Digital Out-of-Home Adtech: This Ad’s for You

Location- and time-based data help advertisers launch super-targeted campaigns.

Written by Norm Chait
Published on Apr. 05, 2023
Digital Out-of-Home Adtech: This Ad’s for You
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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In recent years, the advertising industry has seen a massive shift toward programmatic advertising, with digital out-of-home (DOOH) ad tech emerging as a key player in this space. 

4 Benefits of Digital-Out-Of-Home Advertising

1. More targeted ads based on location- and time-based data.

2. Greater ad efficiency and personalization.

3. Digital-out-of-home ads generate data that can inform future campaigns.

4. Greater reach, due to their placement in public spaces such as malls and mass transit locations.

At the core of this shift is the use of location- and time-based data, which has supercharged DOOH into a powerful advertising tool that bridges legacy advertising in the physical world with digital solutions, making it easier to deliver highly targeted and personalized ad campaigns to consumers than ever before.

By using automated, data-driven technologies to serve targeted ads to consumers in public spaces, such as dynamic billboards, transit stations and shopping malls, brands can ensure highly contextual and relevant ads are seen by the consumers they want to target the most. 

In fact, consumers are now more likely to engage with DOOH ads. Nielsen research found that 50 percent of audiences notice DOOH ads “all the time” or “most of the time,” while nearly 60 percent of consumers immediately visited a storefront linked to a DOOH ad, with 93 percent of those visitors making a purchase.

This technology gives an unprecedented level of insight into consumer behavior in a traditionally analog ad space. Here’s how it has transformed how advertisers measure the success of their campaigns.

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DOOH Enables More Targeted Ads

How many times have you stared at a billboard and had no interest in the product it advertises? Thanks to data-driven capabilities such as screen-level indexing and programmatic activation, the DOOH channel now offers advertisers more tools to find the right audiences and reduce this scenario to a minimum.

Instead of making a general ad buy and hoping to capture audiences on a static billboard or outdoor location, the DOOH ecosystem can adjust campaigns based on consumer location, time of day and other significant data points that can create more personalized and opportune experiences for the consumer.

One of the key advantages of programmatic DOOH ad tech is its ability to leverage location-based data to target specific demographics more accurately. By analyzing data such as geolocation, foot traffic and purchase history, advertisers can gain a deeper understanding of consumer behavior and preferences and then tailor their ad content to the interests and behaviors of people in a particular area. This enables them to create ads that meet the needs and interests of their preferred audience.


DOOH Offers Greater Personalization

Personalization is crucial in today’s advertising landscape, where consumers are bombarded with an overwhelming number of ads every day. DOOH adtech enables advertisers to serve ads in near real-time, using time-based data to target specific audiences with greater precision based on as current a set of conditions as possible.

DOOH’s dynamic range is typically broken down into multiple segments such as morning, afternoon and evening, and sometimes further subdivided into shorter intervals like “morning rush hour,” “afternoon commute” and even factors like weather conditions. The use of these dayparts allows advertisers to target specific audiences at times when they are most likely to engage with the ad content.

For example, a restaurant chain might want to display an ad promoting breakfast items during the morning, when people are on their way to work or school. Similarly, a fitness brand might choose to display its ads during the evening when people are more likely to exercise or engage in physical activity. A coffee chain might use time-based data to target commuters with ads for their morning coffee fix, or an ad for a cold beverage might display a different message on a hot day compared with the unseasonably cooler day in the forecast for later in the week.

By analyzing location data, adtech companies can build detailed profiles of consumer behavior, creating a level of personalization that can help to create a more positive and engaging user experience based on the consumer’s current context and interests while also driving better results for advertisers.


DOOH Generates More Data

The use of location- and time-based targeting aren’t the only types of useful data. DOOH generates vast amounts of data, which can be used to inform future campaigns and improve overall ad performance. 

DOOH platforms can use audience measurement technologies to collect data on the number and demographics of people who view ads and have the highest propensity to convert. This data can also be used to measure the impact of campaigns on foot traffic to storefronts and other metrics, providing valuable insights for advertisers in the short and long term.

For example, a retailer might use location data to target consumers with ads for products available in nearby stores.

By attracting large amounts of audience behavior data using opted-in methods, advertisers can understand how consumers engage with their ads over time. This increases the relevance and impact of future ad content and ultimately drives better engagement and conversion rates.


DOOH Has Greater Reach

Location-based data has been a cornerstone of programmatic DOOH ad tech since its inception, enabling advertisers to target specific audiences with pinpoint accuracy. 

Unlike other digital channels, DOOH can reach people as a hyper-relevant and brand-safe alternative that cannot be blocked. Unlike traditional print and broadcast media, DOOH advertising can reach consumers in public spaces where people are more likely to be receptive to advertising messages.

These factors mean that advertisers have the opportunity to reach consumers at multiple touchpoints throughout the day, making it an effective way to build brand awareness and drive sales.

Even when people may seem less receptive, advertisers can use real-time data to adjust their campaigns on the fly, making it possible to respond to changing market conditions or other external factors that might affect consumer behavior. 

For example, an advertiser might use weather data to deliver ads for cold and flu remedies on days when the temperature drops below a certain threshold, or a sports brand might display ads promoting team merchandise during a nearby major sporting event.

Reaching a large and diverse audience across multiple touchpoints helps advertisers build brand awareness and drive sales in a highly effective and efficient manner.

More Reading on AdvertisingWhat Makes an Ad Effective? We Asked a Creative Director.


Some DOOH Challenges

The benefits of DOOH are many. After all, who doesn’t want to see more relevant ads that speak to their interests and needs? However, a closer look at the implications of this technology reveals some additional context and challenges worth examining.

First and foremost, the use of location and time-based data raises privacy concerns. Consumers are understandably uneasy about the idea of being constantly tracked and monitored as they move about their daily lives. The need for a fully compliant platform with aggregated, anonymized and fully opted-in data is a must.

Additionally, DOOH ads are displayed in a variety of settings, but each of these settings has a unique audience with different interests, behaviors and demographics. An ad that works well in a busy shopping mall may not be effective in an airport, where people are more focused on travel plans and family logistics.

The many DOOH formats, for instance full videos or interactive displays on a wide range of screen sizes and resolutions only work if they are tailored to the specific environment and audience. A video ad might work well in a location where people have more time to engage with the content, while a dynamic image might be more effective in a high-traffic area where people are moving quickly.

Advertisers need to consider the viewing distance and angle of the screen when creating their ad content to ensure that it is legible and engaging, as well as brand safety filters to ensure campaigns are narrowed down to the right screens and the right locations based on desired audiences.

Overall, DOOH advertising requires careful consideration of the audience, the environment and the ad content to be effective. Adtech companies must be transparent about how they collect and use data, and they must take steps to ensure that sensitive information is protected. 

But by using DOOH technology, advertisers can tailor their campaigns to the specific context in which campaigns will be displayed to ensure that they resonate with their target audience and drive results.

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