Programmatic’ DOOH automates the buying process for digital out of home media such as digital billboards.

Yet, because of the technology solutions it introduces, programmatic DOOH offers SMBs so much more than simply a convenient way to buy ad space. In fact, it may be the key to smaller businesses being able to make a real return on their DOOH spend and a way into an exciting advertising channel for a whole new wave of SMB brands as a result.

According to the Digital Place Based Advertising Association (DPAA), 74% of advertisers now use DOOH as part of their marketing strategies:

Image showing rise in Programmatic DOOH


An analysis of the survey’s responses revealed that programmatic enablement combined with an increased ability to target key audiences based on contextual relevancy contributed significantly to this popularity. With a significant number of businesses now investing in DOOH, here are three specific benefits programmatic campaigns can offer a smaller or mid-market business.

How to Create a Successful DOOH Advertising Campaign: What It Takes to Get Attention

1. Programmatic DOOH Offers Enhanced Audience Targeting Capabilities

A criticism often aimed at traditional OOH is that it’s a ‘hit and hope’ form of marketing – if enough people can see your ad, someone will pay attention.

Whilst this might work for larger companies who have the budgets for a few speculative or experimental campaigns, targeting capabilities and reliable audience data are essential for SMBs looking to make their marketing budget stretch as far as possible. An ad on a large digital billboard, for example, is a relatively much greater investment for an SMB than a larger company and not one that can be written off if it makes a middling to poor return.

Programmatic digital OOH technology solves this problem by allowing you to choose the conditions under which your ad is displayed. Be it in response to breaking news and events, sports results, day of week, time of day, or even changes in the weather, advertisers can heighten the relevance of their campaign based on real-world local, national, or even global developments. What’s more, programmatic DOOH is informed by anonymized mobile location data, allowing advertisers to target specific audience demographics in specific places on specific days and at specific times.

This all combines to provide hyper-customization options for advertisers – ensuring that you only pay for ad space when your pre-set conditions are met and your chances of a sizeable return on investment (ROI) are at their highest.

Programmatic DOOH and Place-Based Media: A Match Made in Heaven

Many SMBs are explicitly local – most of their custom comes from a specific area, with passing trade essential.

This makes place-based media an ideal route for SMBs to go down. Coupling well-chosen local inventory – be it at a local gym, grocery store, mall, office building, or wherever is most contextually relevant to your ad and your audience – with directions to your business and a programmatic buying approach creates a flexible, cost-effective advertising tool.

2. Programmatic DOOH Offers Real-Time Analytics

It’s a popular myth that traditional DOOH doesn’t have any reporting capability. It does – but you’ll need to wait for the reports to come through from the inventory owners to your media buying agency, then through to you.

This means that when you eventually get analytics for your DOOH campaign, they are often too out of date to act on in a meaningful way.

SMB marketing budgets being what they are, you need to squeeze every last dollar of returns out of your initial investment. Part of that process involves being able to track campaign success in real time and optimizing your approach based on this data.

Programmatic DOOH excels here. Programmatic OOH is bought and monitored by automated platforms, generating significant amounts of usable data you can access immediately. As a result, you can take a truly data-driven approach to your programmatic campaigns, tweaking your strategy when needed and accurately predicting the returns you will generate.

You should be able to track the following in real time using a programmatic DOOH platform:

  • Planned and spent budgets by campaign, publisher and creative
  • Audiences reached and number of impressions delivered
  • Individual screen delivery and performance, including number of playouts
  • Overall ad spend and effective cost per mile (eCPM)

3. Programmatic DOOH Removes Time Pressure from the Ad Buying Processes

SMBs aren’t known for their large marketing departments. If you run a small business, chances are you’re relying on a small team to set budgets, run marketing campaigns and build creative assets.

That’s a lot of work for what may be a team of one, or perhaps even the founder is running marketing and a reason why SMBs have traditionally eschewed slow, resource intensive traditional OOH media buying methods, involving several intermediary agencies. There’s also the issue of ongoing COVID-related staffing shortages continuing to hit small businesses hard, with 60% of SMBs claiming they were still short staffed in a February 2022 survey.

To maximize the value, they get from an OOH investment, small businesses need a fast, intuitive way of buying ad space – and that’s exactly what programmatic DOOH provides.

Programmatic DOOH platforms automate OOH media buying, removing third parties from the process, connecting you directly with inventory owners and setting your ad live as soon as your conditions are met.

This means that your marketing team doesn’t need to manage complex agency relationships and deal with slow reporting processes previously associated with OOH advertising. Simply use your programmatic DOOH platform to set your conditions and bid automatically, then reinvest the time saved elsewhere.

Find the Right Programmatic OOH Platform for You

To really maximize the benefits programmatic digital OOH offers your small business, you need to find the right automated buying platform – also known as a ‘demand side platform’. You should work with a DSP which:

  • Connects you to a range of media owners with global inventory
  • Is intuitive to use and can be picked up quickly
  • Offers a comprehensive range of data analytics

The Neuron is a programmatic buying platform that is specially designed to connect SMBs to a global range of DOOH inventory from the world’s largest media owners. Real-time bidding technology and single-click processes mean you can set your creative live in just a couple of minutes, whilst real-time data feeds and analytics screens offer the flexibility to optimize your campaign whenever you need to for maximum return.

Try The Neuron today to see what programmatic DOOH could offer your SMB.