What You Should Know About Digital Out-of-Home Advertising

Today, vibrant, animated screens are the norm, as consumers spend more and more time on their devices. So, when it comes to advertising out-of-home, there is an obvious opportunity to change how you’re delivering your messaging to potential customers.

When we talk about digital advertising, the focus is typically on web or social media advertisements. However, there’s an addressable digital advertising channel that’s seen significant growth over the past few years: Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising, using outdoor media and digital displays to run targeted, dynamic advertisements. 

You’ve probably seen DOOH at a commercial center in your town or perhaps at the airport or a mall. These typically include billboards, wallscapes, posters, and public transport. 

As people have emerged from pandemic restrictions with an increased appetite for experiences outside the home and travel, DOOH has seen significant growth since 2020. In the U.S. alone, DOOH advertising spending was estimated to be around $2.64 billion in 2022. By 2024, that’s projected to exceed $3 billion.

Digital Out-of-Home Advertising as a Marketing Channel

For advertisers, DOOH brings a different set of challenges collectively and individually. Since nearly everyone has access to the internet, there are virtually endless opportunities for people to connect and reach their preferred audience.

But a significant challenge for advertisers, especially in the digital space, is to counter ad avoidance. As ad saturation grows, so does ad fatigue among audiences. Many users now block or skip digital ads, creating a negative impact on the ROI of ad campaigns.

DOOH advertising is a channel that can help with these challenges. Whether you’re marketing a small startup or an enterprise-level corporation, DOOH can enable you to strategically reach a large, targeted audience with a single buy.

Digital Out-of-Home Advertising and its Influence

DOOH advertising can be more influential and impactful than traditional out of home advertisements. First of all, it allows brands to be a lot more creative and engage their audience with animated, dynamic content. Creative can be changed and updated, it can respond to locations or time of day, and screens – naturally – demand our attention far more than a static traditional out-of-home placement.

Digital displays can be used in a variety of places and venues. Brands can secure placements in private buildings to display digital ads, on public transit, on top of city cabs, in airports, and more. This flexibility allows them to target the kind of audience they want to target in the context they want to reach them, just as they would if the ad was running on other programmatic channels.

As a result, brands can propagate their creativity and target their audience more effectively. 

Additionally, user-generated content can be incorporated as an enticing element of DOOH. When users share their experience with products and services, brands can use that content to create more engaging campaigns that relate more accurately to potential customers.

Notably, visual user-generated content has the highest impact on purchasing decisions for users. This is understandable because people are more likely to consider a user’s opinion compared to what the brand claims in its photo or video advertising.

The ability to use different types of content, in engaging formats, at specific locations are all factors that make the impact of DOOH advertising substantially significant.

The Benefits of Digital Out-of-Home Advertising

DOOH advertising has several benefits and it’s a clear winner if you compare it with static or traditional out-of-home advertising.

While this channel has many advantages, the following are the most prominent ones that business owners should look out for.

Cost-Effective Approach for Advertisers With Smaller Budgets

A successful ad campaign is the one that provides the best ROI. But what if you can cut down the cost of advertising itself? That’s one way to ensure a better ROI. When you work with digital displays in DOOH, you can buy the same space and share it with other brands. You’re not investing in dedicated billboards and static screens.

So, digital media owners rent ad space in the form of specific run time for the ads. They can rotate multiple ads for different brands and optimize their revenue. Since this revenue comes from multiple sources, it helps marketers reduce their advertising costs.

Further, when paying for digital ads, you don’t have to worry about printing costs and can spend more on media. A key cost-saving advantage of DOOH is that you can dynamically change your creative content according to the outdoor situation.

For instance, if you have an ad space in an airport, you can change the ad content according to flight arrivals to target a more specific customer base.

Also, since the inception of programmatic DOOH, brands can automatically buy the best available ad spaces, based on in-depth historical performance and audience data.

This reduces time and manual effort in searching for suitable ad space. Programmatic buying also helps you optimize your budget and can save considerably on your media spend. Because of this, programmatic technology is consistently growing as the preferred way to approach digital advertising today.

Ability to Create Personalized Advertising Messages

Like most digital marketing channels, DOOH is most effective when user data is correctly leveraged. When brands use that data with the latest adtech tools, such as AI audience modeling, they can easily recognize and design personalized content for their ideal audience.

