Skip to main content

DOOH Explained


From simple digital kiosks to large 3D anamorphic screens and screens that offer full motion video, digital out-of-home (DOOH) offers advertisers a vast array of options. Though in the US, DOOH advertising comprises only 20% of the available inventory, there are more opportunities abroad in Europe, and the global DOOH market is expected to grow to $14.8 billion in the next 5 years.  DOOH is an effective method of outdoor advertising because it allows a more granular level of targeting parameters, such as displaying an ad for ice cream on a hot day, allows you to keep your messaging fresh by easily swapping out creatives as needed, and for quicker production of campaigns because there is no need to send items out for printing.

What is DOOH and How Does it Work?

DOOH advertising is outdoor advertising that appears on a digital display. It combines traditional Out-of-Home advertising locations with the abilities of Ad Tech to help advertisers reach their audiences based on a number of conditions including location, dayparting, and target audience. It also gives advertisers the ability to more quickly and easily change messaging than traditional OOH. There are typically six to eight slots available on a digital screen. Often one of these slots will be reserved for the supplier to put up important information for the locale. Usually different advertisers will buy the other slots which are played on a loop. Depending on an advertiser's campaign goals, they may want to purchase a larger Share of Voice (SOV). Cases where an advertiser may want 100% SOV on a screen include specific events or big launches and is typically bought in 1 hour to 24 hour roadblocks.

DOOH Screen Types

For the most part, digital screens can appear in all of the same places as traditional OOH screens. However, some areas do not allow digital placements due to city regulations. Digital advertising trends show that inventory is expanding across the globe with new digital screens being installed on the sides of buildings and taking the place of static screens to optimize supplier revenue. Digital signage can be on anything from smaller screens like digital News Kiosks to large digital Billboards. Here are some additional formats that brands can use to leverage DOOH.

  • Digital Billboards - Have your messages seen both day and night on large-format screens. Creative files can be manipulated in production to run crowd-stopping 3D moving images.
  • Digital Street Furniture - With options including digital Bus Shelters and digital Urban Panels, advertisers can provide impact to mass vehicular and pedestrian audiences.  
  • Digital Screens in Shopping Malls, Restaurants, and Airports - Place-Based advertising offers digital screens in a variety of sizes, formats and locations.
  • Digital Mobile Billboards - Custom set routes for video or electronic displays with digital Mobile Billboard trucks.  
  • Digital Rideshare Tops - Affixed to the top of taxis or rideshare vehicles, these screens offer a street-level platform that plays dynamic media. 
  • Gas Pump Advertising Screens - A form of Place-Based advertising, digital screens at gas pumps give audiences something to watch while waiting for their tanks to fill up.

DOOH Can Produce a Higher ROI Than Online Advertising 

Research shows that every dollar spent on OOH advertising generates $5.97 in product sales, a higher ROI than radio, print and digital. In addition to a better ROI, properly targeted DOOH campaigns can also offer increased brand exposure. Why? Many consumers are tired of being constantly bombarded with mobile and other online digital ads. Digital OOH reaches audiences away from their screens and is part of the landscape in the real-world environment, making it more palatable for consumers. Programmatic DOOH advertising allows media buyers to purchase outdoor advertising units by parameters similar to those of digital online advertisers, but without the ability for audiences to block or avoid your messaging.

Programmatic DOOH Advertising

Programmatic Outdoor advertising provides a turnkey way of buying, selling and delivering ads. In programmatic digital Out-of-Home advertising (PDOOH), ad space is sold through real-time bidding networks. Publishers use supply-side platforms (SSP) to display their offerings and sell to advertisers on demand-side platforms (DSP). 

Purchases are made in online auction rooms. PDOOH offers the ability to streamline processes for outdoor advertising. It can increase speed to market with CPM flexibility, provide less rigid contract terms with greater customization, increase short-term control, incorporate live optimizations and behavioral triggers, and geofence to segment audiences and target populations. 

Although PDOOH is a trending topic, it is not always recommended to be the sole driver for complex media campaigns. But it can be an effective complement to other advertising media including traditional OOH inventory. Check out this case study of a programmatic campaign done with Billups to gain insight into how it works. 

