Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising is the tech-savvy counterpart of traditional outdoor advertising. Where outdoor media meets technology, threading brand stories directly into the world, moment by moment. Think beyond Times Square billboards – we're talking about hundreds of thousands of outdoor ad opportunities. From visually stunning, attention-grabbing displays to strategically positioned screens, DOOH is about making an impact wherever your audience goes.
In this article, we're going to discuss:
a. Large Format
a. Retail Media
The Evolution of Out-of-Home Advertising: Traditional vs. Digital Signage
Out-home (OOH) advertising traditionally depended on static visual elements like posters and printed vinyl billboards. However, the introduction of digital signage and programmatic ad serving has ushered in a new era for the advertising channel. DOOH provides increased creativity, enhanced targeting, and improved measurement tools, introducing a level of precision and analytics that was previously unimaginable for outdoor media.
Does this mean you should shift all your OOH dollars to DOOH? Not necessarily.
Traditional OOH still has a place in advertising thanks to its long-standing effectiveness for brands. When deciding between traditional versus digital billboards, your marketing goals are key in making the final choice.
Are you looking to expand brand awareness, handpick a bulletin, or execute a one-off splashy ad? Traditional OOH is a great way to do that. Or are you looking to target a particular audience, swap out digital ad creatives and measure direct results from your campaign? If so, a DOOH campaign may be the best choice.
These strategies work best when used together. They combine the consistent messaging of a fixed campaign with the flexibility and immersive experience provided by DOOH.
The Growth of DOOH in Recent Years
of OOH Ad Spend
DOOH is making waves in the advertising world, and for good reason. With big and bold displays, the channel grabs attention and sticks in your memory. It has an impressive 82% ad recall from consumers passing by.
In 2023, it became the fastest-growing advertising channel with a remarkable +24.2% growth. By 2027, advertisers expect DOOH to account for 45% of total OOH advertising spend.
What DOOH Formats to Use and When
Use Large Format Screens to Advertise in High Traffic Areas
Large format screens are perfect for high-traffic areas, capturing 88% of consumers passing by every month. These screens appear in many shapes and locations, such as highway billboards, urban panels and bus shelters. They are powerful platforms for creating memorable moments that make a lasting impression among consumers.
Typical large-format screens include:
- Highway billboards
- Urban panels
- Transit screens
- Bus shelters
- Outdoor digital walls
- …and more!
Use Place-Based Media to Integrate Your Brand Into the Consumer Journey
Picture place-based media as your brand's storyteller, crafting messages tailored to specific locations like malls, gyms, and universities. The goal is to engage consumers in natural environments, making your brand a part of their daily lives. You'll grab their attention and make your brand more relevant — it's like creating a personalized brand journey wherever your audience is.
Place-based locations include:
- Office buildings
- Gas stations
- …and more!
Use Point-of-Purchase Screens to Influence In-Store Shoppers
Point-of-purchase screens influence in-store shoppers when and where they're making buying decisions. In fact, 70% of buying decisions are made in-store. These screens appear in retail parking lots, throughout the store entrance and shopping aisles, and at the register. What better place to advertise than where those last minute decisions are made?
Point–of-purchase screens are available in:
- Big box retailers
- Convenience stores
- Grocery stores
- Liquor stores
Four Key Advantages of DOOH Advertising
When it comes to DOOH, there are some game-changing benefits. Here are four key advantages that redefine the rules of traditional OOH.
Precise Targeting Capabilities
With DOOH, your messages hit the bullseye. You can tailor your content based on location, time, or weather, which means it reaches your audience where and where it matters most.
Targeting opportunities include:
- Dayparting: Adjust content based on the time of day using time-based data. For example, promote breakfast items in the morning and dinner specials in the evening.
- Geotargeting: Display location-specific content on digital screens to align with the interests and needs of your local audience.
- Point radius/POI targeting: Target ads near important locations to surround a specific area with your message. For example, serving an ad for an energy drink around a live sporting event.
