Is DOOH advertising accessible to SMBs? And, if so, is it effective?

The answers to these questions are ‘yes’ and ‘yes’ respectively. With the amount of digital signage in the US at an all-time high, increasing numbers of smaller businesses are turning towards it to cut through a saturated online market.

Since 2016, the number of digital billboards alone in the US has grown by a little under a third. Far from being reserved for prime advertising locations like Times Square, Piccadilly Circus and the like, digital billboards and other signage are now increasingly common in towns, cities and highways across the world.

Infographic image showing the increase in usage of DOOH Advertising in the USA


For small businesses wanting to catch the eye of passing customers, this is great news. There’s a lot to like about digital out of home advertising (DOOH) for SMBs. It gets your brand in front of a huge audiences. It’s eye-catching, by nature. It’s adaptable. It’s now even targetable thanks to the advent of programmatic buying platforms. And – crucially – it works fantastically on a local level.

How to market your SMB Business using DOOH


One frequent concern for SMBs exploring digital display advertising is that their ads won’t stand up to those of larger businesses, with more expertise at hand and more budget to spend.

The good news is that SMBs can absolutely get noticed using DOOH advertising if they take the right approach. Below, we’ve listed a few tips that will help your DOOH ads stand out and your campaign soar to success.

Add Directions to Your DOOH Advertising Campaigns

So much of the appeal of digital signage and public outdoor advertisements is how they’re tied to a specific locality. If your potential customers are spending a lunch break in town, or facing a long interstate drive, they’re in a position to be tempted by your cafe, diner, or bricks-and-mortar store. Make it easy for them to find it by including directions in your advertisement.

A significant 69% of viewers that notice directions to businesses in digital street level ads immediately visited a business after exposure, with 92% making a purchase after visiting the business.

DOOH advertising, on a local level in particular, isn’t just about brand recognition. With the right content, it can drive action, leads and revenue too.

How to market your SMB Business using DOOH

Use Animations to Catch the Eye

Animations are one of the most effective modern marketing tools out there driving engagement time and providing eye-catching movement which can tie in well with social media campaigns.

To make your DOOH animations stand out, aim for:

  • Boldness: bright, single colors, simple text, not too much detail
  • Short animations or linking 2 – 3 images. You only have a limited time to capture your audience’s attention, so make it punchy
  • Dynamic content: movement catches the eye –even simple fly-in text can make a huge difference

As with everything, there’s a time and a place. Animations are meant to enhance and not to distract. Therefore, consider carefully where you will be advertising. Clearly, it wouldn’t be appropriate to have animations on roadside ads which may distract drivers. However, they can be used to great effect when people are stationary – waiting for a bus, or train for example. Similarly, in high pedestrian areas such as malls, supermarkets, office buildings and entertainment venues. The list is endless. The possibilities to promote your business quickly and cost-effectively are endless.

Use Humor Where Appropriate

In many circumstances, nothing makes your brand stand out more than when you can raise a smile. For small businesses in particular, this can have a huge impact.

Take the example of startup Emily’s Snacks below. Rather than cutting their losses and abandoning their campaign when their ads went live in spring 2020, they leaned into the misfortune of running their first major campaign right when COVID hit.

 A Bus Shelter using DOOH Advertising with digital screens

(Image source:

The posters drove huge engagement on social media when shared by the brand. Overall, the campaign was a huge success for Emily’s Snacks, and set the tone for future efforts.

A Bus Shelter using DOOH Advertising

(Image source:

Target the Right Audiences with Programmatic DOOH

One issue that has traditionally put SMBs off using DOOH campaigns is the lack of targeting options available. Traditional Out of Home advertising offers huge potential to reach mass audiences but lacks the ability to define who you want to see your ad, and when you want them to see it.

Thanks to programmatic DOOH advertising (or pDOOH), this is changing. You can now choose the target audience you advertise to.

Programmatic DOOH buying platforms work just like the platforms you use to buy online advertising.

Firstly, buyers set their budget, and the conditions they would like their ad displayed under. These could be (but are not limited to):

  • Time of day or specific date
  • Estimated footfall
  • External conditions like temperature, weather or even pollen count

The platform then automates the bidding process so that you only pay when those conditions are met. This means, you’re not just advertising to a mass audience – you’re advertising to a mass audience that you have specifically targeted and is thereby more likely to make a purchase.

Providing bright and bold directions to your cafe via DOOH is one thing. Running ads for a nice, steaming cup of coffee during commuting hours when temperature has dropped below freezing is an even bigger draw.

The Right Tools for the Job

To take advantage of everything programmatic DOOH advertising has to offer, you need the right buying platform. Look for a platform that offers great analytics, automated real-time bidding, and an interface you can get to grips within seconds.

At The Neuron, we pride ourselves on our huge range of real-time reports, easy bidding processes and intuitive platform. Simply upload your creative, find the inventory you want, and set it live in a couple of clicks.

Try The Neuron today