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Media Owner Spotlight: Captivate



Carlin Jessop

For this month’s Media Owner Spotlight, Vistar spoke to Barb Huggett, General Manager, Canada, at Captivate. This interview spotlights the unique value proposition the network brings to the OOH industry and how Captivate’s partnership with Vistar Media has benefited their business over the years.

Please describe your network in 2 sentences.

Captivate connects advertisers to modern professionals. For 25 years, Captivate has been a trusted partner for brands to reach influential, high value decision makers in a brand safe, contextually relevant environment. 

What types of screens do you have, and where can they be found?

As North America's largest digital video office network, Captivate provides placements on screens in premiere office tower elevators, lobbies and high-traffic common areas. We deliver news, sports, entertainment, information, and advertising to viewers Monday through Friday, from 7am to 7pm.

What regions do you operate in?

Specific to Canada, we are in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa. Additionally, our inventory is located in 28 major markets across the US.

What sets you apart from other digital channels?

Captivate has live editors curating content from over 180 content providers to ensure what we bring to the screen is engaging to our viewers and a brand-safe environment for our advertisers. Captivate has a 3rd-party managed viewer panel consisting of 1,000 people in our office network footprint, who we tap into for audience insights, feedback on our product as well as brand recall, awareness, and consideration campaign studies. Additionally, we amplify campaign reach through strategic partnerships to provide mobile extensions and other product offerings such as Captivate Ride, Captivate Window Front and Captivate Residential.

What do you wish more digital buyers knew about OOH?

With all the recent ad tech advancements, OOH goes much further than top-of-funnel brand awareness. OOH is now very data-driven and offers advertisers excellent opportunities to buy and execute campaigns, delivering results across several KPIs. Further, progression in programmatic capabilities opens the door for buyers to take a more omni-channel approach to their advertising strategy.

How do you see digital out-of-home evolving over the next year?

There are three main aspects of DOOH that I think will evolve over the next year:

1) Creativity will play a larger role. I believe that some creativity has been lost with the sole focus on data, and predict we'll see creativity playing a much larger role aligned with tech advancements. Some of these creative evolutions could be triggers, QR codes, AR, integration of social media, responsive ads, etc.

2) Audiences will be key for targeting – no longer just demographic audiences, but audiences defined by behavior. With behavioral audiences being the focus, we'll see more movement in the evolution of impression-based buying.

3) Increase in buying DOOH programmatically. We'll see DOOH included in more 'digital' plans and a move to PMP from Open Exchange. With the restoration of advertiser confidence, they’ll take advantage of planning campaigns with targeting parameters tied to specific budgets, that are then executed programmatically.

3YoungWomenElevator_standard_CAN copy - Barb Huggett (1)How has your foot traffic and customer set changed since the onset of the pandemic?

The 'new normal' for the Captivate office network really boils down to offices are still relevant. With the majority
of companies embracing hybrid work schedules, we've witnessed month over month increase in traffic since January 2022, with a big bump in April/May period.
As of May 14th, our unique visitation increased 67% versus the end of March. Captivate’s traffic is strong and stable, and we continue to adjust our impressions accordingly to the changes in traffic that we're seeing on a granular building level.

What has been Vistar's most valuable contribution to your business?

From my perspective, I'd say the collaborative approach the Vistar team has taken has been extremely valuable; enabling us to fine-tune our approach, look at strategies to generate additional revenues together, permit testing and trial of tools, and advancing the programmatic education for our sales team.

What benefits have you been able to leverage by working with Vistar over the years?

With the volatility of shutdowns during the pandemic, Captivate benefited from the flexibility and adaptability that Vistar’s programmatic platform provided. The full team, both sales and support, were actively available to help in any way they could — including providing ongoing insights into the pDOOH demand trends they were seeing as a whole. Additionally, I'd say as things started to improve, Vistar took the initiative to help promote place-based or 'indoor' DOOH suppliers’ inventory, thus providing Captivate with additional reach through marketing and coverage to buyers.


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