How Digital OOH Advertising Has Changed The World

Out-of-home advertising used to be very simple. It was all on paper, and if you wanted to go digital, you’d have to go on TV. The amount of money you’d spend for that was no joke, though. Honestly, it’s still not. However, now you have more choices when it comes to OOH advertising with the “birth” of digital out of home advertising. Sure, it has been around for a few years now, but it keeps evolving at a pace that traditional advertising can’t keep up with. It has revolutionized advertising for good, and it keeps doing so every day.

To think that we thought of social media advertising as the best thing that could happen in the advertising industry at some point. And here we are, doing incredible work with DOOH. But what’s so great about it? What makes it so attractive to advertisers? How has it changed the world?

DOOH media

What is Digital-Out-Of Home or DOOH?

DOOH is a digital media that appears in any places accessible to the public. Some examples include digital billboards and outdoor signage, as well as networks of screens found in businesses like malls and healthcare providers. You can find them everywhere, but here is a list of a few places where you will find DOOH without fail:

  • Shopping malls and retail stores
  • Movie theaters and arenas
  • Medical waiting rooms
  • Airports, train stations and bus shelters
  • Beside major roadways
digital ooh for Audi

Why Does it Work?

Digital OOH is different from traditional OOH in many ways, and its benefits make it the favorite medium for advertisers.


First, DOOH can be interactive. It allows advertisers to communicate directly with their audience through more targetted advertising. For example, you can include facial recognition into your digital billboard, so it shows an ad based on the gender, age, or facial expressions of your audience.

Another example of interactive digital out of home is a campaign made by Apotek in Sweden. It was called “the smoking billboard.” They installed smoke detectors in billboards, so every time someone smoked nearby, it reacted to the smoke. A coughing man appeared, and an ad about Apotek followed. The man coughed loudly, too, making the smoker realize how they affect people around him.

Photo Source: Business Insider


Secondly, digital billboards allow more flexibility in terms of managing your ads. You can have more than one ad in one billboard because the content can change either every 8 seconds or every 15 seconds. It’s particularly good for billboard owners as they can rent one to many advertisers at the same time. Also, you can take advantage of this feature to advertise at specific times. For example, showing a topical ad following a particular event such as maybe a football game.

Also, when ads go up on static billboards, they stay there with weeks at a time. With digital billboards, you can change ads many times in a day. It makes it easier for advertisers to catch their targets’ attention.


Lastly, even though it’s expensive to rent, it’s cheaper to maintain. With static billboards, the printing and installation costs will add to your expenses every time you want to change your ad. With digital billiards, however, you can change the ads instantly.

Digital OOH  advertising

Great Technology

In addition to everything I mentioned earlier, DOOH outlets have great technologies that are getting better by the day. It doesn’t stop at recognition, but data analysis too. Let me explain. OOH, media owners use sensors to collect data on nearby foot traffic, and it’s very detailed. They can determine the kind of people who frequents the places where they have their billboards by gender, age, style, and more. The results for analyzing such data will make it easier for advertisers to target their ads. It’s well known that reaching the right audience has always been the medium’s weakness, so this is another problem solved for advertisers. But this technology can work with traditional billboards. It’s just easier to incorporate in digital ones.

More than advertsing

Digital out-of-home media is not just for advertisers. It’s an excellent tool for media companies and the government as well. How is that possible, you ask? Well, since it can show many contents at a time. TV networks can use it to transmit real-time weather information, for example, while an advertiser can use it for timed advertising. Digital OOH media must be accessible to any government institution because, in case of emergency, they can easily reach the population.


A study by Nelson found that 75 percent of respondents remembered seeing a digital billboard in the month prior. Approximately 82 percent of that group remembered that what they saw was advertising. What’s more, a majority of respondents thought rather positively of DOOH. It seems that traditional will soon be overrated because people usually find advertising in general to be a nuisance. And yet, they respond so positively to DOOH. A revolution, indeed.

Digital OOH at a mall

How to Make the Most of It

The advantages of using DOOH are infinite. Every day comes with a new benefit and another reason why you should switch if you haven’t done so yet. But all those benefits come with challenges. Digital Out-of-home isn’t a miracle, although one could argue that it’s God sent. It generates results, but it’s just a tool. You have to figure out how to use it for it to be effective.


