Is digital out of home for small businesses a viable way to advertise? 

The short answer is: absolutely! Digital OOH advertising is no longer just for big brands. 

Digital Out of Home (DOOH) advertising is bouncing back rapidly after the worldwide lockdowns of 2020. In Q3 2021, out of home advertising in general rebounded 38% on the previous year’s figures, buoyed up by an increasingly active digital sector (which jumped 56% on 2020).

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Meanwhile, the global OOH advertising market is projected to grow in value by almost $8bn by 2025 – just under a third of its current value.

Infographic showing the OOH advertising Global Market from 2021 COVID-19 Impact and Recovery to 2030


Partly, this figure represents trade returning to some sort of normality and regular advertisers resuming spend on out of home after a significant downturn. Equally, small businesses have become increasingly aware of the power of DOOH advertising, and now have unprecedented access to digital billboards and other forms of DOOH media via affordable, automated buying methods. 

In other words, if you’re a small business looking to harness the mass advertising power of digital out of home, there has never been a better time to get started.

The three steps below will give smaller brands a good idea of where to start with DOOH, and how to design a campaign that will be impactful, successful and profitable. 

1. Create a DOOH Advertising Strategy

Much like online advertising, you need to be clear on your marketing goal if you want a good ROI on your DOOH ads. This is particularly important for small businesses whose marketing budget is limited, and who need to make their money work as hard as possible. 

As part of your DOOH campaign, consider: 

  • Who your target customers are
  • The locations you could reach them
  • The situations in which they would be most likely to make a purchase
  • Your key metrics for success

Traditionally, DOOH advertising has been considered a useful brand awareness tool. Whilst this is absolutely true and brand awareness will likely feature among your aims for your campaign, modern targeting techniques mean that you can go beyond this to direct revenue generation. 

What Are Programmatic Campaigns?

The advent of programmatic buying methods for OOH ads means that you can now define when and where your ad is shown, based on key campaign criteria. 

Programmatic DOOH automates the buying process and allows advertisers to only pay for ad space when specific conditions (e.g. footfall, weather data, traffic) are met. 

For example, take a local sports bar with a large outdoor terrace. The bar could choose to only show its DOOH ad on home game days, when temperatures are warmer than average. This makes the idea of cold beers with friends significantly more appealing to a very specific audience, so the bar only pays for ads when the possibility of a return is highest. 

Ultimately, programmatic DOOH allows you to reach your target audience when they are most likely to make a purchase. As a small business, this is a huge opportunity to increase your returns on digital ad spend and drive more people to your outlet.

2. Find the Right Programmatic Buying Platform for Your Business

Traditional media buying methods are poorly-suited to smaller businesses because they are time-consuming and expensive. They often involve labor-intensive relationships with third-party intermediaries and lack the flexibility to update messages in real time. 

Programmatic buying methods are: 

  • Instant
  • Automated
  • Low resource

Automated bidding means that, once you’ve set your marketing budget and your conditions for ad display, you can guarantee your ads will be displayed on inventory that matches your needs. Your team won’t need to put in any extra time to do this. This means you reduce workloads, allowing your team to focus their energy elsewhere. 

DOOH media is bought using a programmatic buying platform, also known as a Demand Side platform. Look for a platform that offers the following: 

  • An intuitive user interface with single-click processes
  • A wide range of media owners and inventory to connect with
  • Extensive real-time analytics reports for campaign optimization 
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3. Engage Users with Creative DOOH Ads

Now’s the time to get creative! Think about what would catch your audience’s eye on a digital screen and work up some ideas based around that. 

Successful DOOH ads are usually: 

  • Bold – think eye-catching colors, large fonts, catchy slogans
  • Short – you have a limited time to grab attention, so keep your messages to the point
  • Dynamic – movement stands out significantly against a sea of static ads
  • Consistent – keep branding and messaging recognizable across different advertising channels

The golden rule is keep it simple. 

You don’t need state-of-the-art cinematography – short, sharp text animation will create enough movement on your ads to draw the eye. Short TikTok-style loop videos are an increasingly familiar and appealing format, and as such can be particularly effective for Out of Home advertising. But remember to use video format in appropriate places. You don’t want to distract drivers, but video is entirely appropriate in shopping malls and places where people have the time to focus. 

Remember, your audience, who will pass by your digital billboard in a public place, won’t read the small print. Choose one standout deal to draw them in, rather than trying to cram an overload of information onto the screen. 

Making the Right Programmatic DOOH Platform Choice

If you’re looking for a Demand Side Platform that will make your dream programmatic campaign a reality, check out The Neuron

The Neuron is a completely automated bidding platform specifically designed for small businesses. We connect media buyers to digital signage across the USA – and globally to reach their desired audience. All it takes is a couple of clicks to upload your creative, define your campaign parameters and set your ad live. 

And don’t forget, you can optimize your campaign easily based on a range of informative real-time reports.

Try The Neuron today