Ad Blindness is Real - DOOH Can Help 

As mentioned earlier, people are constantly inundated with advertisements through their smartphones, tablets, televisions and other devices. This causes them to implement ad blockers or stop paying as much attention to what ads they are being exposed to. DOOH breaks through the noise of online marketing channels by offering engaging content in an environment where people are alert and curious. Digital displays can capture that attention, provoke intrigue and generate results. A study entitled “The Moments of Truth” found that consumer brain response was 18% higher when viewing relevant content in DOOH campaigns. This led to a 17% increase in consumers’ spontaneous advertising recall and showed that dynamic DOOH campaigns can deliver a 16% sales uplift.  

How DOOH Can Enhance Your Brand Awareness and Consumer Engagement

DOOH provides many benefits to advertisers, both to those who have leveraged traditional OOH formats in the past and to newer advertisers seeking to expand their marketing channels, engagement and reach. Here are a few of the benefits of adding DOOH advertising to your marketing strategy:

Cost Effective

With DOOH you can purchase inventory per ad spot or if purchasing programmatically you can buy based on the number of impressions. Utilizing technologies such as programmatic DOOH and leveraging the natural automation of DOOH can help you expand the reach of your advertising campaign in the most efficient way possible. Additionally, DOOH can sometimes come at a lower Cost per Thousand (CPM) than other formats.

Increased CTA Responsiveness

DOOH helps your messaging and brand stay top of mind while your audience is out and about and more likely to make a purchase than if they are sitting at home viewing an online ad. It's much easier to respond to a call-to-action when you are already in the place of action.

Hyper-target Your Audience 

Most DOOH allows for specific targeting parameters based on geolocation, audience behaviors, time of day or even local weather conditions. This advanced targeting ability helps you to reach your audiences in a place where they are more receptive to advertising and at a time when they are more likely to take the desired campaign action.

Creative Flexibility 

You can create specific ads for different locations and formats, displaying several messages that follow your customer on both their physical journeys and their growing relationship with your brand. DOOH also allows you to easily swap out creatives to keep your messaging fresh, avoiding creative fatigue, to A/B test creatives and to test audience responsiveness by turning ads on and off. 

Integrate with Your Other Marketing Channels

Digital outdoor advertising works well when combined with other channels. Imagine the impact of someone seeing your advertisement online and then seeing it while out and about during their daily activities. Engaging in an omnichannel marketing strategy provides more touchpoints for you to reach your audience and makes it more likely that your brand will be top of mind when they are ready to make a purchase. Outdoor advertising marketing parameters have advanced to allow you to target the same audiences as on your online channels, and can have a great effect on amplifying your overall message.

Brilliant Examples of DOOH Advertising


Woolmark executed an all DOOH campaign featuring full motion digital video in busy parts of New York, France and London to promote their message of sustainability in fashion - specifically, around issues of synthetic clothing. The video showed the screen filling up with oil, accompanied by the stat that every 25 minutes an olympic-sized pool of oil is used to make synthetic clothing. The oil then drains, and what emerges is a CTA calling for change and a woman standing in a completely changed environment. This campaign leveraged DOOH’s ability to convey a story with a mix of strong visuals and clear copy.


Jollibee cleverly used DOOH to play off the positioning of the physical units themselves. Taking advantage of the video capabilities, the popular food brand played footage of a model grabbing food from a bucket displayed on the screen below it. 

Is DOOH Right for Your Business?

There are many benefits to DOOH, including the lack of install and quick production time. It can also be a great option if you have multiple messages that you want to share with your audience or if you want to swap out creatives mid-campaign. 

However, while there are many scenarios where DOOH can be extremely effective to reach your target audiences, there are also many variables involved with determining the correct formats for your campaign.  If you are seeking 100% SOV, then a static format may be better, or if you have a QR code CTA then a freeway Digital Bulletin would be far less effective than something that was street level.

Additionally, some areas may not offer many DOOH options. There are also markets such as historical districts and certain areas where most outdoor advertising is limited. In these areas you may want to consider other types of OOH such as experiential advertising or hand-painted walls. Digital Mobile Billboards are an option for areas that may lack other digital options.

Getting Started with a DOOH Campaign

Working with an OOH partner can help you understand all the ins and outs of Digital Out-of-Home. At Billups, we create a strategic media plan with the most fitting formats to help you reach your campaign goals. Contact us today to get started on your next DOOH Campaign.