A Closer Look at Digital Out-of-Home Advertising
A Closer Look at Digital Out-of-Home Advertising

A Closer Look at Digital Out-of-Home Advertising

Digital Marketing

Sheri Cosgrove

May 26 2023

One of the first and most important steps of any successful marketing campaign is gaining an audience’s trust. As consumers become more distrustful of certain advertising tactics and data privacy regulations tighten across the digital landscape, advertisers must consider all of their options when curating the right media mix.

Digital out-of-home advertising offers the familiarity of traditional out-of-home ads with the added benefit of better optimization and measurement. Even better than that, industry experts see this medium as one of the top three media with the most innovative advertising opportunities. Get to know more about digital out-of-home ads and the impact they could have on your next campaign.

What Is DOOH Advertising?

Digital out-out-home (DOOH) advertising is any digital advertising medium designed to reach audiences outside of their home environment, allowing marketers to connect with target audiences on a larger and more public scale. Billboards, bus shelter signage, point-of-purchase (POP) displays, or any public space where ads are displayed on a large screen or network of screens — think event centers, arenas, college campuses, train terminals, etc. — are all examples of DOOH advertising.

DOOH extends brand reach beyond mobile devices, televisions, and computers where digital ads are typically served, which also means DOOH uses data differently. Because DOOH ads don’t leverage personal data collected via first- or third-party cookies, they’re a smart, strategic way to generate brand awareness without the risk of violating privacy regulations.

The DOOH Media-Buying Process

There are generally two ways to approach DOOH media buying: manual or programmatic.

Manual media buying requires more work on the part of marketers to purchase a set amount of inventory at a predetermined CPM. Teams manually purchasing DOOH ads lose the ability to pay per impression, which has the potential to drain your budget through inefficient ad placement.

Programmatic DOOH (or pDOOH) uses a combination of machine learning and conditions to maximize ad exposure and spending so marketers achieve the best possible ROI. This media-buying strategy uses a demand-side platform (DSP) to control much of the delivery process, creating a more efficient way to buy, manage, and deliver ads because everything runs through one platform.

Though there are variations on this buying format, programmatic offers marketers more control over how and when ads are displayed because they can use their own customer insights to optimize campaign parameters. Some of the conditions to set include the location, the time of day, audience demographics, and even the weather. The DSP uses the parameters to determine bids in real time before delivering the ad dynamically.

The Challenges of Using DOOH

DOOH has many positive attributes, but there are a couple of tricky areas to consider — for example, fostering audience engagement. Geolocation helps to make DOOH ads more specific to a region and even a target demographic, but what can you measure beyond the impression? Without direct audience engagement, knowing whether or not you’ve reached your target can be challenging.

Lack of interactivity can also hinder your ability to measure the campaign’s effectiveness, especially if your team’s budget and resources limit access to the most innovative DOOH technologies. This shouldn’t deter marketers from using DOOH; they should simply be prepared to measure campaign performance in different ways.

Targeting, Measurement, and Engagement with DOOH

Advancements in digital signage have made DOOH more measurable than ever before. Intel reports that the right DOOH technologies, “can determine how many people passed the sign, how many people viewed it, and how much time they spent looking at it. In some cases, it can even tell when a customer has walked into a store.” 

Let’s examine how this plays into key marketing components.

Targeting: pDOOH gives marketers the best opportunity to reach exactly the right audience at the ideal time. For example, you can use geotargeting and geofencing parameters to zero in on key audiences and display ads when they’re outside your nearest storefront to increase your chances of conversion.

Measurement: The DSP you choose for pDOOH plays an important role in measurement. In addition to analyzing real-time metrics to assess which screen locations are seeing the most traffic, pDOOH platform Hivestack lists these other possible measurements:

-Impressions served and estimation of views
-Brand awareness, lift or recall (using third-party surveys and partners)
-Footfall traffic and in-store visitation

Engagement: One of the benefits of DOOH: users can’t skip over ads the way they can with mobile ads. This increases the chances of the right audience seeing the ad, but there are other ways to boost engagement. Making the ad interactive — whether that’s through gamification or scanning a QR code — can help to move potential buyers to consideration or conversion, depending on how the ad’s next steps are structured.

When paired with online digital strategies, DOOH advertisements can help marketers reach the right audience both online and offline for a true omnichannel experience.

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