All about DOOH: the expert guide to digital OOH

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Petra Lilwo the strategist

Source:, author: Antonis Kazoulis

You know it from your own experience: you walk through a city and OOH formats are lurking around: billboards, citylights, flashing LED screens…Each display competes for your attention and tries to lure your eyes from one performance to the next.

DOOH's smart formats can not only recognize the type of people moving near them, and even change the ad in real time to best suit their interest. Digital Out of Home is shaping the future of how brands interact with consumers.

DOOH is where there is a high concentration of people. And whether you're a marketer looking to increase brand awareness, an advertiser looking to diversify your portfolio, or an advertising enthusiast looking to understand the future of advertising, you've come to the right place.


Where is the place of DOOH in today's media and advertising environment? DOOH has become an important part of any forward-thinking advertising strategy.

Here are a few key reasons:

Hyper-targeting capabilities: the DOOH already allows advertisers to target audiences based on specific geographic areas, times of day, and even weather conditions. This ensures that the message reaches the right audience at the right time.

Seamless integration with mobile and online platforms:One of the most compelling aspects of DOOH is its ability to work in tandem with mobile and online advertising strategies. Through QR codes, hashtags on social media or even augmented reality, DOOH can create an immersive multichannel consumer experience.

Measurability and analytics: unlike traditional out-of-home advertising, DOOH provides a wealth of analytics including impressions, consumer engagement metrics and more. This data-driven approach allows advertisers to continually optimize their campaigns to achieve better ROI.

Flexibility and real-time customisation: with DOOH, you are not tied to one report for an extended period of time. Advertisers can quickly adjust their campaigns in real time, responding to current events, consumer feedback or inventory levels.

Sustainability: digital screens are more environmentally friendly compared to printed billboards. Not only does this resonate well with eco-conscious consumers, but it also offers long-term cost-effectiveness.


DOOH is a modern extension of traditional OOH advertising. While OOH encompasses billboards, mobile displays and other large-format advertisements placed in public spaces, DOOH adds a digital twist to this well-established advertising medium.

Instead of static print advertising, DOOH allows advertisers to display dynamic digital content on electronic screens, often with the ability to change the displayed content in real time. This modern form of advertising is typically implemented on LED billboards, digital signage, kiosks, and even digital bus shelters.


Dynamic content: unlike static billboards, digital screens allow you to change visual elements, videos and even interactive elements.

Real-time updates:Messages can be instantly adjusted based on time, weather or other conditional triggers.

Targeting: geo-targeting and other targeting options can ensure that your ad reaches the most relevant audience.

Data-driven: Modern DOOH platforms often provide analytics and metrics to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.


The transition from traditional OOH to digital is not only a technological innovation, but also a paradigm shift in the way advertising works. Traditional OOH has been around for decades and is one of the oldest forms of advertising. It has relied on the mass reach of large static displays that "capture views" but offer little flexibility or audience targeting.

DOOH, on the other hand, is revolutionising the OOH landscape by introducing elements of digital advertising such as real-time bidding (RTB), programmatic buying and data-driven targeting.

Not only does this make advertising more effective, but it also opens up creative possibilities that were previously impossible or impractical. For example, advertising could change based on the weather, time of day or even current events, making it much more relevant and engaging.



The very essence of DOOH consists of three basic components:

Hardware: This includes the digital screens themselves, whether they are large LED billboards, digital signage in a shopping centre or screens in lifts and taxis.

Software: a comprehensive software platform manages the display, distribution and timing of digital ads. These platforms are increasingly sophisticated and enable programmatic buying and real-time analytics.

Content: last but not least, digital media - be it images, videos or interactive elements - make up the content. It is essential that this content is of high quality, engaging and, where possible, tailored to the audience.


But what is the source of the fascination with DOOH? DOOH is an impressive visual representation of advertising, but its allure goes much further than that. Marketers are intrigued by the potential benefits of this technology.

  1. Highly targeted advertising

Geographic targeting: traditional billboards cannot distinguish between a local resident and a tourist. DOOH allows advertisers to tailor messages based on location data.

