What Is DOOH Advertising and How to Use It?
Ads are everywhere. You see them on your devices, at home, or on your way to work. And if you look them up from your phone, you will see them around you, on billboards, on TV, on the side of an article you’re reading, be it online or in a real-life newspaper.
And even if you set up an ad blocker or purchase premium subscriptions for YouTube and Spotify, chances are ads will make their way to you. Or better said, advertisers will. And that’s because no business can live and evolve without finding smart and effective ways of engaging new customers and making them loyal. This is why global advertising spending reached almost $723 billion in 2021 and is projected to surpass $780 billion in 2022.
Regarding OOH (Out-of-Home) advertising, things are pretty straightforward: nobody can live without ever leaving their house, at least for a short period. Maybe they get out to meet with friends, go shopping or just get some fresh air, but all these activities lead to a person entering the outdoor space. And in the outdoor ads’ case, there is no ad blocker nor a premium, ad-free subscription. They will at least notice, if not engage with OOH ads.
And when marketers took the power of OOH and combined it with the so-evolved digital advertising industry, magic happened. It is called DOOH (Digital-Out-of-Home) advertising, and this article will talk about what it is and how it works.
What is OOH (Out-Of-Home) Advertising?
OOH (Out-of-Home) advertising may be one of the oldest methods marketers have ever used. It is a form of advertising used in the outdoor space and includes billboards, posters, and taxis, all the way to kiosks or street furniture. Usually, almost any ad you see outside of your house may be a type of OOH advertising.
Out-of-home ads have been used ever since the 15th century when Johannes Gutenberg created movable type printing. This way, handbills made their way into those times as one of the first forms of OOH advertising.
Transitioning into DOOH
Time passed, and technology evolved in a way few people were expecting. The advertising industry began using more technological features to create campaigns and reach customers more efficiently. When the digital era changed various processes across almost all industries, marketing and advertising were not left behind. This way, DOOH (Digital-Out-of-Home) advertising was developed.
What is DOOH (Digital-Out-Of-Home) Advertising?
Digital-out-of-home (DOOH) advertising acts like OOH, but it offers several advantages of the technology used for online advertising. For instance, with DOOH, marketers can target specific users and check traffic data while using a more cost-effective advertising method.
Simply put, DOOH takes forms similar to OOH (e.g., billboards), but the main difference between the two is that DOOH is created with the help of digital elements, such as digital screens. Furthermore, DOOH ads can be interactive and adapt to users’ reactions.
Over the past few years, digital-out-of-home advertising has gained surprising popularity, considering that the DOOH market size reached $6.8 billion in 2021. And it is no wonder why since advertisers can play with so many features to create stunning and engaging campaigns. The visuals can change according to how users react to them or even based on a specific event or the weather. How cool is it to wait for a bus on a hot day and to see a digital screen displaying an ad about a cold, icy drink?
Types of DOOH
Among all forms of digital-out-of-home advertising, some have proven highly effective for users worldwide.
Large format may be one of the most popular dooh advertising types. It includes billboards, such as those displayed in big, open spaces (e.g., Times Square), and urban panels, such as bus shelters. The main benefit of large-format ads is that they are extremely visible, regardless of how a person moves (by car, bus, foot, etc.).
Large-format media is an excellent choice for brands that want to create a buzz around a specific product and aim to reach customers while they are moving. Large-format ads are great for an awareness campaign, and the amazing fact about them is that the displays can change visuals every few seconds.
Billboards indeed help a brand raise awareness. However, place-based media helps businesses engage with customers in public spaces like malls, gyms, gas stations, or taxis. Place-based ads are perfect when marketers want to catch consumers’ attention while performing daily activities.
For instance, a screen placed in a gym may show ads about sportswear, food supplements, or an isotonic drink that experts recommend being consumed post-workout.
Furthermore, when it comes to grocery shopping, place-based ads can be placed near cashiers, thus influencing some last-minute buying decisions.
Another type of DOOH advertising that works great for some brands’ campaigns is point-of-purchase. This ad format will be seen in supermarkets and stores in some specific locations.
However, while place-based ads can be found close to cashiers, point-of-purchase screens will be placed inside a store, according to the aisles. For instance, if somebody wants to place an ad about a wine brand, the screen will be in the “alcoholic drinks” aisle.
This type of DOOH advertising helps marketers influence consumers’ purchasing decisions while in the store, thus becoming increasingly relevant.
Benefits of using DOOH
It is not a surprise that DOOH advertising has many great benefits. The fact that the old out-of-home practices have been added digital features could not come with downsides only, as the digital era has improved many processes across various industries.
Digital-out-of-home advertising allows marketers to target users more precisely. The magic that DOOH can make for advertisers is that ads can be programmed to engage consumers with the right message at the right time. The main reason is that screens can display various messages or visuals depending on movement patterns or consumer behavior, thus offering a more relevant experience.
Furthermore, targeting can base on geofence, weather conditions, audience concentration, or proximity to a point of interest.
The ability to customize targeting may be one of the biggest advantages of digital-out-of-home advertising. This way, marketers can deliver an ad to consumers who are most likely to be interested in a brand’s products.
DOOH allows advertisers to easily access data about their campaigns, as it works with programmatic ads. Furthermore, visuals and CTAs can change based on data-driven decisions. For instance, a DOOH ad can adapt to the audience by consulting real-time metrics.
Out-of-home advertising helped businesses engage customers based on a static ad. DOOH, on the other hand, has a remarkable advantage regarding how it acquires new customers. Digital-out-of-home ads benefit from personalized advertising, meaning they can become more relevant to consumers by using insights and data about their behavior and interests.
Higher engagement opportunities
The fact that 62% of consumers notice digital billboards could not be left behind. And this surprising percentage comes from the fact that DOOH allows advertisers to adapt their campaigns to have a higher engagement rate.
One significant advantage of digital-out-of-home advertising is that it provides multiple engagement opportunities, thanks to its digital features. Ads can change based on recent events, thus acquiring customers with more relevant elements.
DOOH allows marketers to use first-party data to improve their campaigns and gain customers. For instance, first-party data can help brands place their ads in a location more popular to consumers interested in its products.
Measuring DOOH campaigns
We have already talked about how beneficial DOOH campaigns for brands are all around the world. They have significant advantages, allowing businesses to raise awareness and increase the number of customers by setting up customized ads.
However, building a DOOH campaign should not be the last step of your strategy. You also need to know if your ads worked. Thus, how can you measure a DOOH campaign, and are there any limitations in this process?
DOOH provides many digital features that can help advertisers measure the results of a campaign.
For example, marketers can base a part of their results on sensor technology and get estimated foot traffic impressions in real time. Furthermore, a brand can use location intelligence technology to track the mobile IDs exposed to the specific media and then complete an action regarding the brand, whether online or offline.
Advertisers can also measure their campaign’s results through other channels, including Google Analytics. For instance, they can add a QR code to their ad and check the insights regarding page visits for that specific link. Furthermore, they can also create an SMS offer, thus encouraging consumers to text them and get a reply containing a link or a promotional code.
Difficulties and Limitations
DOOH advertising comes with significant advantages, for sure. However, this new advertising method has some downsides, too.
For example, one of the advertisers’ biggest challenges is comparing results from various providers. Because digital-out-of-home advertising is a pretty recent practice, it does not have standard metrics yet. The different ways of measuring impressions lead advertisers into uncertainty.
Moreover, DOOH advertising is still harder to measure than online campaigns. This leads to difficulty in comparing prices for DOOH and digital impressions. The results are still quite indicative, as many consumers pass by a DOOH ad, but not all will engage with it. And even if technology has remarkably evolved, it still cannot provide an exact number for DOOH impressions.
Integrating DOOH into your marketing campaigns
Over time, OOH has been considered an advertising method suitable for big brands only. However, it is not precisely correct. And this applies to DOOH, too.
Digital-out-of-home advertising helps businesses raise awareness around their products through a highly visible method. Billboards, bus shelters, or screens in grocery stores are visible to a significant number of consumers, and the fact that ads can change based on behavior and real-time events can help brands become more relevant to potential customers.
Furthermore, DOOH has seen increased popularity in the post-pandemic market. People tend to get out more, and according to oaaa.org (Out of Home Advertising Association of America), 40% of consumers have been walking more since the pandemic hit. Thus, DOOH is as visible as possible.
Regarding pricing, DOOH has a smaller ad spend than online advertising. For instance, Alfi, an AI company, runs on a CPM (Cost per Mile) model, and its advertising rate stands between $1.50 and $5.21. As a comparison, Facebook’s average CPM goes over $7.
There are other pricing models for DOOH advertising, including campaign-based pricing, where advertisers set a specific goal, such as a certain number of impressions.
DOOH is still a new advertising method, but brands did not hesitate to make the best out of its digital features to create interactive campaigns for their potential customers.
Digital 3D Billboards
Digital 3D billboards are extraordinarily detailed and catch everyone’s attention with their visuals. They can acquire new customers through videos that seem to get out of the screen and amaze each person that passes the ad.
Weather-based ads are a great example of campaigns that adapt to real-time changes. Like the example we discussed earlier, an ad displaying a cold drink on a sunny day or a hot one on a cold, rainy day can increase sales based on the current weather. Take McDonald’s campaign, for example. They aimed to promote cold drinks on the McCafé Iced menu through a weather reactive DOOH campaign.
Google has built an excellent campaign using real-time data, such as temperature, weather, time of the day, or cultural events. They managed to recommend lots of places, products, and events by creating hundreds of variants in over 400 locations that helped them engage with their audience from the United Kingdom.
Interactive ads are beneficial when aiming to engage with consumers, as people are easily attracted to customized campaigns. For instance, GMC created a DOOH campaign by using responsive facial recognition. The screens displayed a man next to a GMC SUV that interacted with consumers based on their reactions.
Nescafe is another excellent example of interactive ads. They created a game in a Shanghai metro station to promote their new Cold Brew products. Users could move in front of the screen to catch drops in a Nescafe bottle, then being able to get a Cold Brew bottle if they filled the bottle in 30 seconds.
The Future of DOOH
Just as technology is evolving faster than we have ever imagined, DOOH is doing the same, using many digital features to display campaigns that will engage as many consumers as possible.
For sure, DOOH will become increasingly popular in the near future, and with the help of AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), and other technologies, marketers will find it even easier to create DOOH campaigns.
DOOH also aims to provide greater integration with other media and channels and new ways of tracking results and delivering more accurate insights on various campaigns.
DOOH (digital-out-of-home) advertising uses the practices already developed in OOH (out-of-home) to provide an advertising method that helps marketers create engaging campaigns through many digital features.
Some of the most significant benefits of DOOH are customized targeting, the ability to use programmatic and personalized advertising, and the fact that it provides higher engagement opportunities.
DOOH has proved to be a more cost-effective advertising method, its advertising rate being lower than Facebook’s, for example.
There are lots of improvements that need to be made regarding DOOH, but with the help of well-developed technologies such as AI and ML, digital-out-of-home advertising will become a great part of both big and smaller brands’ marketing strategies.