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January 13, 2021

What exactly is CAASie?

Taryn Syratt

The Rundown.

If you read Jeff’s “programmatic in 5 minutes” course, you’ll already know that CAASie isn’t your standard booking platform. So, what is she?

CAASie is a programmatic out-of-home advertising platform. But that doesn’t mean much to most people – so let’s say it a little differently. It’s a platform that automates the delivery of a campaign/ads to billboards and other digital advertising screens that are out in the “real world”.

Basically, CAASie is a web-app. As you can see here.

This works in a remarkably similar way to google AdWords or online ‘display ads’, or even to paid Facebook advertising. So unsurprisingly, the process of setting up a campaign is almost the same.

Create an account, build a campaign with your own parameters, upload your ads (and wait for them to be approved) and get a report of what’s happening.

Real-time ad delivery  

The most notable difference between CAASie and booking a traditional billboard campaign directly is that it uses software to deliver your ads as and when a spot becomes available.

In the online space an ad is triggered by a person entering the website or searching for a particular set of words. On CAASie, it’s actually triggered by the billboard or ad screen itself.

These screens will usually loop 6-10 ads all day long – but when they find a loop that has less than the desired number of ads (e.g. 5 out of 6) – it will notify CAASie, and she will proceed to find the best or most appropriate ad for that space. Right then and there – in just a matter of seconds. Like the mock-up below, courtesy of YardGuru and VMO.

This mode of delivery is what makes CAASie so flexible and affordable – you only pay for what you use and there are no contracts or minimum campaign spends. It is entirely based on whether your ad played or not.

The only drawback is that there is no way to pre-book or guarantee a spot via CAASie. So instead, you need to build a campaign that follows a set of rules.

Setting up campaign rules

As I said above, when you’re creating your campaign, you need to provide some rules so that it can work its magic without you. Think of it a bit like sending an agent to an auction to bid on your behalf. You’ll tell them the items you’re interested in, how much you’re willing to spend per item, and how much budget you have overall.

Set up all the parameters of your campaign - CAASie will walk you through it.

CAASie will walk you through setting all these rules – it’s just like filling out a questionnaire.

1. The duration of a campaign

2. Which screens/billboards you’re interested in (selected from a map)

3. The max price you’re willing to spend per individual ad display

4. Which hours of each day you’d like to join the auctions

5. Total budget for the campaign.

Following these rules, CAASie will place your ads in any spaces that they’re eligible for and spread your budget over the duration of your campaign.

CAASie will not push your ad into every auction if you’re at risk of exhausting your budget too soon. We call this pacing – and it’s an optional 6th rule – you can either leave it up to CAASie (auto) or you can set your own hourly or daily spend requirements.

Pulling it all together

CAASie is designed to be self-serve – which is why setting up your campaign is like filling in a questionnaire. But at the end of it, you have to see what’s actually happened.

In our auction agent example, you’d have to call in to check up on him and then he’d give you a basic report when the auction was over.

In this case – there’s no human in the loop, so your communication is entirely within your CAASie account. Every time your ad is served it’s recorded electronically on a dashboard. You’ll see graphs populate in real time – where you’ll be able to visualise how many times your ad played and approximately how many people may have been around to see it.

Watch your campaign go, go go.

Because it’s all electronic communication, CAASie will also record which ad copy was served, the exact time, and how much it cost you.

Speaking of how much it cost you, you’re probably wondering about that.

What about the cost?

Each ad play is auctioned out as a distinct unit – and it’s valued differently. The floor rate is loosely based on the audience numbers – so the busier it is when your ad plays, the higher the price may get.

Popular locations may also have multiple bidders, but computers are cleverer and way faster than humans – so your bid won’t overshoot the second highest (or floor rate) by more than 5 cents. It also won’t bid higher than your rules allow.

So, if you now ask me “Hey Taryn, how much will this cost” – I’ll probably reply with something like “how much do you have?”

That doesn’t mean I want to take it all – it means that you get to choose your own price. Just like any other auction.

The only thing that I can tell you for sure is that all the pricing on CAASie is listed as an average and/or minimum, except for your final report. It’s a guide to know what range you should be within and is entirely inclusive of CAASie service fees, and any applicable transaction fees and taxes.

The last piece of the puzzle is billing. You might be thinking that if each ad is running for a few cents at a time, that’s a lot of transactions. You’d be 100% correct. Which is why we have a pre-paid credit system.

Rather than pulling every won auction out of your bank or credit card, we pull it from a pre-loaded store of credits. These credits are purchased and stored in your account (as equivalent USD) until they’re used up.

The available credits, your campaign budgets and the max bid price are all entirely within your control. But obviously showing a single ad, or even a handful of them, isn’t going to help your business – so there are recommendations for how much you should spend. But that’s a conversation for later!

Taryn Syratt
A scientist-turned-CAASie-ist. Taryn is a natural-born introvert with no fear of awkwardness. She writes about all things CAASie, strategy and other interesting bits.
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