Since personalized advertising is key to brand success, DOOH advertising sees significantly improved performance when it’s properly integrated with AI tools.

Brands can even aggregate user-generated content through AI tool integration, allowing everyday users to become part of the ad campaigns – while vetting for brand safety, of course. Many brands use these tactics to record consumers’ brand experiences. This way, they can tailor the future customer experience more accurately and enhance user engagement. 

Moreover, some AI technology can feed off information such as facial recognition, facial expressions, image pattern recognition, etc. So, when digital devices can record these parameters, they can provide that data to the advertiser to help measure engagement and response to creative, helping to inform future campaigns for better long-term results.

Simply put, DOOH advertising gives you a unique opportunity to display targeted, personalized ads to an offline audience.

Place-Based Media Allows You to Reach Specific Audiences in Public Spaces

Digital displays help brands reach their audience without needing human help. Generally, these displays are present in heavy foot-traffic regions. Think of Times Square, for instance.

Now, a digital ad will be enough for you to reach a larger audience in one go. More importantly, when a large group of users engage with the ad content, it becomes increasingly cost-effective for brands and advertising agencies.

The value in a DOOH placement is generally determined by the number of customer impressions. This impression data is generally the most significant parameter in determining what ad space you can buy through a programmatic DOOH approach.

Typical ad space is available for thousands of customer impressions. So, the more spend you have, the larger an audience you can reach because your impression threshold will enable your placement on high-traffic, critical displays.

Digital ad agencies can also use audience analysis tools to understand user engagement – and spread budget more among multiple, lower impression displays that may perform better with the audiences they do reach. For instance, geotargeting can make it possible to only buy placements within a certain radius of a specific landmark, or pair with date and time data to only run near a venue leading up to a specific event, such as a sports game or concert. The key, as with any advertising, is always in knowing your goals, your KPIs, and targeting your audience accurately while retaining adaptability to adjust your strategy and continually optimize results.

It’s also important to remember that this kind of data collection is exempt from stringent privacy regulations in other digital marketing channels.

In most channels, marketers have to keep track of and comply with ever-evolving privacy policies when handling user data. However, those restrictions don’t typically apply to collecting data on out-of-home digital impressions, because DOOH does not collect any private, personal user information. 

Ability to Work With Dynamic Content vs. Static Images

It’s obvious that performance is consistently increased in dynamic, animated or rich media advertising when compared to static creative. While the latter can intrigue a potential buyer into buying a product when done effectively, dynamic advertising can give the customer a more complete overview and interactive experience of a product or a service.

Dynamic content will always have the upper hand against a static rival. For instance, consider video marketing. When brands create killer visual and dynamic content, it consistently engages viewers better than static imagery. 

Moreover, dynamic content can gather a broader range of general impressions. For example, a digital ad may not seem enticing initially, but as the ad proceeds and builds, it may tempt the user to change their mind. The same can’t be said of static image ads.

Clearly, it falls upon creative professionals or agencies to develop engaging content for a digital billboard. So, when designing a dynamic ad, always consider the audience and visual impact while retaining parameters like discount offers and conditional messaging that can be adjusted according to the outdoor conditions.

How Does This Form of Advertising Compare to Static Billboards?

Ultimately, the point of DOOH is to leverage better-performing creative in the right context to the right audience, as catch-all static billboards have become relatively dull and lost their impact. With dynamic abilities and a more engaging format, digital displays are consistently more attractive to audiences than static billboards.

Dynamic DOOH displays are easy to update. On the other hand, if you want to update a static billboard, you may need to update files, or in the case of printed ones, bring down older banners and install new ones. All that leads to increased production costs that may eat into your media budget.

Thanks to the laborious nature of work in static billboards, it’s also not always an option for brands to update their ads during the course of a campaign. You might be tempted to add a new product feature in your ad or adjust messaging, but you can’t always do it, even at an added cost. 

DOOH advertising works on a programmed and automated approach, making it far more flexible to update creative based on performance metrics, to add new services or products, or to adjust messaging – for example, to add urgency as a limited offer’s window is closing. With a few clicks, you can change the ad creative and upload new files in no time. In terms of content updates, DOOH is much more time- and cost-efficient.

