The future of digital out-of-home is brighter than a Times Square billboard. As uncertain economic conditions continue and technological innovations bloom, digital out-of-home is growing into a popular form of digital marketing.
According to the Digital Out of Home Advertising Market report, the digital out-of-home market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 10% to reach a market size of more than $33 billion in 2026. This growth is partly fueled by the data opportunities digital out-of-home offers brands looking to create well-informed decisions that better protect their investments.
In this article, we’ll dive into the benefits of using digital out-of-home advertising and stand-out examples of campaigns to help inspire your strategy. We’ll also dive into how social media can reinforce and amplify digital out-of-home campaigns.
What is digital out-of-home advertising?
Digital out-of-home advertising refers to electronic signage found in high-traffic, publicly accessible spaces like malls, universities, gyms, gas stations, etc. It includes, but isn’t limited to, digital billboards and in-store displays, elevator screens and electric vehicle (EV) charging displays.
Out-of-home (OOH) traditional media has focused on static signage such as vinyl billboards and posters. Digital out-of-home media is dynamic, presenting unique avenues for omnichannel strategies that incorporate smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.—so there are a lot of screens for brands to use to grab attention.
Benefits of digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising
More brands are investing in digital out-of-home because there are a heap of benefits.
1. Automation and technology streamlines execution
Many digital out-of-home platforms and the software that powers them are automated, removing a number of challenges marketers face when planning, contracting and launching campaigns. Marketers can manage strategy, activation, reporting and optimization in a single location while using automation and data to drive decision-making. And instead of working with multiple vendors, marketers have the option of using one platform to plan for content for a variety of screen types and sizes.
Essentially, digital out-of-home automation makes omnichannel campaigns much easier. For example, if a retail brand wanted to combine mobile campaigns with digital out-of-home, they could place an interactive display in a mall. After interacting with the display, the consumer could scan a QR code that sends them to a landing page or a mobile ad call-to-action.
And thanks to today’s technology, marketers can remotely schedule and manage digital out-of-home campaigns across locations in a matter of clicks.
There are many programmatic digital out-of-home platforms, but Volta is a great illustration in terms of the type of services these types of vendors offer. As an industry-leading electric vehicle charging and media company with over 5,000 screens, Volta is a popular platform of choice for DOOH activations.
In October 2022, the company announced 3D creative campaigns, along with QR code activations and dynamic creative options like real-time weather triggers that allow brands to employ ads based on the weather. They also offer mobile retargeting so companies can reconnect with consumers after they see an ad on a Volta screen.
2. Makes tracking relevant KPIs and direct business impact easier
Since digital out-of-home combines the physical and digital realms, brands have access to a wider range of metrics. Along with engagement and conversions, marketers can use a variety of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure DOOH campaign effectiveness including sales lift, app downloads and conversion (web conversions, in-app actions, downloads, etc.).
Since many platforms are automated, tracking upper and lower funnel metrics is easier. With access to a range of metrics, illustrating performance and direct business impact becomes clearer. By reviewing data on consumer trends, brands can make informed decisions on their placements because they can pinpoint the best time and place to engage their target audience.
For example, an athleisure clothing brand could view peak hours for locations frequented by their target audience (gyms, health food stores, yoga/pilates studios, etc.) to optimize publish times for a campaign.
3. Drives the innovation and personalization your audience craves
If the metaverse was 2022’s buzzword, 2023 is the year of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). With the influx of AI, ML and other emerging technologies like extended reality (XR), brands can make more engaging, personalized ads that improve brand perception. As technology and consumer needs become more sophisticated, brands will need to lean on innovation to stay ahead and meet consumer expectations. Brands are already incorporating digital OOH in metaverse environments, further blurring the line between online and real-life experiences.
Smart examples of digital out-of-home advertising
Let’s cover some of our favorite excellent examples of digital out-of-home campaigns:
McDonald’s “Deals Stuck in Time” campaign in Sweden was a creative response to helping consumers deal with inflation. The campaign used Google Street View to allow people to step back in time and view old out-of-home ads from 2009 until 2022.
Billboards were digitally altered on Street View to show the old ads. Once a customer identified when the ad was first run, they could claim the deal via the campaign website or the McDonald’s app.
Digital out-of-home platforms can help brands take advantage of weather-based marketing by using triggers such as temperature and precipitation to provide relevant, real-time ads to target audiences automatically.
Sea-Doo, a Canadian personal watercraft and boat brand, partnered with Vistar Media to create a weather-triggered digital out-of-home campaign.
By using Vistar Media’s point of interest and weather targeting tools, Sea-Doo’s campaign generated an 80% increase in purchase intent and 43% lift in consideration for the brand. The campaign was so impactful that it was nominated for “Best Use of DOOH” by the Drum Awards for Digital Advertising 2022.
Dole partnered with Volta to drive sales during the winter holiday season. Based on the case study, the food company used Volta’s front of store placements to highlight various Dole products to convert shoppers. Dole earned an 8% sales lift, 13% new buyers and increased 8.5% category share.
How can digital OOH and social complement each other?
We’ve covered the benefits of digital out-of-home campaigns and some interesting brands to model, but how do you stand out in the sea of screens? The key is social media insights.
Extend your organic social content in targeted spaces
Marketers are leaning on holistic, omnichannel campaigns, especially in the current economic climate, which means they need to reach large target audiences with intention and precision. Take advantage of your paid media budget by pushing content that’s already proven effective on social media.
Within Sprout, you can identify top-performing posts for TikTok, Instagram and other social media networks all within one platform so planning for omnichannel DOOH campaigns is even more efficient.
By using Sprout’s paid performance reports, you can view which content resonates the most and assess the next steps for repurposing content in a physical space.
Use social data to make better digital OOH investments
Along with automation, the beauty of digital out-of-home is that brands can get incredibly precise about which messages they display across specific locations. But you can leverage social data to further support your decisions of what creative content to push.
Sprout Social’s Listening tools are built on smart workflows and AI-driven technology so you can gain the business intelligence you need to improve your strategy and make wiser DOOH investments.
For example, insights from the Locations Overview can uncover trends and events unfolding in specific countries and cities, making it easier to pinpoint a digital OOH ad buy.
The future of digital out-of-home
As we peek into DOOH’s crystal ball, there’s massive opportunity for more creative, innovative activations. Using data and research to back up your investment decisions is a key way to ensuring your DOOH investments have a bright future.
Looking for more ways to support your marketing and business decisions with data? Continue your journey with our Marketer’s Ultimate Data-Powered Toolkit—it’s packed with resources so you can plan with confidence.