- Weather triggers: Serve ads based on the weather—for example, only display ads for a swimsuit line in areas with warm temperatures.
Using First-Party Targeting for Effective DOOH Advertising
Customer data is important for brands. It helps them target their audience by reaching people who have already shown interest in buying. First-party data combined with DOOH is a powerful way to engage desired audiences in the real world.
Here's how to make the most of it:
- Target an audience reaching the end of a product’s life cycle — for example, when it is time for their car lease renewal or mobile phone upgrade.
- Encourage upsells and cross-sells using historical transaction data to reach your frequent shoppers with complementary products or offers.
- Identify qualified prospects when launching a new product by combining your CRM and financial data.
- Plan your media around events or seasons that your customers usually shop during.
Using Third-Party Targeting for Effective DOOH Advertising
Today's top data companies, experts in understanding and segmenting audiences, are integrated into the world of DOOH advertising. They bring a wealth of data, ranging from location and purchase data to app installs and TV viewership data, and more. This means that you can leverage their data within your DOOH campaign to deliver even more impactful and targeted campaigns.
Here are a few types of third-party data you can use for DOOH audience targeting:
- Purchase data: Leverage shopper data to reach your target personas based on past purchase behaviors.
- Mobile app data: Send targeted ads to users based on their mobile app usage, reaching those with specific interests and intentions.
- B2B data: Reach your desired business audience based on demographic, lifestyle, behavioral, transaction, and occupational data attributes.
- TV viewership data: Target your intended audiences based on their TV-watching behaviors, including viewership patterns across live and on-demand viewing.
For a more in-depth look at all of DOOH’s targeting capabilities, check out our guide: Audience and Targeting Strategies for DOOH.
Real-time and Contextual Advertising
Beyond targeting, DOOH can tailor its content to your audience's immediate surroundings. Imagine ads that effortlessly show your brand's closest store or have a live countdown to an upcoming product launch. It's not just customization; it's automation at its finest.
How is this possible? With dynamic creative.
Dynamic creative leverages data to seamlessly interchange elements within an advertisement, strategically ensuring that your message aligns with your audience's present circumstances. Imagine tailoring your brand's narrative to deliver real-time content, enhancing relevance and deepening consumer resonance.
Use dynamic creative to automatically swap out:
- The nearest store location
- Live sports scores or game details
- Local weather conditions
- The day of week & time of day
- Any countdowns (or count-ups)
- New product promotions
- …and more!
Increased Ad Engagement
DOOH advertising takes advertising engagement to a whole new level. Picture eye-catching visuals on massive screens in bustling locations; you can't look away. Whether a captivating video or a creatively designed image, DOOH captivates and leaves a lasting impression.
Strategically positioned in high-traffic and high-interest areas, DOOH delivers exposure to diverse audiences, employing location targeting for heightened relevance. The adaptability of digital formats also allows for creative experimentation, enabling advertisers to deliver memorable content that resonates with and engages consumers.
As a channel, DOOH has the same measurement capabilities as other digital media. It offers precise and clear data analytics for your campaign's performance from start to finish, thanks to programmatic technology.
DOOH ads measure success using ad log timestamps, device and screen location, and venue type. Analyzing how people who saw the ads acted compared to those who didn't reveals the campaign's impact.
When launching a DOOH campaign through a DOOH DSP, there are five key reporting metrics accessible to users:
- Impressions: The total instance an advertisement is served, including the spend per hour to reach those impressions.
- Market and Venue Type: Provides insights into the various markets and types of screens where the advertisement appears.
- Data Costs: The amount associated with acquiring third-party data for audience targeting.
- Revenue Tracking: The overall amount spent throughout the campaign.
- Media Owner and Venue Location: Information about the media owners and specific locations accessed through the DSP.
Additionally, you can gain more insights through brand studies, foot traffic analysis, online engagement metrics, and sales lift studies. These solutions help you see how well your campaign is doing and its impact on important goals.