Where User-Generated Content Comes Into Play

Branded content will always show you the brightest aspects of a product or a service. However, it only attracts 5% of the typical audience, as compared to 15% of audiences who prefer sourced content. More importantly, more than half of millennials consider user-generated content more trustworthy than branded content.

This means that users prefer more organic and honest responses to products or services, from real people. This helps the user see how the brand fits into the lives of others, and imagine how it might similarly fit into their own. As a result, many brands are now eager to feature user-generated content in their marketing campaigns to give their audience a more realistic and relatable view of their offered products.

Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign is a classic example of user-generated content that is both visually engaging and more likely to resonate with an audience.

When users share their experiences and feedback about products, the brands repurpose it and generate ads for their audience leveraging this valuable content. And, given that it’s so easy to update digital ads, it’s very convenient for brands to integrate user-generated content in their DOOH ads.

How to Incorporate This Digital Advertising Method Into Your Strategy

DOOH is an obvious winner among advertising channels in the modern age. So, as more brands expand their reach in the digital advertising landscape, they are more likely to incorporate this method into their strategies.

But how do you go about planning a strategy for a DOOH campaign? Here are a few pointers that will help.

Define the Audience Profile You Want to Target

Targeted and personalized marketing are two significant advantages of DOOH. But when your ad runs in a public place, why is it important to understand your target audience?

Remember that the purpose of your ad is to attract customers. Your customers aren’t necessarily everyone, everywhere – you need to reach the right audience, who are most likely to engage with your advertisement and convert, based on properly gathered and leveraged data. So, when you focus on the audience you’re trying to reach and develop a better understanding of who they are, where they are, and what their behavior and habits look like, it helps you to narrow down your target and determine how they can be reached.

This can influence not only where and when you place your DOOH advertising, but also how the creative and messaging will be developed to resonate with the right people.

Identify Advertising Objectives and Target Goals

Every ad campaign has specific, trackable objectives and goals. Setting these goals upfront will help you track key performance indicators and analyze your ROI on each campaign.

Knowing your goals will help you identify the correct type of content and resources to allocate during the campaign. With a specific ideal outcome in mind, you will be in a better position to analyze the cost per action.

So, keep things organized and focus on the essential parameters.

Identify Strategic Locations to Place Your Display Content

This is a no-brainer because you’re not running your ad everywhere. Once you know your goals and your target audience, it places you in an excellent position to choose the suitable areas for your ads.

Choosing strategic locations for your ads is always dependent on taking a data-informed approach. You can choose the cost per ad-play option, specific screen locations, targeted cities, and types of digital device. But remember that your ad content must align with the preferred region and device type to have a lasting impact.

Utilize Advertising Technology to Create an Engaging Campaign

When you’re ready with the essential information, you can move forward with developing your digital ad campaign. There are various adtech tools to help you determine your approach, both in accessing media and in utilizing your data and targeting your audience.

For instance, AUDIENCEX utilizes a holistic tech stack to solve for all marketing needs, providing omnichannel media access integrated with analytics, data science, audience insights, targeting solutions, and seamless reporting, all managed by expert strategists to ensure improved campaign performances.

Measure Success and Adjust Your Strategy as Needed

When you choose your adtech wisely, you can get access to the essential metrics that dictate your campaign’s success.

With comprehensive analysis tools and the right team to interpret and leverage data and insights, it’s easier to adjust your ad strategy and make necessary changes to your campaigns as you move forward.

How AUDIENCEX Can Help You with Programmatic DOOH

With DOOH advertising, it’s critical to find a suitable ad space that will optimize your budget and make an impact on your ROI. Hence, most advertisers prefer a programmatic approach to buy the best available ad spaces for their specific goals.

At AUDIENCEX, we offer seamless access to the entire digital advertising landscape spanning DOOH, display, CTV, audio, video, search, social and more. We optimize each campaign not only individually with a tailored, data-driven strategy, but consider how it lives within your entire omnichannel approach. With each channel working together to build upon one another, our tech, data, and talent deliver improved performance across every touchpoint.

To find out more about how AUDIENCEX can help your brand or agency achieve meaningfully improved results, schedule your free consultation today.