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Busting the Myths Around Programmatic Out-of-Home



Carlin Jessop

What do Bigfoot, Leprechauns, and the Loch Ness Monster have in common? (Hint: they’re all myths). Unfortunately, myths and misinformation are everywhere — including the world of out-of-home (OOH) advertising.

In this blog, we’ll dive into some of the biggest myths in the programmatic DOOH industry to help clear up misconceptions and find the truth about how marketers can leverage OOH to build highly effective campaigns.

Myth #1: Time and location are the only data we can use in out-of-home. 

The reality: Savvy marketers consistently choose DOOH as a medium of choice due to its robust data capabilities and the ability to easily extend their strategies across other digital channels. Using GPS location data, brands can define and activate audiences based on the locations consumers visit. Through geospatial data analysis, marketers can understand when and where their target segments are most likely to be throughout their day. In addition to these capabilities, brands can take advantage of first- and third-party data to reach their target audiences. Marketers can create their own audiences using first-party data from their CRM of choice, or utilize one of Vistar’s data partners, such as Foursquare and Epsilon, for OOH targeting.



Myth #2: Data-driven activations are nice, but there is no way to measure real-world results.

The reality:  Measurement within the OOH industry used to be a challenge, but with recent advancements in both data and technology, marketers can now rely on trustworthy solutions for measuring their campaigns. Vistar recently partnered with the OAAA to create a standardized guide to measuring exposed mobile IDs, ensuring accurate and transparent metrics for advertisers. While other forms of media are suited to drive either upper or lower-funnel metrics, DOOH has the power to improve a brand’s position across all major KPIs. Using exposure-based methodologies, marketers can evaluate the impact of their out-of-home initiatives through the use of brand studies, foot traffic studies, online conversion studies and sales lift studies.



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Myth #3: There’s nothing unique about what I can do with my creatives. 

The reality: DOOH appeals to marketers because it can provide unmatchable, high-impact placements that are unaffected by some of the issues attached to digital advertising (bots, viewability, and brand safety, to name a few). Whether a brand activates large format displays that use a flashy creative to garner attention or place-based screens that live in contextually relevant environments, DOOH is a public and striking format for reaching target audiences. Ultimately, DOOH is an incredibly effective and powerful marketing tool. Innovation within the OOH industry has led to advancements such as available first- and third-party data as well as out-of-the-box creative, which all drive the medium’s success.



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Myth #4: Consumers are spending all their time at home online, not out and about.

The reality: Despite periods of lockdowns throughout 2020 and 2021 confining people to their homes, people are firmly back in their daily routines – offices have opened up again, the daily commute has resumed for many and they’re hitting the high streets. But it’s not only that people are out of the house, but they are also in an extremely receptive and positive mindset when they are. DOOH is instrumental in bridging the consumer journey.

Using programmatic out-of-home, marketers can easily reach their audiences, at scale, in their natural environments while they are away from home and their personal devices. From screens inside of grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations, to electric vehicle charging stations, billboards and bus shelters, OOH allows brands to seamlessly integrate their products and services into a consumer’s daily routine, with contextual environments and repeated exposure proven to drive lift in brand awareness, consideration, purchase intent, foot traffic and sales.



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Myth #5: I don’t have that sort of budget for billboard advertising.

The reality: Programmatic technology for DOOH allows buyers to make more efficient and strategic media buys and integrate DOOH into their omnichannel marketing strategies. Regardless of the campaign objective, programmatic OOH is a cost-effective way for marketers to get in front of their target audiences.

Due to the increasing digitization and ubiquity of digital OOH formats, advertisers can benefit from a wide range of CPMs. DOOH CPMs typically range anywhere from $2.00 to $50.00, depending on the venue format, maximum reach and scale of inventory in any given location. That being said, there is always a time and a place for unique, high-impact inventory – that may come at a higher price point, and should. Programmatic technology, however, allows buyers to run more frequently on multiple premium locations rather than buying a single spot in a loop on one splashy screen.

A unique advantage of DOOH, in contrast to how ads are priced in the online advertising world, is that media costs for static creatives and video creatives are effectively the same — allowing for extremely efficient rates when it comes to deploying a brand’s video messaging.


In Summary

Exploring these myths, it is evident that programmatic OOH offers marketers the same benefits as other forms of digital media while emerging as a cost-effective way to reach consumers at scale at opportune moments throughout their daily routines. Marketers can now use a wide variety of data to build highly targeted and unique creatives that drive measurable, real-world results.


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