What Is Digital Out Of Home Media?

Digital out-of-home media, also known as DOOH, is essentially traditional out of home media combined with AdTech. While traditional OOH takes advantage of public spaces to spread your brand’s message, DOOH takes it to the next level and allows you to create personalized and interactive content, while providing you with valuable information about your audience. A DOOH campaign involves placing digital signage in public areas, like shopping malls or sports stadiums. These digital displays will convey whatever messaging you design, whether it’s a static image, rotating images, or animated content. You have significant flexibility when it comes to designing your digital display.

How Does Digital Out Of Home Media Work?

Digital out-of-home media works similarly to traditional out of home media, except that it gives you more capabilities than traditional OOH. For example, digital billboards can take advantage of geofencing to target specific segments of the population, and digital displays can be updated in real-time to reflect changing content or targeted ads. Because of these added capabilities, DOOH advertising requires additional technical savvy, and can come with a steeper learning curve.

Like other forms of outdoor advertising, digital out of home media takes advantage of public spaces to ensure your ad is seen by as many people as possible. Digital ads are typically placed in high-traffic public areas, like commercial city centers and near busy retail centers.

How Digital Out Of Home Media is Bought

When it comes to designing your DOOH ad campaign, you have several options. Digital OOH has something for everyone, so consider what media buying option is right for your brand.


Real-time bidding, or RTB, is essentially an auction-based system that allows different advertisers to compete for specific users. This buying method is usually the most flexible option for advertisers because it provides additional capabilities and inventory. RTB is usually the most cost-effective method.

Programmatic Direct

Similar to traditional advertising methods, programmatic DOOH is a buying model where advertisers and sales representatives hash out a deal directly. In this model, the advertiser and the publisher will agree on a specific inventory that is based on fixed cost-per mille (CPM).

Programmatic Guaranteed

The programmatic guaranteed model, sometimes called the private marketplace, involves an invite-only auction process. This model is typically reserved for major media sites, and usually only involves a few select advertisers bidding for the publisher’s inventory.

Non-Programmatic Guaranteed

The non-programmatic guaranteed model involves more direct input, and inventory is sold at a fixed CPM rate. This model takes a lot more time and effort, and campaigns are usually less nimble as a result. Inventory is guaranteed but the process is much more cumbersome.

How Much Does Digital Out Of Home Media Cost?

Advertisers who are new to digital out-of-home media often make the mistake of thinking that DOOH is priced the same way as online ads. Although the models are similar, DOOH is different from other forms of advertising, and the pricing structure is unique.

The pricing of your ad campaign will depend on several different factors. The main consideration is the CPM, which measures the number of impressions your ad receives. This can be difficult to measure, because the number of people who passed an ad is not the same as the number of people who actually saw the content. Attempts to incorporate facial recognition technology into digital advertising have proved unpopular, and current industry practices usually avoid this technique.

Other factors influencing the cost of your campaign include whether or not the content is interactive, whether it will be updated in real-time, the cost to design the campaign, among many other factors.

Digital Out Of Home Media Locations

Digital out-of-home ads can appear in many different locations. Famous examples of DOOH locations include Times Square in NYC, or the Las Vegas strip. But DOOH isn’t limited to major thoroughfares: digital screens on bus shelters spruce up local bus stops, targeting commuters while they wait for the bus. Kiosks in shopping malls provide easy access to many target demographics, including suburban consumers. Digital screens placed in point of care facilities feature medical ad content for patients waiting to see their health care providers. Your ad could appear in train stations, giving commuters something to look at and engage with while they wait for their morning commuter train.

Pros and Cons of Digital Out Of Home Media

The main pro of using digital out-of-home media is the added flexibility and capabilities that DOOH offers. Because it incorporates the latest technology, DOOH allows you to target your content and better measure the outcomes. Digital screens also allow for greeted creative freedom, giving you the opportunity to design animated or interactive content.

Digital screens also stand up better to regular wear-and-tear than other forms of outdoor advertising, and the backlit screens ensure that your content will remain visible even under the worst weather conditions.

The biggest con to using DOOH is the steeper learning curve when you’re just getting started, and the added expense of managing a digital campaign. Traditional OOH is usually seen as a more affordable option.

Measuring Success of Digital Out Of Home Media

It is difficult to measure the success of any outdoor media campaign, because the number of people passing by does not directly correlate to the number of people actively looking at your ad. 


Although digital out-of-home media cannot narrowly target populations the way online ads can, it does give you some flexibility when it comes to reaching your target audience. Once you know your target demographics, you can adjust your ad campaign so that the content is displayed during the times they’re most likely to see it, for example.

Location Metrics

Location metrics are important when measuring the impact of any out of home ad campaign, but they only give you a partial picture. Location data can give you a general idea of how many people passed by an outdoor ad, but it doesn’t tell you how many people saw the content or engaged with it.

Measurement and Attribution Challenges

Similar to any form of outdoor advertising, it can be challenging to determine how effective your ad campaign is. However, there are several key factors that you should consider when determining the success of your DOOH campaigns. Perhaps most simply, you can look at the number of impressions your campaign received and relate that to the number of new customers you obtained during the period your ad was displayed.

Use Cases for Digital Out Of Home Media

Digital out-of-home media is great for brands looking to gain widespread brand awareness, and provides an excellent opportunity to target key demographics like sports fans and suburban shoppers.

Real Life Examples

Many brands are taking advantage of DOOH displays to create dynamic content in desirable locations. For example, CVS recently ran a digital ad social media campaign that encouraged users to upload their unedited selfies using the hashtag #BeautyUnaltered. When viewers used their mobile devices to share their content using the hashtag, their selfies were displayed on digital signage in New York's Times Square. CVS earned billions of impressions using this interactive digital campaign.

What Is The Future of Digital Out Of Home Media?

As digital out-of-home media continues to iterate and adapt to the latest technology, opportunities for brands to design innovative and exciting content will continue to proliferate.

DOOH Advertising Examples

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