Programmatic DOOH: The omnichannel X factor

August 12, 2021Catherine Lee

In 2021, digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising is capturing a bigger slice of brand marketing budgets than ever before. But why?

For one, DOOH inventory has become much, much easier to buy programmatically than in the past, with more DSPs including DOOH in their media mix. On the flip side, this increase in demand has made more publishers join the programmatic DOOH revolution, and more screens are being onboarded to SSPs on a daily basis.

In addition, more brand marketers have realized that DOOH offers an attention-grabbing alternative to digital display and social ads, which consumers find easy to ignore and filter out of their attention.

Most importantly, DOOH is delivering measurable performance uplifts for brands when incorporated as an element of omnichannel advertising campaigns.

Recent research suggests that DOOH advertising can: 

  • increase reach by as much as 303% when added to mobile or web messaging (Posterscope); 
  • drive four times more online search and social media activity per ad dollar spent than TV, radio, or print Nielsen
  • make it 46% more likely for consumers to engage with a brand on mobile (Nielsen). 

A buyers’ market

When it comes to accessing programmatic digital OOH inventory, there are two main options for sophisticated digital marketers or digital buyers. 

Firstly, there are bespoke digital OOH DSPs, which provide UI, UX, and workflows dedicated specifically to digital OOH. Alternatively, there are omnichannel DSPs, with workflows that include multiple media formats, powerful targeting, attribution, and identity management. Healthy competition between ad tech providers is helping to drive continuous innovation within the DOOH space. 

Despite this, and perhaps because of the ongoing popularity of traditional OOH media, some media buyers fail to separate out the special capabilities of digital OOH from OOH in general. However, the reality is that DOOH is a digital channel, with the capability to leverage audience data for targeting purposes, and should be factored into your digital media plans. 

There are three key approaches to planning omnichannel experiences when executing a programmatic DOOH campaign. 

Planning and audience discovery 

First is the ‘planning and discovery’ approach. Here, you create personas based on the commonly shared traits of your ideal customers — for example, are they food lovers, parents-to-be, outdoor goers, or sports fanatics? DOOH screens that are more likely to be seen by people matching those personas can then be targeted.  What’s more, you can apply geographic filters such as state, city, and even point-of-interest to further target your ideal audience. 

To add a little context to your campaign, moment targeting can be used to only display your creatives when the moment is right. For example, a sunscreen brand might want to advertise only when the sun is out.

You can also specify venue types such as transit, bus shelters, restaurants, stadiums, and so on, further refining the context of where your ad is shown. Our sunscreen brand, for example, might prefer to have their campaign displayed outdoors rather than in shopping malls or movie theatres. All this filtering enables you to hone in on your audience and apply programmatic audience targeting principles to a ‘traditional’ form of media. 

Retargeting approach

The ‘retargeting’ approach gives you the ability to reach audiences that have been exposed to your programmatic digital OOH ads and retarget them across other addressable formats like mobile, digital audio, and CTV. 

To give this some colour, let’s take Sally as an example. Sally needs some healthy food and, on the way to the grocery store, she’s exposed to your ad on a roadside billboard. Upon entry into the grocery store, she’s also exposed to an in-store digital OOH screen featuring an ad from the same brand. Further, upon returning home, Sally might see an ad from the same brand while watching a show on her streaming platform and be exposed to another ad the following day while playing her fav game. As those of us in digital marketing know, this is no coincidence. The frequency of brand exposures through various engagement points within a short period of time has proven to be very effective in creating memorable brand experiences.

Proximity triggering

The ‘proximity triggering’ approach triggers mobile ads based on mobile device IDs that have opted in and are close to an OOH screen that is part of a campaign. Let’s take Sally again for example. She needs to buy some healthy food and heads to the grocery store. As she’s entering, she sees a beautiful, full-motion DOOH ad. While in the store, Sally decides to also browse the ingredients of a recipe or check the weather on her phone, and an ad is triggered with a complimentary message to the one she saw when she first entered the store.

DOOH prime time

Given the upcoming withdrawal of third-party cookies from many tech providers, contextual advertising with DOOH is taking on a larger role in digital campaign planning.

As a result, digital OOH locations look set to increase in importance as the foundations to planning and audience discovery, retargeting, and proximity marketing. DOOH is no longer a media outlier but rather a crucial component of any digital omnichannel ad campaign. 

Discover the possibilities of our own DOOH channel-specific buying platform by contacting us for a strategy discussion. Alternatively, reach out to us and we can connect you with one of our 35+ omnichannel DSP partners.

Catherine Lee
Catherine Lee

Product Marketing Specialist

Cat has been with the Broadsign team since 2020, specializing in go-to-market strategy, product positioning and messaging, and cross-functional alignment. In her free time, she’s probably building something, caring for an (absurd) amount of plants or playing Zelda.