Digital Is Shaking Up OOH Advertising


Out-of-home (OOH) advertising has existed for decades through billboards, benches, bus wraps, indoor displays and elevator posters. However, technology has changed traditional, static OOH into digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising. 

Digital out-of-home advertising is quickly gaining ground with marketers and brands because of the amazing potential it brings to the table. Let’s explore this more.

Table of contents

What Is OOH?

Out-of-home advertising — also called outdoor advertising — consists of advertisements that consumers see outside of their homes. OOH advertising has evolved over the years and is more than just billboards and bus ads. It now includes advertising in other areas including:

  • Airports
  • Delivery vehicles
  • Restaurants
  • Shopping centers
  • Sports venues
  • Subways
  • Train wraps
  • Wall murals

What Is DOOH?

DOOH advertising is out-of-home advertising that uses digital displays to serve and measure ads. Oftentimes, these displays don’t only serve one ad. They can rotate ad creative from the same brand or feature multiple ads from different brands, maximizing the available ad space they offer.

Digital-out-of-home ads gather data in real-time and have more measurement capabilities than traditional static out-of-home ads alone.


DOOH builds upon the groundwork of traditional OOH advertising. Advertisements typically have access to the internet as well as geofencing, personalization and retargeting capabilities. Examples of DOOH include digital billboards, interactive tablets and multimedia kiosks.

DOOH is usually more interactive than traditional OOH advertising and has more advanced measurement capabilities. They can also be more cost-effective and efficient for advertisers because they can be updated in real-time and tailored to recent events more quickly than OOH ads. 

In general, OOH and DOOH advertising can be highly effective compared to online ads because they can’t be skipped. Your audience sees the ad when they’re passing by, waiting in line or commuting to work.

In 2023, spending on OOH advertising will reach nearly $39 billion globally. DOOH will make up $18 billion of that spending, with OOH contributing $21 billion. Digital OOH accounted for over 31% of sales, an increase of over 4% from a year ago. 

Nearly one-quarter (23%) of the top spenders on OOH advertising are brands in the tech or direct-to-consumer space. These include Apple, Netflix, Amazon and Uber. 

DOOH has revitalized the OOH industry, and it’s expected to grow and outpace traditional OOH. A large part of this is the technology behind DOOH — including Bluetooth beacons, facial recognition and sensors — that’s making tracking more advanced for advertisers. 

Measurement in 2024

Advertisers in many industries are tightening their budgets to focus their ad dollars on marketing campaigns that have a measurable impact on their bottom line. This has created a high demand for marketing channels that provide real-time optimization and offline-to-online attribution that will likely continue into the next year.

Programmatic DOOH

With digital technology, it’s become more manageable to buy ad inventory on a large scale through programmatic advertising. Programmatic DOOH, or pDOOH, can help brands adjust their marketing strategies in real-time and maximize their performance. For example, with the help of programmatic advertising, you can understand what times of day have the highest traffic and secure ad inventory for those times.

DOOH Benefits

With the ability to target certain audiences and gather data, DOOH ads bring measurable results to ad campaigns.

Lower Costs, Better Performance

Printing and installing traditional OOH advertising is time-consuming and costly. Instead, DOOH displays can update remotely and within seconds. With DOOH advertising, ad creatives can be customized based on real-time factors, such as weather, traffic, time of day, sports scores and more. For instance, a car dealership can push truck and SUV ads on snowy days, run ads for sports cars when it’s sunny and promote hybrid vehicles during rush hour commutes.

Research also shows that DOOH is effective in reaching consumers and encouraging them to take actions like making a purchase. According to Nielsen Research, consumers who view a DOOH ad go on to visit a store. Of the consumers that viewed a DOOH ad: 

  • 52% noticed when a DOOH ad provided directions to the business. 
  • 57% immediately made a visit to a business after viewing the ad.
  • Of the consumers who visited a business, 93% made a purchase.

More Creative Freedom

Visuals are often limited to static images and messages in traditional OOH advertising. Video inventory through DOOH can add variety and keep viewers interested longer. For example, an amusement park can feature a video from the front seat of their new roller coaster in ads to catch passersby’s attention and drive excitement around season pass sales.

Better Targeting

With traditional OOH, you’re limited in audience targeting and how you measure ad engagement. DOOH displays come with special sensors, cameras and software that allow consumers to interact with the ad and advertisers to better track those engagements.

Leveraging DOOH in Your Full-Funnel Marketing Strategy

Businesses can use DOOH advertising throughout every step of the funnel.

Though mainly known as an upper-funnel awareness tactic, you can also use DOOH advertising during the consideration, conversion and retention stages of an advertising campaign:

  • Brands can use consideration-focused DOOH ads in highly trafficked areas to highlight a new product with a QR code to a landing page. 
  • If the goal is to increase conversions, use DOOH ads near a brick-and-mortar store to drive store visits. 
  • For retention, include in-store DOOH ads, featuring QR codes, to provide customers with discounts on their next purchase. 

Also, like other media channels, DOOH often performs well when combined with other channel types such as connected TV (CTV), mobile display, audio, paid social, etc. and can enhance your full-funnel marketing strategies.

Measuring Digital-Out-of-Home Advertising

With new technologies, measuring DOOH ad performance is more accessible than ever. There are various ways to analyze DOOH ad data, including brand studies, foot traffic, conversions and sales lift. With any metric, it’s important to consider how it fits into your overall tracking and measurement capabilities. Here are some common key performance indicators (KPIs) for DOOH ad performance.

Foot Traffic

Foot traffic measures the number of visits that a brand gets at its brick-and-mortar locations. It’s a very useful metric for measuring an OOH campaign. Some campaign themes that leverage foot traffic measurements include: 

  • Encouraging tourism to a specific destination.
  • Generating foot traffic for new store openings.
  • Using an in-store sale and promotion to track redemptions.

Sales Lift

To measure lift, you can run several tests. For DOOH, you might adjust which geographies see your ad campaigns. You could compare geographies that have performed similarly historically and adjust the ads that each market sees. 

Web Conversions

Measuring web conversions includes in-app actions, app downloads and online behavior and might not typically be associated with DOOH advertising. However, OOH ad performances can contribute to these measurements as they become more integrated into a company’s multi-channel marketing strategies.

Go Beyond DOOH With Your Advertising

Now that you have a solid understanding of DOOH advertising under your belt, it’s time to explore other options to grow your business and drive results funnel-wide. Use these guides to inform your marketing efforts: