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Have you ever noticed digital media playing on a small TV at a petrol station? What about a digital billboard on the side of a bus or a digital directory at a shopping centre? All of these are instances of digital out-of-home (DOOH) media, which are revolutionising the advertising sector with new advancements that seem to come out every day.

For their opinions on the direction that digital out-of-home is taking and what it means for customers and advertisers that engage with the idea in the years to come, we spoke with a number of industry leaders. Let’s get going!

OOH media: What is it?

Let’s first take a step back and define what out-of-home (OOH) media is. Any advertising that reaches customers outside of their homes is known as OOH media, which is also frequently referred to as outdoor media. It is intended to catch people’s attention while they are moving or waiting in places with a lot of dwell time (think waiting rooms, airport terminals, or subway platforms).

Billboards and other print advertisements used to be the mainstays of OOH media, but new inventory is being added every day, expanding the reach of outdoor advertising. In addition to the conventional billboard settings, such as bus stops, gas stations, airports, mall kiosks, subway platforms, and even the sides of buses or cars, it now also contains dynamic material on digital screens. OOH media opportunities may essentially be found anyplace customers can engage with branded content in public.

How does DOOH media vary from conventional OOH, and what is it?

So what makes DOOH unique? Digital out-of-home advertising’s “digital” component is essential. As video content gains popularity in marketing plans of companies all over the world (and for good reason), DOOH enables pairing the dynamic, possibly interactive character of video with the ever-present, ever-present nature of OOH media.

It’s a pairing made in heaven for marketers. Consumers who spend time in outdoor areas frequently are forced to consume the content that is being offered to them. Billboards don’t have a “close ad” or “fast-forward” button, therefore OOH media is completely viewable. The ability of dynamic content to draw in viewers is another factor that can help you achieve success in the form of really high engagement.

Given that Statista predicts that DOOH spending will increase from $6.7 billion in 2019 to $15.9 billion in 2027, keeping up with industry development and innovations will become more and more crucial.

What are the benefits of OOH media for marketers?

Digitally-enabled OOH media makes use of location-based data to identify the audiences who can see the advertisement. Customers that opt-in agree to share their location data with data providers whenever they download an app that requests location information, for instance. The information can then be used by advertising to comprehend the consumer travel patterns and areas where they spend time.

Even though there is no guarantee that someone in a specific area really watched the ad in question, this is also how OOH ad viewership is assessed. If your ultimate objective is to attract people to a certain location, such as a shop, this location data can then be utilised to evaluate the performance of the advertisement.

Ad-tech businesses can also use mobile IDs that can be translated into IP addresses to connect this location data with internet viewers. Retargeting customers is an additional choice thanks to geofencing, which enables marketers to target people nearby and show them more ads.

Where is the OOH sector headed?

When it comes to utilising more recent DOOH capabilities, several businesses are at the forefront of OOH innovation.

Barry Frey, President and CEO of DPAA, explains how digital is displacing OOH in the following ways:

“All forms of advertising have their proper time and place, but just as digital advertising has propelled the entire ad business forward, so will OOH. When available, consumers and advertisers prefer video and always will. The name of our annual conference is “The DPAA Video Everywhere Summit” for this reason. Today, video is present everywhere, even outside the home.

However, industry insiders are keen to note that, in terms of DOOH advertising, the LA and NY markets are very different from the rest of the nation. These two locations serve as models for what DOOH media may accomplish because to their high customer density and crowded outdoor areas.

As a result, the LA and NY markets are heavily represented in the innovation examples we provide in this essay. The potential return is less extreme in areas with lesser populations and less emphasis on digital creativity, thus it’s unlikely that the same level of invention will be instantly implemented in mass elsewhere.

But DOOH isn’t just limited to the expansive, densely packed outdoor spaces that you may picture in cities like LA and NY. On displays like those seen in gyms, rideshare vehicles, restaurants, or other common places, it still runs and thrives in markets across the nation.

Let’s examine some of the more recent features that DOOH makes available while keeping it in mind.

Ads That Rotate in the Same Place

One significant difference between DOOH and OOH is that because DOOH screens may rotate between a variety of alternatives, the same physical space can now accommodate more than one advertisement at a time. The implication is that as the supply of advertisers grows without further infrastructure expenditure, revenue grows as well.

This is significant since the production of new assets is governed by laws in many places. For instance, in some cities, new digital billboards cannot be installed until old billboards have been removed. The new digital billboard can accept numerous sponsors as opposed to just one as a result of this trade, therefore the overall outcome is advantageous.

Programmatic DOOH

Programmatic DOOH is a concept that enables media buyers to create a list of requirements for the target market of a specific advertisement, such as the time of day or the weather, for example. The purchase transaction is automatically carried out when certain conditions are satisfied, and the advertisement is shown on screen.

