By the close of 2021, UK ad spend for digital out-of-home (DOOH) is expected to rise by almost half (43.7%) according to the most recent AA/WARC Expenditure Report. As a channel that has been side-lined during eighteen months of on-and-off restrictions on people’s movement, this is excellent news, especially for marketers looking to diversify their media mix. 

The broad category of DOOH, however, confusingly conflates standard digital capabilities with a fast-growing sub-category of DOOH called Programmatic DOOH (pDOOH). pDOOH applies to outdoor media – the same tools, techniques, and technologies programmatic offers to other channels, and enables improved versatility for marketers. As investment increases rapidly in these channels, it’s vital for marketers to know the defining characteristics that set pDOOH apart – and how they can utilise it to drive the best outcomes for their campaigns.

Precision planning is a priority 

Media buyers are now accustomed to the dynamic world of digital marketing, which means they expect adaptability when developing their campaigns. They want the ability to be highly selective with their ad placements to eliminate waste, boost efficiency, and maximise media investment.

This is what distinguishes pDOOH. Programmatic trading boosts the efficiency of media buying, enabling marketers to plan their pDOOH campaigns with precision, as well as purchase inventory and make adjustments on an hourly basis. Not only do these benefits make pDOOH placements more accessible to marketers from an affordability perspective, but it also drives targeted reach among specific audience segments. 

Programmatic technology unites movement patterns and location data by aggregating opted-in mobile and first-party IDs, alongside third-party audiences, to give ad buyers valuable insights that can inform their media planning. Fuelled by geo-location data, programmatic capabilities can provide marketers with a map of optimally placed pDOOH inventory, allowing them to make purchases in alignment with desired audience movements.

Amplifying agility and creative capabilities

Peak movements aren’t the only parameter that marketers can use to optimise pDOOH, either. While DOOH brings engaging, customisable visual elements to the channel’s traditionally static ads, pDOOH takes this a step further to empower marketers with stronger creativity and contextual abilities.

It allows ad creative and brand messaging to be enhanced in (near) real-time according to real-world circumstances. From breaking news and events to the time of day or week – and even changes in the weather – marketers can heighten the relevance of their campaigns based on local, national, or global developments. 

For instance, if a business from the travel industry utilises pDOOH as part of its media mix, it can adjust the holiday destinations it advertises depending on updates to the UK government’s red, amber, and green lists for international travel. Introducing times of day or week into the equation, the business can use insights on peak times to reach target audiences when they are in the most receptive mindset, boosting the impact of their campaigns. For example, out-of-home specialist agency Kinetic found a 13% boost in brain response from consumers when they saw an ad about cereal in the morning, while an ad about having a beer on a sunny Friday evening elicited a 33% boost. 

By enabling this level of agility, pDOOH brings the channel up to speed with the digital capabilities marketers are now familiar with, furthering efficiency and engagement as a result of their campaign strategies.

Opening omnichannel opportunities 

With the growing interconnectivity of the ecosystem, marketers now expect the ability to measure performance across all elements of their media mix, both traditional and digital, and identify which ad inventory delivers against campaign objectives. To firmly integrate DOOH as part of an omnichannel campaign, programmatic capabilities allow marketers to monitor the effectiveness of individual ad placements. 

By leveraging a wealth of accurate geo-location data alongside first and third-party signals, pDOOH gives marketers a clearer view of its performance and how it impacts other channels. For example, measurement technologies can use these signals to attribute an uptick in website traffic or in-store footfall to audiences being exposed to a specific pDOOH frames. In doing so, it unites consumer activities in both digital and physical environments. This enables marketers to take a holistic approach to media planning, letting them optimise touchpoints all along the customer journey. 

With insights into pDOOH ad exposure, marketers can strengthen buying strategies to maximise the impact of their digital channels and drive in store traffic. For example, a well-known clothing brand in India found when OOH was combined with mobile in a campaign, it led to a 59% increase in site traffic and twice the number of in store visits.  Marketers can then capitalise on audience interest through other channels, enhance their storytelling capabilities, and smoothly guide consumers along the purchase funnel. 

The breadth and quality of data points utilised by pDOOH offers marketers valuable consumer insights, which feed into strong media planning, more flexible and engaging campaigns, and greater accountability. Marketers can effectively target desired audience segments in the optimal time and place, boosting the relevance of campaigns and achieving business objectives.