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December 18, 2019

Is Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Right for Your Brand?

What if your brand messaging could reach people in America where they spend approximately 70% of their time — outside of their homes?
Is Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Right for Your Brand?

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising makes it easy. This type of advertising, displayed on screens, can show up in so many different locations, from gas station pumps to mall kiosks, to billboards along the highway. The idea is to channel messages to consumers when they are in public places and are possibly closer to purchase decisions, whether they are commuting to work or visiting commercial locations.

The short version

Six benefits of DOOH make it an obvious marketing platform for brands.

  1. It’s nearly unavoidable content for large audiences. The beauty of it: Consumers are unable to turn off, block or skip ads in this category. That means your messaging can be placed almost constantly in the face of consumers outside of their homes.
  2. The point of entry for this ad experience is low. Realistically, consumers don’t have to take any action beyond noticing the ad that is being served to them.
  3. DOOH is in a nearly constant state of change — the hardware it’s served on gets populated by updated ads from a variety of brands. This translates to more revenue for vendors, and lower costs to advertisers.
  4. As a brand, if you’re already working in partnership with a marketing agency, DOOH can work in tandem with other paid media efforts to create a lasting impact.
  5. DOOH platforms offer dynamic and animated capabilities, to catch attention frequently and fast.
  6. With DOOH, customers can quickly place a media buy. Because their creative can be interchanged with other advertisers, they simply need to provide that digital creative and the ad can launch.

Want to get started with digital out-of-home advertising for your brand messaging now? Let’s chat.

Need a little more consideration time? Keep reading. As part of our agency’s Innovation Initiative, I joined a team of strategists to take a closer look. (Previously, we explored augmented reality apps and gesture-based technology.)

How has DOOH grown in use?

DOOH has already increased by 35% in the last nine years, and it’s expected to rise above traditional outdoor ad spending by the time 2020 rolls around. Specifically, we can anticipate seeing a 10.1% annual growth in global DOOH advertising spending until 2021.

And why is it continuing to grow? It’s driving results. Grouped in with the broader category of out of home advertising (OOH), it shows strong potential. Studies show that OOH has prompted a 15% increase in mobile click-through rates, as well as a 46% search-engine-usage rate in response to viewing an OOH ad.

How is it showing up?

In terms of placement, DOOH ads most often appear in large format or as digital place-based media. The large-format ads are seen by large, varied audiences, such as from the highway or by pedestrians at street level. This year, about 8,800 digital billboards were reported in the U.S. out of about 342,300 total billboards.

Digital place-based media refers to digital displays in destination locations, such as a theme park, mall or gym. Place-based media is the most common form of DOOH, since the locations offer contextual relevance for the messaging of each ad. Think about shopping at the mall at lunchtime, and seeing an ad for a giant, bright food court salad via a kiosk screen. You just might get hungrier — and hooked.

As for hardware, flat-panel monitors, direct view LED displays and projectors can all get the job done.

What are the challenges of DOOH ads?

Just as there’s no way for passersby to always avoid seeing a DOOH ad, it’s difficult for brands to know if consumers have seen their ad (unless facial-recognition technology is involved, but that’s a topic for another day). It’s tough to mirror online marketing techniques that allow for targeting and advanced attribution through cookies and device IDs on personal devices, as DOOH ads are served on one-to-many mediums. However, marketers are making progress in providing estimates based on consumer actions, such as through data from ticket sales at events, IR sensors at building entryways and mobile location data.

DOOH KPIs to consider include: web visitation rate (such as through a campaign-specific landing page), conversion rate, web visitation lift over a control group, and conversions lift over a control group. Third-party studies are available for brands to use as well, such as brand lift, foot traffic and sales lift.

Creative is another challenge. Since there has yet to be marketplace standardization, different media owners take different approaches to the ad creation and accept varying creative formats. Media owners also vet creative to ensure legal standards are met.

What does DOOH advertising cost?

DOOH ads can be purchased either directly (the most common form) or programmatically (which factors in environmental triggers and more effective targeting tactics). And the pricing on DOOH ads varies across platforms and markets. For example, a digital billboard that might be $2,100-$3,500 a month in Cedar Rapids, IA could cost $3,000-$7,500 a month in Phoenix, AZ.

But the details to keep in mind are that content is more dynamic and flexible on digital billboards and digital ads; it can be easily changed and updated.

So, should your brand try it?

Bottom line: If you want to reach mass audiences where they are (out of the house) with your messaging, and use dynamic, easy-to-update ads to captivate relevant attention, it’s time to take DOOH advertising for a spin.

Ready to consider? Contact us.

Main photo courtesy of Oast House Archive; license: Minimally edited.