Audience segmentation: thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, DOOH platforms can analyse traffic and detect demographics such as age and gender, enabling highly targeted campaigns.

Time-sensitive targeting: allows DOOH to set ads to show at specific times of the day or during specific events to increase the relevance of the message.

By combining these sophisticated targeting capabilities, DOOH can ensure that marketing messages reach the most relevant audiences at the most opportune moments.

2. Real-time analysis and overview

Live dashboards: real-time dashboard analytics allow you to track engagement metrics instantly, allowing you to adjust your campaign on the fly.

Tracking ROI: Advanced tracking features can measure the direct impact of DOOH ads on sales or site traffic, offering a clearer picture of ROI.

Consumer behaviour analytics: advanced analytics tools can provide insights into how consumers interact with ads or whether they engage with the interactive elements of an ad.

The power of real-time analytics cannot be overstated. Instant access to data can provide vital insights that can make campaigns more effective while they are being implemented.

3. Flexibility and scalability

Easy updates: digital creatives can be exchanged in real time, reacting to the market situation or getting feedback from consumers without the advertiser having to bear the cost of printing.

Scalable Campaigns:A single campaign can be effortlessly expanded to multiple cities or demographics with just a few clicks, offering unprecedented reach.

Multimedia capabilities: unlike traditional billboards, DOOH allows the use of video, interactive elements and even augmented reality, giving creatives countless ways to literally play around with campaign messaging and themes.

This flexibility is unparalleled in traditional advertising media and offers a level of flexibility that makes it possible to adapt very quickly to the dynamically changing digital world.

4. Cost-effectiveness

Reduce production costs: no physical materials such as paper or ink are needed, reducing costs and waste.

Programmatic buying: automated buying options allow you to bid for advertising space more efficiently, often reducing overall costs.

Spend optimization: granularity of targeting and analytics ensure that the marketing budget is used as efficiently as possible, again reducing unnecessary ad spend.

In the long run, DOOH can provide a more cost-effective ROI/ROI compared to traditional out-of-home advertising.

5. Greater engagement and interactivity

Interactive elements: touchscreens, QR codes and augmented reality elements can create a two-way dialogue with consumers, increasing engagement/participation rates.

Social media integration:DOOH campaigns can be integrated with social media, encouraging real-time sharing and interaction, thereby organically reinforcing your message.

Visual impact: the sheer scale and vibrancy of digital screens can make advertising more engaging and memorable, especially when enhanced with motion graphics or interactive elements.

Engagement is the currency of modern advertising. DOOH's interactive capabilities allow advertisers to transcend the traditional boundaries of the medium and create a more meaningful connection with consumers.

6. Types of DOOH advertising formats

DOOH has moved far beyond traditional roadside billboards. In today's connected world, DOOH has many formats, each with unique benefits and targeting capabilities:

Billboards and street furniture

Traditional billboards: historically the oldest; still able to fulfil their communication role well, even though they are in decline

LED screens: more dynamic and vibrant, ideal for attracting attention in high-traffic areas.

Street furniture: Bus shelters, kiosks, and benches that provide more localized access to advertising.

Now let's take a look at what the numbers say about the impact of various DOOH ad formats


Hjärtat, Sweden's leading pharmacy chain, has ingeniously used smoke detectors to target anti-smoking advertising directly at Swedish smokers. The mechanism was simple but effective: whenever the smoke detector detected tobacco smoke, it activated a digital display with a coughing person. This approach made the campaign highly relevant and resonant.

Transit advertising

Screens on buses/trains: on public transport where they provide a space to convey the message to the audience.

Screens in taxis: mobile screens on taxis, designed to reach a geographically targeted audience.

Station billboards: strategically placed in high-traffic locations such as train stations or bus stops.

Transit advertising is not limited to static images, but also includes short video clips and animations. The ability to change the advertising message in real time changes the rules of the game, especially during peak hours.

Retail and point of sale (POS)

In-store screens: placed near checkouts or throughout the store to encourage impulse buying.

Interactive kiosks: provide customers with information, often related to the product being promoted.

