Can OOH be digital? 

OOH advertising is one of the most effective advertising formats out there. It offers second-to-none visibility to large audiences at a relatively low price point. 

So, the question is – could digitization make it even more effective? 

Short answer: Absolutely – and it’s already happening. 

With a growing amount of digital inventory available and quicker, more transparent purchasing methods, the popularity of digital out of home (DOOH) ads is growing rapidly. 

This is set to continue over the next decade. 

A July 2021 report forecasts the value of the DOOH market to nearly double in just seven years ($18.8bn to $35.1bn, 2020-2027). With the advantages digital OOH ads offer being opened up to a much wider audience thanks to new programmatic technology, this isn’t surprising. 

So, what’s the difference between traditional OOH and digital OOH? And how are new platforms opening up DOOH opportunities to businesses that would have struggled to access it previously?

We explain more below.

What Is Digital Out of Home Advertising?

The answer to “Can OOH be digital?” is a resounding yes. 

Digital transformation is driving change across all areas of marketing and advertising and out of home advertising is no exception.  

OOH advertising refers to any visual media found outside the home. Mainly, these are ad displays in prominent public places, such as billboards next to highways, or signage in train stations, shopping malls, entertainment venues and on street furniture in city and town centers. 

Digital Out of Home ads are found in the same places, replacing large-scale paper ads with digital screens. Because they’re digital, this changes how potential audiences interact with them. They are more engaging, more interactive and therefore generate a better return on investment than traditional OOH. 

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What Is the Difference Between OOH Media and DOOH Media?

Whilst the fundamental idea behind DOOH is the same as traditional OOH – placing ads in prominent public places to reach mass audiences – digital technology allows you to do much more with the inventory you buy. 

Digital signage displays dynamic content – think bright colors, eye-catching animation and engaging video. 

Digital Out of Home media also provides the opportunity for direct audience engagement via mobile devices, such as interaction via QR codes and social media. This increases the appeal and the reach of your OOH ads even further and allows you to integrate OOH into your wider digital advertising strategy. 

However, standard DOOH advertising can still be plagued by a drawn-out buying process, in which media buyers need to deal with multiple intermediaries to purchase digital ad space and set their ads live. 

Measurability is also an issue. In an increasingly data-obsessed marketing landscape, traditionally purchased DOOH offers little in the way of real-time campaign analytics

These problems are solved when you introduce programmatic capabilities to the mix. 

Programmatic DOOH – The Key to Supercharging Your DOOH Strategy?

Programmatic DOOH (pDOOH) refers to buying outdoor advertising via an automated bidding platform – much like how you currently buy social media or online ads – where ads are purchased based on certain conditions being met. 

You might buy space on digital inventory on the condition that your ad is displayed when it’s sunny or when there is a specified amount of footfall in a public place. 

This allows you to target audiences more effectively and get a better return on investment for your OOH strategy. 

For example, McDonald’s recently ran a frozen drinks campaign. They bought ad space under the condition their ads would be displayed as soon as the temperature reached 22 degrees Celsius. If the temperature reached 25 degrees, their ads would display the temperature and the name of the city in which they were being shown.  

This allowed the company to target audiences when they would be most open to buying the product, whilst inclusion of the city name added a more relevant, personal aspect to the creative. 

Personalized Digital Out of Home Advertising Board in City Centre

(Image source:

The advantages pDOOH offers go even further than that. Because you buy programmatic DOOH directly via an automated platform: 

  • You save time on the media buying process compared to OOH. Automated pDOOH platforms cut out the numerous intermediaries traditionally associated with digital ad buying, opening the medium up even to businesses with little time and manpower to spare 
  • You can access campaign analytics in real time. This allows you to be much more responsive in how you run your DOOH campaigns as you can optimize based on up-to-the-minute data. 
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Choosing the Right Platform for Programmatic DOOH

Digital OOH has the potential to revolutionize your OOH strategy. If you take a programmatic approach to buying ad space, those benefits become even more significant.

To get the most from your DOOH strategy, you need a programmatic DOOH platform that’s easy to use, offers access to powerful analytics tools in real time and connects you directly to the inventory you need. 

At The Neuron, we speed things up with the promise of absolutely no intermediaries – simply find the inventory you need and start the automated bidding process with a couple of clicks. 

Creative can be uploaded in a matter of minutes, whilst real-time analytics allow you to adjust and optimize your strategy for best results. 

Try The Neuron today