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Programmatic Digital Out-of-Home: Innovating Your OOH Advertising

Programmatic Digital Out-of-Home: Innovating Your OOH Advertising

The real world isn’t analog anymore — it’s digital.

It’s been well over a decade since the digital evolution of traditional media began. Remember when newspapers began offering ad space like banners and display ads on their online publications because nobody wanted to buy print ads?

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is in the midst of the same transformation. You might think, “We already know about digital out-of-home, that’s not really new.” But it’s time to elevate your thinking beyond the basics of digital display and dive into the tech of tomorrow — which is actually within reach today. Enter programmatic digital out-of-home.

Programmatic digital out-of-home (pDOOH), the automated, data-driven buying and selling of large-format digital screens, is a media trend experiencing significant growth. And it has the power to transform the way you — and your audience — interact with digital billboards. That means expanding your understanding of the forms OOH can take as well.

In 2022, pDOOH made up 14.8% of digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising spend, up from just 3.2% in 2019. This exponential growth can be partly attributed to pDOOH’s availability across all markets — including rural areas — and is expected to continue in 2023 and years to come. But availability isn’t the only benefit you’ll find.

“The continued digitization of out-of-home advertising combined with the rapidly expanding availability of programmatic DOOH will require advertisers to fundamentally re-imagine their OOH strategy. It also means being open to, and exploring, how new and emerging technologies help overcome barriers between you and your target audiences with the right message, at the right place, at the right time.” —Matt Resell, Digital Media Manager

It’s time to make billboards cool again.

pDOOH comes with significant improvements to media buying — like no contracts, no minimum spend, and instantaneous spend increase or decrease — that can help you maximize your targeting and budget. But it also comes with a wider range of available creative formats and opportunities to take advantage of new technologies.

In other words: pDOOH is on the front lines of innovation in advertising, and it’s time to rethink what your outdoor advertising can do. Whereas OOH was once a simple poster graphic or a static roadside billboard, it now has the ability to create experiences through interactive formats and AI. It can even make situation-dependent updates, like switching to ads of umbrellas and galoshes when it senses rain in the area.

The combination of programmatic buying and advancing technologies is making marketing smarter and bringing the future into the present. QR codes, touch screens, image-sourcing hashtags, display screens, and more are rapidly becoming commonplace. But the pDOOH revolution isn’t stopping there.

Billboards don’t have to be static — thanks to programmatic digital advertising.

Cameras and facial recognition tech can help determine the demographics of somebody looking at the screen and switch to an ad targeted more specifically to them — think along the lines of advertising laser eye surgery to glasses-wearers or marketing specific service lines to someone based on their age range.

And if that’s not impressive enough, just wait until we tell you about incorporating infrared sensors into your pDOOH. Yes, you read that right: infrared sensors.

These sensors help measure reach and exposure by detecting spikes in body heat near your pDOOH piece, giving you a better idea of how many people are seeing your ads and when foot traffic is heaviest. That means no more guessing about the best locations for out-of-home advertising.

All these new ideas and innovations sound great, but where do you begin? The first step is probably much simpler than you think. Team up with your in-house or external media buying partners to evaluate your traditional OOH strategy to see where you can infuse some of that innovation.

Having someone with both media and healthcare experience in your corner can help you understand what options are best for you — while making the most of your budget and resources — to produce results that take your brand experience to the next level in 2023 and beyond.

We’ve got a lot of thoughts on programmatic DOOH and a number of other up-and-coming advertising trends. And you can read them all in our 2023 trends report.

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