What is DOOH media?

May 9, 2018Rob Côté

Pay attention to the marketing blogosphere and you’ll likely hear a fair bit about digital out-of-home media, or DOOH media. It’s been called one of the hottest trends in marketing and one of the best mediums for capturing an audience’s attention. If you’re not an industry insider, though, you may be curious about what DOOH actually is.

DOOH: a convenient modern spin on an old idea

Digital out-of-home media, or DOOH media, refers to digital media that appears in environments accessible to the public. This includes digital billboards and outdoor signage, as well as networks of screens found in businesses like malls and healthcare providers.

DOOH is a broad category, so you can find it pretty much everywhere. Head over to the nearest commercial district and you’ll likely find large digital billboards, small digital sign boards and even little TV screens used to serve up content. All of these are examples of DOOH.
Here are a few of the places that often make use of DOOH media:

  • Shopping malls and retail stores
  • Movie theaters and arenas
  • Medical waiting rooms
  • Airports, train stations and bus shelters
  • Beside major roadways

Large digital billboards, examples of DOOH media in a train station
DOOH media can often be found in high traffic areas like train stations

In practice, these displays are mostly like the static billboards and signs that have existed for centuries. However, since digital displays can allow for moving images and interactivity, they are a lot more flexible. Movement also has a much easier time capturing the eye, meaning DOOH has far more potential to make an impact.

High-tech advantages of DOOH media

There are some important advantages to choosing DOOH media over static forms of outdoor advertising.

Reduced management costs

Traditional billboards incur printing and installation costs for each new ad. Displaying fresh content on digital billboards can be automated and done in seconds. There’s more upfront cost to setting up a digital screen, but it’s an investment that more than pays for itself.

More varied content

Digital also allows for a number of different pieces of content to be displayed. With regular billboards, the same static image will stay up for weeks, whereas a digital ad can change every 15 seconds. This variety on the screen keeps viewers interested and more receptive to messaging.

Increased campaign creativity

DOOH is even more impressive when combined with other technologies to produce dynamic content. Pair a display and facial recognition technology and you can match content to the demographics of onlookers. Integrate weather data and you can create campaigns that change content depending on whether it’s sunny or raining. There’s endless opportunity for creativity, context and relevance when DOOH advertising is paired with other sensors and software, much of which could not be possible with static displays.

Detailed playback reporting

Similar to online ads, software used to run DOOH displays can also produce useful reports. This is something which is invaluable to both marketers and network operators. Proof-of-play of content, scheduling reports and incident reports all enable concerned parties to ensure that ad content is being delivered when it is supposed to and to respond to any issues promptly.

In-depth demographics

Finally, DOOH campaigns can also generate amazingly useful viewership analytics. Examples of information might include the total number of people who saw the ads, their age and gender, and when ads were seen by the most people. Advertisers have better understand the impact they are having and whether they are reaching the right audience. Network owners get a sense of the value of their displays, allowing them to price availability accordingly.

Why marketers are so excited about DOOH media

One of the key reasons why DOOH is such a valuable marketing asset is its impressive visibility. Digital displays are often in high-traffic areas, ensuring their content is seen by many people. Further, unlike at-home or online advertising, there is no way for the audience to skip the ad, use an ad-blocker, or change the contents of the screen. This means that when content goes up, it’s going to get its full playthrough and is likely to be noticed.

Research suggests this format is quite effective. A 2015 study by Nielsen found that 75 percent of respondents recalled seeing a digital billboard in the month prior. About 82 percent of those recalled seeing advertising specifically. Even more interesting, the study found that a majority of respondents viewed DOOH favorably. At a time when traditional advertising is often seen as a nuisance, this could make DOOH an even more attractive option.

Want a real-world example of the power of DOOH?
Check out how foodora used DOOH to reach a million viewers in just one month!

Rob Côté
Rob Côté

Demand Generation Manager

Rob has been with the Broadsign marketing team since 2018 and has written more things about OOH than he will ever remember. He also usually rolls very badly while playing D&D.


October 4, 2018

Digital out-of-home and privacy: a primer

November 9, 2018

Everything you need to know about out-of-home advertising

November 1, 2018

Understanding DOOH metrics