To see how other brands are leveraging measurement for DOOH, check out some of our client case studies with Twitch, Insperity, Jägermeister and Fox.
Using DOOH in an Omnichannel Approach
It's no secret that the competition for consumer attention keeps getting fiercer. With millions of businesses launching each year, standing out and grabbing audience attention in mere seconds becomes more and more difficult.
That's why building a strong omnichannel marketing strategy has become essential. More and more brands are integrating DOOH into their media mix. With programmatic technology, advanced data capabilities, and creative innovation, the channel helps you expand your reach beyond online channels and create a consistent presence both online and offline.
Combining mobile with programmatic DOOH is a great example. Both channels are effective at reaching on-the-go consumers when they are away from their personal devices at home or in the office. This duo allows you to build on your established connections and create additional touchpoints with consumers who are highly likely to have already seen your ads. For instance, a retail brand can drive top of mind awareness and consideration for a new product using DOOH, then follow up on mobile with a continuation of their messaging or specific call-to-action.
Quality Assurance in Programmatic DOOH: Ensuring Your Brand Shines Bright
When it comes to programmatic ads, hundreds of thousands of screens are available programmatically - meaning there’s never been a better time to invest. At the same time, the rapid increase in programmatic screens makes it hard to identify the right media partners for each campaign.
That’s where programs like Vistar Verify come in, setting the stage for a new era of quality assurance. Vistar Verify is a joint effort by media owners, buyers, and platform partners to create quality standards based on three core elements: environment, presentation and signals.
- Environment: Focus on the quality of the location and audience, emphasizing cleanliness, brand safety, and reaching a desirable audience.
- Presentation: Assess the physical display and on-screen experience, looking for well-designed, clean displays in visible locations with ads presented prominently in a modern design.
- Signals: Measure the reliability of data describing the inventory, ensuring accurate information from approved 3rd-party sources, including up-to-date impression data and precise operational details.
When it comes to ad investments, confidence is priceless. Vistar Verify assures your brand appears on only the best inventory available.
The Evolution of DOOH: A Sneak Peek into Tomorrow
What are the main trends in DOOH that marketers should be aware of as the industry continues to evolve and grow?
Retail Media: A Shopper's Paradise
Brands now show up in stores where people shop, not just on TV or online. The growth of retail media is an exploding opportunity for brands to connect with consumers in new ways.
With more DOOH inventory available, you have the opportunity to place advertisements on screens located in and around retailers. This creates an immersive experience for shoppers, guiding them from the entrance all the way to the checkout. It's not just about visibility, but about influencing decisions in those critical moments before purchases.
Contextual Targeting in the Cookieless Era
In today's marketing landscape, privacy concerns and the decline of third-party cookies have left brands searching for new ways to connect with audiences. While online advertising relies heavily on these cookies for personalized targeting, DOOH prioritizes user privacy.
DOOH allows you to reach your desired audience without relying on third-party cookies. How? OOH screens appear in contextually relevant environments that enable you to hyper-target groups of consumers based on their location and interests rather than focusing on individual data points. By activating digital signage in these relevant environments, you're sure your message is seen by the right people at the right times without an invasion of privacy.
As the marketing world continues its journey towards a cookieless future, contextual targeting in OOH is a smart play for brands. Not every campaign needs a "wow" moment. But with OOH, you can create moments that matter – moments that resonate with your audience and leave a lasting impact.
By 2026, the DOOH market is expected to grow by 10.35%. As the digital medium rises in popularity thanks to its accuracy, effectiveness and automation, the sky's the limit for marketers looking to launch a creative and high-impact outdoor campaign. From new formats, venues and targeting abilities, to continuing innovations such as dynamic creatives, DOOH will continue to prove the pervasiveness and success of outdoor media, marrying traditional methods with the future of the digital age.
So what are you waiting for? Start today - It's not just about catching eyes, it's about making moments that stick and driving business results.