But it took Volta time to build its stations and therefore its inventory network.
Volta has grown from 125 charging stations in 2016 to more than 2,500 stations. When the Volta started, it only offered a static screen. Now, each charging station has two digital displays and a 100% programmatically available inventory.
Even though the difference in the sale of his house was in order, Volta had to wait until the difference in the purchase was reached and he had to settle with the new standards of responsibility before the opportunity of his advertising platform arrived.
Although Volta Media, as it is called Volta’s ad division, does not disclose its ad revenue, everything falls into the digital out-of-home (DOOH) category because it is fully programmatic.
“Programming is a big help, because the biggest delay we would get in the beginning – and we still get it – is scale,” Schott said.
Volts may have thousands of screens across the country, but the largest media company DOOH has thousands of screens in a single large city.
“What allows buyers from the program is to get Volta into the story to reach the right audience without having to bear the burden of carrying the Volta scale,” he said.
To date, Volta’s ad business has focused primarily on endemic brands, such as car companies, any company that touches on electric vehicles, or a market with a message about sustainability.
That makes sense. Volta EV is a company of charging stations after all. But to reach the next stage of growth, Volta Media needs to move into new categories.
A number of expert performance marketers, such as Uber and Postmates, have been successful with Volta, said Brittany Eckett, investment director at WPP-owned OOH Kinetic.
Electric vehicles or sustainability brands receive a “halo” effect when linked to inventory of EV charging stations, he said, but advanced brands with their own applications see DOOH ads as a performance channel. A QR code that appears on a screen while someone is loading their car can be used, for example, to instantly compress that person to a page to download the app.
Another exciting creative opportunity comes from the food, beverage and home market in stores or gas stations, Ecket said. Many of the Volta charging stations are located outside of stores. The company has partnerships with a number of property owners, including Kohl’s, Stop & Shop and Giant Foods.
A CPG brand may use QR codes or email offers that offer a coupon for products shipped to a nearby location.
Last month, Volta unveiled its first retail media product, taking a step back from its CPG, a grocery and convenience store brand ad. Volta can now provide inventory that only appears on screens in specific parking lots or in the vicinity of retailers, pharmacies, and other properties owned by related stores. Ads can be geotagged to run on Volta screens next to stores that carry a particular product.
“I think CPG will be on par with the automotive industry in terms of endemic categories,” Schott said.
With enough scale in specific stores, Volta can work with retail data companies like Catalina or Quotient to attribute additional sales to DOOH campaigns.
“The way to gain in CPG is to measure the high exposure to increase in purchases and sales,” he said.
Earlier this week, Volta announced a retail allocation partnership with Catalina.
But while the Volta CPG brand is improving, it also has an attractive offering for retail customers. These relationships are critical because they agree to set up Volta stations in their car parks because they own shops and real estate.
Volta now offers part of its inventory to its retail partners to expand the reach of a store’s programming platform, as most major food chains now use their own ad platform.
“That’s the conversation we have at the spearhead,” Schott said. “It’s not just an EV conversation if we contribute a valuable, separate screen to an already spinning retail media network machine.”