superior perspective to digital signage that came to leveraging a platform like Cortex and it is becoming the backbone for some of the most advanced digital signage and DOOH networks in our space.

The technology allows networks to focus on innovation, instead of wasting resources on network operations. Cortex is hardware-agnostic, cloud-based and utilizes standard web technologies (HTML5, JavaScript, etc.) to build dynamic on-screen experiences — what we call applications. We’ve seen drastic increases in screen uptime from deployments and significant reduction in operating costs by managing fleets of devices in a way that is very similar to the way mobile devices are managed.

Cortex is also equipped with a data management platform that is changing the game for networks managing real-time, sensory and static data sources. This is crucial as we continue to see the extraordinary opportunity around connected city projects.

How do you see the digital out-of-home & mobile relationship evolving over the next several years?

There are a few immediate synergies that come to mind:

  • the performance gains in purchasing cross-screen media against a single strategy
  • mobile as a data channel to apply targeting to DOOH
  • mobile as a data channel to apply measurement to DOOH

In order to access new budgets, like mobile, the OOH industry must speak the same language and have systems that are compatible with the growth of data-driven behavioral media buying.

In the next five years, mobile revenues driven by demand for location-based strategy will outpace the entire out-of-home industry. Why? Because of the proliferation of geotemporal data sources that have shed light on consumers’ behavior in the physical world. Mobile marketers are using these data sources to reach audiences on-the-go and measure offline returns on location-based ad spend. The future of OOH depends on taking a note from the mobile location strategy playbook.

Mobile advertising has grown faster than any other medium in the last four years, and key to that success has been solving the attribution problem. While early conversations around mobile measurement centered on cross-device attribution, solving for last-touch models, proving mobile’s value as a branding channel, etc., over the past two years those conversations have increasingly shifted to focus marketers’ attention on mobile-first KPIs that describe the unique offline context of reaching consumers when they are not tethered to their desktop devices. It’s no coincidence that our search for better mobile attribution birthed strategy — with location-based mobile ad spend accounting for 39% of total mobile ad revenue this year and poised to grow to 41% by 2020. Mobile has finally come of age and it didn’t grow up to be just a media channel, it became a data channel that is redefining how marketers measure ROI.

What are you hoping to get out of your DPAA membership?

The DPAA has done a great job of positioning our advertising channel to marketers and showing why it should be a larger investment in a marketer’s total media investment.

We are looking forward to working with the DPAA on technology, data and measurement standards for our industry. There is a lot of work to be done across the board but we believe they have the right leadership and staff to make it happen. We are proud to be working with them to evolve our industry.


Media coverage of Vistar Media 

Media coverage of DPAA



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