The digital disruption of out-of-home advertising is here. Its transition is evident everywhere. The rise in a shift from static messaging to digital screens within the out-of-home industry is transformational.

Digital out-of-home advertising is now serving up dynamic experiences for consumers, rather than just ads.

The digitization of out-of-home (OOH) advertising

Out-of-home is advertising that targets consumers outside the home, in public spaces. Whether it’s billboards, taxi tops, beach plane tows, or bus and train interiors and exteriors, the options for advertisers are limitless. It’s one of the most effective forms of advertising for a society on the move.

The digital modernization and trend of innovation have boosted the out-of-home advertising market to new levels. Whereas other offline media such as radio and print are decreasing in advertising revenue, the digitizing of the industry has resurrected this medium.

What was once mostly an industry of static billboards and signs has exploded into something more dynamic. Advertisers can now target consumers with pinpoint precision, and have increased opportunities to more accurately reach today’s consumer on the go.

Over half of all out-of-home advertising buys are now digital. Consumers are spending 70 percent of their time outside the home, and are 48 percent more likely to take action with a mobile ad after viewing it via a DOOH screen. And advertisers are taking notice.

What is digital out-of-home Advertising (DOOH)?

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising is vast and found everywhere consumers are. Today’s digital displays are much more flexible, allowing for video and interactivity. This interactivity and flexibility were not possible with traditional outdoor advertising. And that’s just on the surface.

Digital out-of-home advertising features a long list of benefits that overshadow the traditional kind. Gone are the days of printing and installation costs each time a new ad goes up. No more of the same, static ad displayed for weeks or months. Also gone are the long lead times for production. Launching new creative and updating content in DOOH media can now be accomplished in an instant.

In fact, as with online advertising, it allows for multiple digital creatives to be featured, changing within a rotation, making the messages more receptive to consumers. It’s also now able to be bought and sold programmatically. However, unlike online advertising, digital out-of-home advertising is not skippable and unblockable, which is a big boon to advertisers.

Types of digital out-of-home advertising screens:

  • Billboards
  • Retail stores
  • Supermarkets
  • Shopping malls
  • Arenas and stadiums
  • Airports
  • Public transportation
  • Transportation shelters
  • Waiting rooms
  • Bars and restaurants
  • Movie theaters

Programmatic digital out-of-home automation is facilitating buying and selling

Advertisers pay for audiences, and that’s what’s happening with the adoption of programmatic within the DOOH medium. It’s on its way to becoming the new industry standard and has revolutionized the industry in many ways. In basic terms, it’s the selling of DOOH advertising through smart computer software.

Before programmatic DOOH automation, advertisers had to contact and negotiate directly with the media owner. It took valuable time to discuss availability, cost, production, creative specs, and other details well in advance. After the insertion order was authorized, the owner then manually had to schedule the inventory — a cumbersome, tedious, and time-consuming process on both sides.

Programmatic media buying process makes buying DOOH efficient and effective

There are various ways programmatic buying takes place. One is through real-time bidding (RTB). Think of it as an auction for the advertising space. In this case, buyers review available inventory and place bids on inventory they want. They bid an amount they are comfortable paying. In an instant, the winning bidder is notified and can have their advertising shown on the purchased screen instantly. This bidding process is available in open markets as well as private exchanges only accessible by invitation.

Buyers that do not want the hassle of going through the bidding process can also purchase via programmatic direct. This method allows buyers within a programmatic network to guarantee their placement and metric goals, and set visibility parameters while the automated system delivers the advertisements. This form of programmatic buying gives media buyers more buying control. For this benefit, however, the CPM (cost per thousand) for direct buying is usually higher than the bidding process.

Innovative DOOH targeting technology makes for limitless opportunities

DOOH advertising features smart targeting opportunities using triggers that can activate a campaign in an instant. Whether a time of day, a sporting outcome, a weather shift, or anything in between, technology has enabled DOOH advertising to produce data that can trigger a campaign based on a pre-set parameter. This allows for pinpoint targeting and incredibly creative campaigns that were never possible in the past. The result, more relevant campaigns delivered to consumers.

A great example of this, using weather as a trigger, was the Foodora campaign. When the weather was beautiful, it triggered an ad that drove consumers to a nearby eatery. When it rained, the ad served under that trigger encouraged consumers to order delivery service.

Time of day is another highly effective method when used correctly. For example, a high-end auto brand can trigger an ad to be shown to business commuters during commute hours, and only on days where the stock market is rising. Another significant use of triggers is this captivating but straightforward Subway ad, triggered by trains arriving and departing the station.

Fueled by the capabilities of the DOOH technology, creative innovation in the space is beginning to flourish. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, facial recognition, location data, and augmented reality are developing at lightning speeds and giving birth to a variety of DOOH trends.

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    Trends in Digital out-of-home advertising

    Perhaps the most intriguing is mobile location marketing. Advertisers can now use data to personalize their ads by linking them to their mobile phones. In other words, using the location data from consumers, mobile phones allow for more relevant ad placements. The result is higher engagement and consumer action.

    Location marketing has become more efficient now that carriers and providers can sell anonymized information obtained from consumers’ mobiles phone to media owners.

    Media owners can use this location data and package it with additional insights such as weather or game score. This allows media owners to offer demographic information for better targeting across any screen. For example, a media owner of bus stop screens can better localize DOOH advertising content based on location. 

    The data drives the content displayed at each site. For example, a bus stop frequented by businessmen may display a heavier rotation of business-related ads, while one that services students will serve ads geared toward them.

    As data and analytics become more and more prevalent with DOOH, consumers will experience an increasing share of dynamic content. This means real-time product listings, updated pricing, actual arena seating availability, and live video are a few things that are possible now.

    Another trend with a full head of steam is the growth of ad networks and smart cities. New DOOH ad networks are emerging and replacing the one-off media owners. While securing one-time placement in high traffic areas is still possible, ad networks make it much easier to buy inventory in multiple traffic areas at a more cost-efficient rate.

    Smart cities are getting into the network game with their massive public infrastructure and ad ecosystems. The ability to now group their disjointed ad inventory into a network leads to unique opportunities for advertisers.

    The future of DOOH

    Another innovation to look out for with DOOH as the technology evolves is how it works in unison with other media platforms and channels, specifically social media. A study by Talon Outdoor measuring the effectiveness of combining social media and outdoor advertising reported a substantial boost in effectiveness across metrics. Brand awareness, message takeaway, purchase intent, consumer action, and emotional response are all metrics positively impacted by the report.

    The main point is that whether combined with social media or another channel, advertisements work better when used together rather than alone. With programmatic now playing a significant role in DOOH, outdoor media is now much more connected than ever before.

    To tie this all up, DOOH has quickly become an effective medium for digital advertisers. With the growing number of possible integrations and possibilities, look for more and more advertisers to include it in their media plans, even those who have not traditionally used it. Syncing up a fully integrated campaign with the inclusion of DOOH was not possible in the past – now it’s the reality.