What DOOH Has In Store For 2021

It’s no surprise that 2020 has been a rough year for advertising in general. The Out-of-Home (OOH) industry specifically has taken a significant hit due to the unpredictability of the pandemic. However, despite these discouraging facts, Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising is said to take on a larger role in 2021. According to a recent eMarketer report, DOOH ad spending is expected to increase by 19.2% in 2021. The report also expects that DOOH ad spending will increase from $2.72 billion in 2020, to $3.84 billion in 2023. The DOOH medium in and of itself is an extremely resilient platform to work with, which advertisers and brands are beginning to take note of. Advertisers, marketing teams, and companies all want to begin producing more creative campaigns that are more effective in reaching and communicating with consumers. Due to the pandemic, the way advertisers are thinking about reaching their target audiences is changing, and one solution that seems to be evolving for them is DOOH. Let’s take a look at what the DOOH medium is all about, why it’s becoming so popular, and some amazing examples of DOOH around the world.

A modern spin on the classic idea

An image of a street corner full of digital OOH billboards. They're all displaying different ads.

DOOH advertising is digital media that is accessible to the public and can include digital billboards, a network of screens in a mall, or a multimedia truck-side ad. Due to technological advances, the typical billboard, bus-stop ad, and poster can now be offered digitally – allowing for interactivity and flexibility. Additionally, DOOH includes technologically advanced targeting and traffic data in order to understand the trends and movements of consumers more accurately.

Advantages to the medium

An image of a man looking at a digital OOH advertisement with a QR code. The man is being targeted by the ad.

Although traditionally OOH advertising has its benefits, DOOH is becoming more popular amongst advertisers and brands alike, as we become a more digitally-driven world. For digital OOH ads, the switch to fresh, new, and exciting content can be created and displayed within seconds. Of course there’s more of an upfront cost in setting up a DOOH screen, however the long-term payout is extremely advantageous. DOOH also allows for much more variety in what’s being displayed as multiple advertisements can be rotating on one billboard or screen at a time. This diversity will keep viewers intrigued and receptive to the messaging that’s being displayed. As stated previously, DOOH is also an amazing medium for tracking consumer analytics. Advertisers have a much better understanding of the impact that their ads make including statistics such as: how many people viewed the ad, their age, their gender, when they saw the ads, and more. This inevitably can help advertisers ensure that they’re reaching their target audience in the right place at the right time.

Furthermore, just like OOH advertising, DOOH cannot be ad-blocked or ignored. More often than not, these types of ads are placed in high-traffic areas, reaching thousands upon thousands of viewers daily. The visibility alone is a huge advantage that DOOH and OOH advertising has over other mediums. A study done by Nielsen, found that 75% of respondents recalled seeing a digital billboard in the month prior and that a majority of the respondents viewed DOOH favourably.

An image of a phone with a QR scanner on it in the foreground and a billboard with a QR code in the background.

In the same vein, DOOH is changing the way people interact with advertising. The world is becoming more digitally connected than ever before, which makes DOOH the perfect medium to collaborate with the increasingly urban, connected, and social consumer. Incorporating new technologies like QR codes or using facial recognition in your DOOH advertisement will engage and entice consumers in a whole new way. By incorporating DOOH into any campaign, you will automatically increase consumer engagement, interest, and prowess amongst both consumers and the advertising world.

An image of a boy in the foreground looking up at all the billboards in Times Square.

Another huge benefit to DOOH advertising, especially in the future, is its limitless creativity. There are more opportunities to create engaging and targeted advertisements with the technological advancements that DOOH has to offer. Especially for the younger generations who are so accustomed to blocking out unwanted and unwarranted ads on their devices, DOOH offers advertisers a way to engage with this demographic in a more organic and enticing way. Teenagers and young adults want to be intrigued and excited about the ads they see. One way to do so is by creating a DOOH ad that incorporates mobile advertising, allowing the younger demographics to engage with an ad in the moment as well as later on.

Results of DOOH in England

In the UK, the DOOH advertising scene has offered brands an outstanding ROI. Results from a recent Talon and Benchmarketing study, showed that DOOH delivers an incremental return on investment of 46p for every pound spent. Therefore, there was an increase in profit when campaigns used a higher share of DOOH. The growing profitability of DOOH in the UK has led to a boost in the use of the medium across the country, which in turn, sparked interest amongst major advertising companies globally. Advertisers always want to stay ahead of their competitors and in the UK, they’re finding that DOOH is helping do just that.

Benefits of programmatic DOOH

An image for programmatic DOOH.