Frey offers the following assessment on the significance of this ability:

“There is no doubt that out-of-home growth is evolving and speeding up. We are witnessing a paradigm shift as a result of advertisers spending more money and society going digital. Digital commercials now change depending on the time, temperature, audience, relevancy, and other aspects, as opposed to the past when consumers and advertisers interacted with out-of-home ads that remained on billboards or buildings for a month or more.

Organizations that take the effort to comprehend the programmatic environment and how it affects their business models will soon have an advantage over the competition because, according to PwC, education is the area’s biggest issue.

Installations of Lighting Near Billboards

With light installations to complement four of its digital billboards, WOW Media is setting the standard for outdoor advertising technology. The new technology was introduced by the corporation in December 2019 near the 405 highway in Los Angeles. The following details about the thinking behind the choice are shared in the news release announcing the project:

“The four bulletins can be synchronised with the artwork on the boards itself to produce an outdoor visual experience that has never been seen before in the outdoor advertising sector. The lights can be used to complement the aesthetic direction of each unique advertisement by showing primary colours.

The image below shows this sync and how the lighting aspects can enhance the current creative.

The coordinated lighting has advantages for regulation in addition to its aesthetic appeal. The size of billboards that are visible from the motorway is restricted by law to 1200 square feet, however the size of the light installations is not taken into account. As a result, the advertisement appears considerably larger than the actual billboard, grabbing more attention.

Digital Billboards in Motion

Full-motion digital billboards are another advancement made by WOW Media. The company owns 10 14′ x 48′ billboards that are equipped with full-motion and are situated along popular transit routes leading to the Forum and LAX airport (an LA entertainment venue). As you can see in the video below, these are also altering the opportunities for creating digital content in outdoor settings.

The film industry stands to gain the most from the full-motion idea because studios already have dynamic, personalised content available for these kinds of settings. Who can benefit from the full-motion shift, however, actually has no restrictions. Brands and agencies are embracing the idea and developing campaigns especially for full-motion DOOH, so this is not only a chance for the movie sector.

According to Scott Krantz, the founder and CEO of WOW Media, Inc., the full-motion development is as follows:

“Full-motion DOOH is the future, in our opinion. Newspapers are extinct, network television is in decline, web advertising impressions are dubious, and more and more advertisers are turning their budgets to DOOH, particularly full motion. It simply makes logical that full motion is the next frontier because the world is not static.

Across-Space Synchronization

The ability to sync the creative for an enhanced effect is also made possible by the presence of many digital screens in a certain setting. An illustration of that idea by JCDecaux for the DePaul University basketball team may be seen in the video down below. The basketball appears to smash through each of the campaign’s four consecutive screens, which are placed down a sidewalk, until being captured by a hand on the fourth slot. Because the creative is in sync across the several screens, the overall effect is attention-grabbing, immersive, and tells an unified tale.

Since the coordination between the many screens can be completely adjusted for the precise location and audience experience that is taking place, this notion will probably dominate DOOH advertising in the future.

How does this affect marketers?

According to Rick Robinson, Chief Strategy Officer for outdoor advertising agency Billups, advertisers are “students of the new environment.” They must be aware of opportunities, what is and is not effective for their brands and those of others, and what that can imply for the upcoming creative iteration.

They are undoubtedly realising that they cannot simply adapt creative that was created for mobile, online, or TV to the DOOH environment. Understanding the specifications and best practises of digital billboards in comparison to other channels is crucial, as is adapting the creative to the specific area and the customers who will interact with it. Businesses who try to use DOOH media in a one-size-fits-all manner are likely to find that their efforts are unsuccessful in the long run.

For consumers, what does this mean?

OOH message is no longer solely for commercial purposes, which is greatly advantageous to consumers. When sharing weather information on outdoor billboards or the arrival timings of the upcoming trains on a transit platform, digital screens can be employed as useful tools.

We’re educating people about the potential of these screens, according to Robinson. The relationship between the general public and out-of-home media, as well as what it means to occupy that space, are fundamentally shifting as a result of the rise of the digital footprint.

The cultural impact of OOH media is heavily reliant on this idea. The range of contacts between communities and OOH spaces is changing as a result of digital interactions made available by DOOH. People are learning to expect the non-commercial, utility-based information that screens may deliver in addition to advertising, and the medium is increasingly crucial for reasons other than advertising.

In agreement, Frey says that “Municipalities will all profit, as will customers who are receiving more relevant and valuable messaging, as digital screens permit the broadcast of video and other useful, educational, and amusing content.”


Many people believe that DOOH is transforming the advertising environment for the better. Brands will continue to seriously experiment in the coming months and years to learn what they are capable of in this brand-new market. Customers will also benefit from this, interacting with their environment in ways that are intended to both inform and entertain at the same time. The future of the business will only become clear with time, but one thing is for certain: DOOH is here to stay.

Jake Yates

Jake is a marketing manager from Boston, MA with a passion for design, digital advertising, and IT writing.

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