Digital signage/prices: newer and increasingly popular, allowing real-time price changes.

Retail and POS DOOH formats are particularly effective for supporting instant actions and can even be integrated with mobile technologies. For example, displayed QR codes can lead a shopper to an exclusive online coupon.

Digital signage at events and stadiums

Jumbotrons: massive screens that are typically used to present high-profile advertisements during large events.

LED strips: wrapped around the arena, providing a 360-degree advertising experience.

Interactive displays: Often used at trade shows or exhibitions where attendees can interact directly with the brand.

DOOH plays an important role at stadiums and events as it enhances the user experience while providing significant brand visibility. The key is to create engaging and entertaining content that adds value to the event-goers' experience. Extra Tireda's Sphere in Las Vegas.


DOOHhas delivered some of the most iconic and memorable campaigns over the years. These have not only shown the creative potential of the medium, but have also used technology to interact with audiences in innovative ways. Here are a select few:

Times Square Takeover

Brand: Coca-Cola

Year: stable brand installation

Hit: One of the most iconic digital billboards in New York's Times Square belongs to the Coca-Cola company. The curved screen creates a visual spectacle with real-time content and interactive elements that often celebrate holidays, major events, or social causes.

Reactive weather ads

Brand: British Airways

Year: 2015

Intervention: as part of a marketing move, British Airways installed interactive digital billboards in London's Piccadilly Circus and Chiswick. These screens showed a child pointing upwards whenever a BA flight flew overhead, along with details such as the flight number and its destination. The ingenious combination of live data and audience engagement won the campaign multiple awards.

"Look at me" campaign

Brand: Help for women

Year: 2015

Hit: this emotionally impactful campaign featured images of battered women healing in real time as more people viewed the billboard. Using facial recognition technology, the campaign sought to engage the public in a dialogue about domestic violence and proved that DOOH can also serve as a platform for social change.


Programmatic DOOH is not the future but the present. This innovative technology has significantly disrupted traditional advertising models, making the process more agile, data-driven and measurable.

Unlike manual bookings and one-size-fits-all campaigns, programmatic DOOH brings the power of real-time bidding and targeted messaging to a vast canvas of OOH media.


Programmatic DOOH is the automated buying and selling of digital out-of-home advertising. Using software platforms, it allows advertisers to bid on digital billboard space in real time, similar to how programmatic online advertising works. Key features include:

Real Time Bidding (RTB): advertisers can bid in real time on available digital billboard space based on specific audience criteria.

Audience targeting: uses data analysis to target specific demographic groups, locations or weather conditions.

Flexible scheduling: campaigns can be tailored to run at specific times, making optimal use of budget and maximising ROI.

Performance Measurement: provides advertisers with real-time data analytics to measure the effectiveness of campaigns.


Efficiency: programmatic DOOH eliminates the need for back-and-forth between media buyers and sellers, making the process more efficient.

Cost-effectiveness: real-time bidding often leads to better price optimisation. You pay for exactly what you need.

Granular targeting: Targeting a specific audience based on various factors such as demographics, location, time or even weather conditions.

Greater engagement:Dynamic, real-time content editing means ads can be more engaging and relevant to the viewer.

Measurability: unlike traditional OOH, programmatic DOOH offers detailed analysis to help understand campaign effectiveness.


Although programmatic DOOH is revolutionary, it is not without its challenges. Here are some common obstacles and ways to overcome them:

Privacy Concern: Make sure your campaigns are compliant with local and global data protection regulations / GDPR. Only work with platforms that comply with these laws.

Inventory quality: the "newness" of programmatic DOOH can mean that inventory can sometimes be limited. Explore and choose reliable platforms with premium inventory.

Cost: Although programmatic DOOH may be more cost-effective in the long run, the initial set-up costs can be high. Plan your budget accordingly.

By integrating programmatic DOOH into your advertising strategy, you're not only keeping up with industry advancements - you're also leveraging a highly effective, targeted and measurable medium for your marketing messages.


Founded in 2014 in Germany, Foodora is an online food delivery service that has since expanded to ten other countries.


