Blog | May 10, 2021

Coming to a screen near you: why brands are turning to out-of-home advertising more than ever

The out-of-home industry has grown significantly since its humble origins as circus posters in the early 1800s. This is especially true in the past few years, with the industry seeing a period of exponential innovation and growth.

Actually, OOH is predicted to be the second-fastest growing medium in 2021 and is forecast to rise by more than a fifth (20.2%)

So how has this traditional channel that is nearly two centuries old, outperforming all other traditional marketing mediums like TV and radio? There are three reasons why.

DOOH is more modern than ever

Part of the growth in OOH ad spend is being driven by programmatic digital out-of-home, which is the automated buying, selling, and delivery of digital billboards and posters. 

The new way of transacting has significantly modernized DOOH advertising and has brought the channel much closer to other digital channels, like online and social, in two important ways:

Contextual advertising

Instead of buying a specific time and location of ad space, programmatic buying allows you to bid on digital screens when special conditions are met. 

Even simple triggers, like advertising only at a certain time of day, can significantly impact your campaign ROI. But to add even more context to your campaign, with programmatic you can use more creative triggers like the weather, current traffic, inventory level and more to trigger campaign bidding. 

With some screens, you can even use dynamic creatives to display different versions of your ad given the current context.

Centralized buying

In the past, brands looking to buy ad space from more than one DOOH publisher needed to put significant effort into working closely with each one. But now, using one DSP, you can buy inventory from publishers across the globe in a few clicks.

And buying an omnichannel campaign has also gotten more centralized, as many digital DSPs have started adding DOOH inventory to their availability, meaning you can buy your entire digital campaign in one place.

We already work with 35 DSPs and counting, and this number keeps rising as advertiser demand continues to increase!

More OOH inventory is available

While the actual number of posters and billboards has grown only at a modest rate, the actual amount of inventory available has shown more progress in two ways:

Static to digital

Traditionally,  given the manual labour required to install static posters, OOH ad space was bought in four-week periods. While a play like this is great for a mass awareness campaign and will continue to be an important part of OOH, it provides less flexibility for both buyers and sellers.
With digital, dozens of brands can share the ad loop, In the past five years, the number of digital screens in the US has seen a 43% increase, allowing even more brands to advertise.

Digital to programmatic

As we mentioned above, programmatic has made buying DOOH inventory more accessible than ever, and more publishers are seeing the benefits by the day. Not only does it make their inventory easier to buy, but being available on DSPs also makes their inventory easily accessible to digital media buyers.

Top OOH industry players are collaborating

The OOH industry was siloed from other marketing channels for a very long time, and even within the industry, things were done differently from one company to the next.

Since DOOH began working hard to be part of the programmatic industry, it became clear that some level of collaboration was required.

Industry standardization

One major stumbling block to the uptake of DOOH by media buyers is the fragmentation between OOH companies. Not all programmatic DOOH systems are the same, and figuring out what everything meant was a challenge for buyers.

For instance, ‘retail’ and ‘mall’ have historically been used interchangeably, but what does each really mean?Along with five other leading DOOH tech platforms, we collaborated to bring standardization to DOOH data and help drive programmatic DOOH forward. Together, we created a new set of recommendations for labelling DOOH inventory in programmatic marketplaces based on screen type, audience and environment. These shared standards provide a mutual language for DOOH buyers and sellers, helping to open up new opportunities for all.

Education on programmatic DOOH

As with anything new, there is a tough learning curve. For the DOOH industry, this meant not only publishers learning the ropes, but more importantly, educating media buyers on the benefits of the channel.

Luckily, both private companies and industry associations have worked to create countless resources, webinars, events and more to showcase the strengths of DOOH to modern buyers.
Our Programmatic U video series and certification is just one example of that.

Ready to ride the OOH momentum?

This article highlights the tools that have driven the OOH industry forward in the past few years, but if you’re looking how to drive your campaign forward, check out our first blog post of this series to find out why now is the best time to get started with DOOH.