Programmatic DOOH is basically a more developed and analytic approach to DOOH and refers to the automated buying, selling, and delivery of OOH advertising. Programmatic allows its users to set specific conditions that will trigger a DOOH ad slot. For example, the change in weather, the results of a sporting event, the news, or even live audience information. The role of programmatic advertising is to make sure that an advertiser’s ads are being seen in the right place at the most relevant time possible. It’s essentially the most targeted an ad can be, which makes it extremely valuable and enticing to advertisers.

Due to the aforementioned opportunities that DOOH allows, it’s no surprise why the medium continues to grow. Now let’s take a look at some amazing examples of DOOH ads that have gained worldwide attention.

KFC’s ‘Snap to Unlock’ campaign

An image of a digital OOH billboard for KFC. It has a scannable code through snapchat on it.

Recently, Kentucky Fried Chicken created a DOOH ad campaign that incorporated QR codes in order to encourage interactivity by blending outdoor, digital, and mobile advertising. Passersby were encouraged to use their phones to take a selfie with KFC’s founder, Colonel Sanders, using the Snapchat app that would then offer them special in-store promotions and deals. KFC also invited users to use the KFC filter when sending Snapchats to their friends, which generated a large amount of buzz and consumer engagement. These DOOH billboards were the first time the ‘snap to unlock’ feature had been used on OOH sites in the UK, and was a huge success in rewarding and entertaining the younger generation of consumers.

Using DOOH for a good cause

The NHS Blood and Transplant created an augmented reality campaign through DOOH advertising to encourage passersby to donate blood and highlight the power that blood donations have in saving lives. How it worked was the Virtual Blood Donation used an AR app that connected to digital billboards that featured an empty blood bag and an ill-looking patient. Then, visual recognition was used to detect a sticker on a participant’s arm that was overlaid with an AR needle. This then triggered the blood bag on the DOOH billboard and the participant was able to watch as the blood bag filled up and the patient on the screen appeared healthy again. The patients on the screen were people who had been saved by the blood donations of others. This campaign was also in collaboration with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter ads. This campaign was one of the winners of Ocean’s annual digital OOH competitions and sparked worldwide recognition and praise. Not to mention the amazing increase in blood donations that occurred due to the campaigns wide scope and user engagement.

Reebok’s speed test

A couple of years back in Sweden, Reebok created an extremely fun and exciting DOOH that encouraged people to get outside and run. The infamous shoe company placed a DOOH ad in the middle of Stockholm that included a built-in speed cam and tracking technology that could measure the pace of passersby. The incentive was that if anyone could run past the ad faster than 17 kilometers an hour, they would unlock a brand-new pair of ZPump 2.0 shoes – Reebok’s latest model of trainers. Reebok’s campaign was a huge success, not only for generating a mass amount of consumer engagement, but also by branding themselves as a company that’s always willing to try new and exciting things to motivate and excite consumers.

Summertime fun with DOOH

An image of a digital OOH ad for Google that has four different sides and is hoisted above a square.

Just last summer, Google launched a DOOH ad campaign that got people very excited about the summer holidays. To help consumers “make the most of summer,” Google created digital billboards that were placed all over London and demonstrated how the brand could help consumers enjoy the summer months. The ads included Google search queries that were popular over the summer. The campaign also integrated weather, temperature, time of day, and day of the week triggers so that they were targeting passersby with the most optimal information possible. For example, one DOOH billboard near Lido, a public pool location in London, displayed the pool’s opening date and hours of operation. When it was raining, another Google DOOH billboard said, “when will it be sunny again,” and included weather updates for the foreseeable future. This campaign not only demonstrated Google’s helpfulness, but also its ability to utilize advanced technology to appear contextually relevant to consumers.

Interactivity taken to the next level

In Toronto, Netflix created a DOOH campaign in partnership with Twitter to promote Marvel’s Daredevil season 2 premier. The DOOH billboards that were erected contained hashtags and photos of the three main characters of the show and encouraged passersby to vote for their favourite via Twitter. After 48 hours, the character with the highest votes on Twitter wreaked havoc on the other two characters’ billboards through advanced technology in the form of bruises, bullet holes, and slash marks. This was an incredibly engaging campaign that encouraged users to stay continuously focused on the digital OOH ad. It was also a great way for Netflix to demonstrate their creativity and originality to their audience through DOOH.

Wrap up

The potential that DOOH advertising has is unlimited as we look to the future of advertising. Brands, agencies, and partnerships are starting to work together to incorporate DOOH advertising within their market spend. It’s exciting to see the medium grow as it becomes more integrated, better targeted, and increasingly creative. With the development of programmatic advertising, DOOH is definitely going to be a pivotal feature in any advertiser’s marketing mix in the years to come.

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