While Foodora has gained popularity for its delivery service, the pick-up/drop-off feature has remained untouched. The Foodora team wanted to change that perception.

Campaign Goal: Goal: Increase the recognition and use of the foodora pick-up service.

Target demographics: time-pressed business professionals in Germany, existing and potential clients.

In general, the team has found success in conventional digital advertising methods, with a particular focus on online and mobile programmatic display buys. For this particular activity, however, they were ambitious to use an even more creative and targeted strategy.


The company leveraged the Demand-Side Platform (DSP) to integrate digital outdoor displays into its campaign to elevate targeting.

Selected locations: 50 digital screens located in office complexes operated by ECN.Selected cities: Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Hamburg. Campaign messages were adapted based on various dynamic data provided by DSP.

Weather conditions: during rainy weather, delivery promotions were displayed, while sunny weather triggered messages on the pickup service.

Time-specific messages: The campaign varied its focus according to the time of day, emphasizing quick lunches, afternoon snacks or convenient dinners.

Restaurants nearby: Some advertisements were localized and suggested restaurants in the immediate vicinity for pickup.

In addition to the digital screens placed in the company's premises, geolocation data was used to activate complementary online and mobile ads. Anyone in the vicinity of the digital screen received a mobile ad to increase reach and campaign frequency.

With more than 107,000 ad impressions and reaching one million impressions, Foodora's integrated programmatic advertising campaign effectively met its objectives.


Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of DOOH campaigns can be both challenging and rewarding. Unlike traditional OOH advertising, where metrics are often limited to impressions or estimated traffic, DOOH offers the potential for more accurate, data-driven measurement.

The key to a successful DOOH campaign is not just designing compelling visuals, but also understanding your audience, setting the right KPIs, and using the right tools and platforms to measure them. Here's a closer look at these aspects:


When you're trying to evaluate the ROI of a DOOH campaign, your key performance indicators (KPIs) will be your guide. Here are a few KPIs to consider:

Impressions:Indicators:Measure the number of impressions your ad has received. This will give you an initial idea of the impact of your campaign.

Engagement: in addition to impressions, engagement metrics such as dwell time or interaction rates can provide deeper insights into the effectiveness of your creative content.

Conversion rate: ultimately, you want your impressions to convert into sales, leads or other forms of conversion. Track them through QR codes or targeted URLs that you include in your DOOH ads.

Cost Per Engagement (CPE): this metric helps you understand the effectiveness of your campaign in terms of the costs associated with each engagement.

Audience data: modern DOOH platforms can integrate with location data, WiFi analytics and even facial recognition to provide detailed audience demographic data.


A great way to understand DOOH's ROI potential is to examine real-world examples.

To boost sales of Sprite, Seagram's and Fresca brands over the winter period, Coca-Cola collaborated with Volta Media on a DOOH advertising campaign. The effectiveness of the campaign was evaluated based on retail store data in each U.S. location.

The campaign was financially successful and generated $2.51 million in revenue attributable to advertising. In addition, it achieved a return on ad spend (ROAS) that was 56% higher than the average ROAS for all of Coca-Cola's DOOH food and beverage campaigns.

Advertising also attracted new customers, with 8.2% of buyers new to the brands featured and 7.6% new to the product category.


DOOH is poised for significant transformation. Technological advancements, increased mobile engagement and a focus on sustainability are set to redefine marketers' approach to DOOH. Here are 4 key trends shaping the future of this advertising sector.

Integration with mobile devices and web

The boundaries between different advertising media are unclear. One of the most interesting trends in DOOH is its growing integration with mobile and web platforms. How should this manifest itself?

Geo-targeting: DOOH impressions will become smarter and use geo-targeting to show relevant ads based on the viewer's location, synchronised with their mobile device.

Interactive QR codes: the QR codes on DOOH displays will become more sophisticated and offer promotions that can be instantly redeemed via mobile phones.

Data-driven personalisation: integration with web analytics will allow advertisers to show personalised content based on a user's browsing history and preferences.