Location is essential, especially when advertising. Whether with a static or a digital billboard, you have to choose the right spot to reach your target. The more crowded, the better. Also, you want your billboard to be placed on the right side of the road, so drivers can easily see it. The height is also important. Not too low, not too high because no one would work hard just to see an ad. So make it easy for your target to notice you. Bus stops and subway stations are also a great place to stack up impressions. Of course, it would depend on the city. In New York City, for example, it’s a given that you will reach a large number of people with transit advertising. Seoul, South Korea can also provide an incredible amount of impressions in the subway alone. In any case, the number of impressions is the most important for an advertiser after the ad is out, so it’s only natural that you should pick the location with care. Preferably a crowded one.

digital interactive billboard by CARE


As an advertiser, you need to get more creative and bolder with every ad you make. There are a lot of brands out there, sometimes for the same product. You’ll need to make a name for yourself and position yourself in the eye of your target. Are you a toothpaste brand that emphasizes whitening? Protection against cavity? Protection of sensitive gum? In a million toothpaste brands available to consumers, positioning yourself is the best way of grabbing their attention. For that, you need advertising. And for your ad to be mémorable, you need to be creative. Create a relationship with your consumer. Are you the funny “friend”? The gentle one? The relatable one? Entertain them too. It’s better if they feel that they are watching some exciting content instead of advertising. With digital, you have more room for such creative work.


You only have a few seconds on the billboard if you’re sharing it with another advertiser. Use them wisely. Be straightforward, target the right audience. Are you talking to moms? Teenagers? Women in their thirties? There is a different way of appealing to each target as they have different needs. Using the right visuals is vital. After all, you want to catch their attention long enough to receive your message. You also want them to remember you, so be as memorable as possible. Lastly, be appropriate. You don’t want them to see you as an ignorant e brand, do you? Know your target well and make them relate to your ad, your brand.

transit DOOH


I know I mentioned this before, but I need to emphasize as it’s very important. If you are a retail brand, there are seasons for each type of clothes or shoes. Coats for winter, summer dresses for summer, boots for winter and spring, and so on. Is it appropriate to advertise a new collection of winter coats right at the beginning of summer? Exactly. So timing is an important element of succeeding in digital out-of-home advertising as well. With DOOH, it’s easier to manage your timing. For example, if you’re advertising a lunch special at your restaurant, the appropriate time to show it on the billboard’s screen would be at lunchtime. If it’s scheduled at that same time every day, you’re sure to get more traffic at your restaurant.

Rent it all

For a more significant impact, rent the whole billboard. It’ll be expansive, but it will definitely be worth it. Not only will your ad stay on screen longer, but you get more to explore your creativity. Like I said a few points higher, creativity will get you a position in the millions of brands available to consumers. The more people see your ad, the better. Another reason to rent the whole board, don’t you think? Sharing a digital billboard means that there will be times when your target audience may miss your ad, because someone else’ was displayed at the time they passed by. You wouldn’t want all your hard work to go to waste because your target missed it, would you?

Or Own it

As Much as advertisers take advantage of what DOOH has to offer, billboard owners also have a lot to get from it. It’s a very lucrative business, that’s for sure. Imagine renting your board to over three brands every month? It’s a great opportunity to earn some extra cash. But you also have the possiblitoty top use your own board for as long as you want, however you want it. Then again, it will cost you a lot of money to buy a digital billboard, but you will benefit from it in the long run. And for a long time. Worth it, isn’t it?

live digital billboard

What’s Next for DOOH?

Thanks to DOOH, the advertising world changed positively. It has become easier for advertisers to reach their target in no time and in a more sophisticated way. They can even talk to them directly. But it’s about to get better. As billboards now are being equipped with technology that can collect data for advertisers, they are becoming a two ways communication. There are even some digital out-of-home companies that are using biometric scanning to understand age gender and even facial expression. As a result, it will be easier to target a particular demographic at specific locations. But all this data is being analyzed after it’s collected, and then used to communicate better with consumers. But in the future, the billboards will maybe be able to analyse the data and display ads accordingly, who knows? Either way, look out for DOOH because it’s about to get even bigger.


Updated November, 14, 2021

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