Cross-platform campaigns: more complex campaigns will be implemented that seamlessly transition from DOOH to mobile and web, creating a consistent brand experience.

Artificial Intelligence and DOOH

Artificial intelligence (AI) will largely drive automation and personalization in DOOH advertising. Major trends in this area include:

Dynamic Content Adaptation:AI algorithms will dynamically change content based on real-time factors such as weather, time of day or even current events.

Audience analytics: AI will provide more accurate analytics on who is viewing ads, including their demographics and behaviour, enabling better ROI calculations.

Programmatic Buying: machine learning algorithms will help auction DOOH ad space in real-time, making the buying process more efficient and customized.

Virtual reality and augmented reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will bring new layers of interaction and engagement to DOOH advertising. Some trends to watch:

Immersive Experiences: brands will use VR to offer fully immersive 360-degree advertising experiences.

Augmented reality filters: DOOH displays can include AR filters that allow consumers to visualise products in the real world through their smartphones.

Interactive demos: both VR and AR can be used for on-site interactive product demos to increase consumer engagement and retention.

Sustainability and eco-friendly displays

As in many other sectors, sustainability is coming to the fore in DOOH. Here's some information on what's on the horizon:

Low power displays: The development and adoption of low-energy displays, perhaps powered by solar energy, will reduce electricity costs and carbon footprint.

Recyclable materials: more retailers will make their displays from recyclable or biodegradable materials.

Sustainability indicators: platforms will offer analyses not only of ROI but also of the environmental impact of the campaign, helping brands to align with green goals.


A successful DOOH campaign is a complex balance of multiple factors, from understanding the target audience to creative strategies, budgeting and ongoing optimization. In this guide, you'll find actionable tips and best practices in each of these areas.

Understanding your target group

Before you even consider running a DOOH campaign, you need to know who you're targeting. Understanding your target audience is the cornerstone upon which your campaign will be built.

Demographic and psychographic data: collect data on the age, gender, location and interests of your target audience. The more specific data you can get, the better.

Consumer behaviour: use existing data or surveys to understand your CS's behaviour: when are they most likely to perceive and see DOOH?

Context: are you targeting travellers or restaurant patrons? Knowing the context can help you create more effective messages.

Remember that DOOH allows for dynamic changes. This means you can change your message based on real-time data, so make sure you're constantly updating your audience persona.


Once you know your target audience, the next step is to create compelling content. Your creative strategy should not only be engaging, but also provide added value for your CS.

Be "simple": and get straight to the point.

High-resolution images and videos: the bigger the screen, the more important the quality of your creative output

Interactive content: if possible, use touch screen features or QR codes to further engage the audience.

Dynamic Creatives: use real-time data to dynamically change creatives. This can be as simple as displaying the current temperature or as complex as updating inventory in real time.


The success of the DOOH campaign is not just about throwing money away, but also about intelligent budget allocation.

Channel selection: different channels have different costs and reach. Decide on the one that aligns with your goals and audience.

Frequency and timing: don't use up the entire budget in the first week. Plan your campaign to run at the optimal time for your audience.

ROI metrics: clearly define the key performance indicators that will determine the success of your campaign and help you adjust your budget as needed.


Ongoing testing and optimization are very important.

A/B testing: create variations of your ad to see what resonates most with your audience.

Real-time analytics: many DOOH platforms provide real-time analytics. Use this data to adjust your campaign as it progresses.

Feedback: from consumers can be a goldmine of information for campaign optimization. Consider conducting surveys or focus groups to gather more qualitative data.


As we approach the conclusion of this comprehensive guide to DOOH, it's essential to understand that it's not just a subset of the advertising world - this medium is evolving right before our eyes.

The beauty of DOOH lies in the combination of classic OOH strategies with advanced digital ad targeting and analytics. It represents a harmonious blend of the physical and digital worlds, providing advertisers with a unique opportunity to connect with consumers.

In an environment increasingly defined by clicks, scrolls and ephemeral content, DOOH offers something both tangible and dynamic, a palette on which the modern marketer can paint their most engaging and compelling campaigns.

Source:, Author: Antonis Kazoulis

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