The New Age for Digital Out of Home

Our latest webinar in conjunction with Campaign highlighted the growth and development in the Digital Out of Home industry and how this is helping contribute to increased ROI.

The webinar titled ‘Does DOOH increase ROI and Accountability’, confirmed that the developments in the sector have helped propel the industry into a new era of increased potential allowing OOH to deliver increased ROI.

The webinar hosted by Campaign and fronted by our CEO Alistair Hill was also supported by a myriad of Out of Home experts to discuss the topic further including Sophie Pemberton, Chief Strategy Officer at Talon Outdoor, Nicole Lonsdale, Chief Client Officer at Kinetic, Chris Forrester, Director of Commercial Outdoor at Global and Chris Felton, Director of Data and Insights at JC Decaux.

Webinar panel

The webinar kicked off with a summary of the latest study from On Device Research, which examines data from previous Out of Home studies over the last 5 years. When analysing data trends over this period, it has become clear that Digital Out of Home is performing with more dominance at the lower end of the purchase funnel, something not previously seen in the sector. In summary, the report demonstrates that:

  • Out of Home has shown significant increases in lower funnel brand metrics over the past 5 years.
  • This has been driven by the increase in Digital Out of Home which is more effective at moving lower funnel metrics compared to traditional Out of Home.
  • Out of Home is now showing stronger lower funnel metrics compared to digital and social media.

The New Age for Digital Out of Home report certainly highlights some of the key shifts in effectiveness seen across the sector over the last 5 years. These shifts are most pertinently seen since the onset of the pandemic. Following a summary of some of the report's key learnings, the panel then discussed some of the historical challenges surrounding the media's ability to measure with accuracy. However, Chris Felton, Director of Data and Insights from JC Decaux stated we now have more data available than ever before which is helping the industry gain more insights (with more accuracy) around its effectiveness. He also highlighted the importance of measuring the medium passively in order to understand its true output.

When it comes to econometric modelling, again, this traditionally has never fared well within the Out of Home space, but Sophie Pemberton from Talon Outdoor said there should be more pressure on econometricians to begin to use more of the new wealth of data that is becoming available as increasing levels of DOOH and pDOOH are bought and consumed. Unfortunately, it is felt that too often the right data is not always used within these techniques, which then doesn’t reflect as well on the medium’s ability to deliver.

So, what’s changed since the pandemic?

Our report demonstrates some big shifts for Digital Out of Home since the pandemic and the first poll of our webinar reinforced these changes. In answer to our first question ‘Have you planned or bought Digital Out of Home differently since the pandemic began?’, 67% stated they had changed their planning or buying techniques since 2020. But yet, Sophie from Talon stated on average only 10% of Digital Out of Home campaigns are being used to its full potential. Clearly, there is a lot more here that can be done.

Using DOOH differently

When it comes to programmatic, the estimated figure is around 5% of campaigns being traded and bought in this way. The panel agreed an education piece within this space is still required before further uptake is evident.

Nicole Lonsdale from Kinetic agreed that we are still only seeing small numbers of programmatic campaigns, but that there has definitely been an increase in this number since the pandemic. This is also set to rise, with more poll data within the webinar suggesting 80% are planning to use programmatic DOOH more as we progress into 2022.

Programmatic DOOH usage

Greater adoption within this area will allow for increased overall growth for the industry. This is because Digital Out of Home and Programmatic Digital Out of Home will allow more SME’s to enter the industry (Something that is also being driven by JC Decaux’s Nurture programme), allowing for a broader and more diverse range of clients. Smaller companies have also taken a like to Out of Home through it being a trusted and measurable medium. pDOOH will only continue to help drive that for smaller advertisers.

Chris Forrester from Global cemented this idea by highlighting how pDOOH can allow for more granular and targeted campaigns. This level of flexibility and agility then allows this wider client base to enter which is a win win for the industry. However, he also made a comment that it’s still important to work on the campaign triggers more comprehensively to ensure increased campaign success.

How is programmatic being used?

Chris Forrester highlighted 2 main ways in which it is currently being used at Global:

  1. A digital (online) add on - from a wider digital campaign already being bought through programmatic channels.
  2. Being bought in isolation

But what’s not generally being seen at the moment is programmatic digital out of home being used alongside a wider traditional OOH campaign. There is still scope for this to happen and by doing so incorporate its traditional strengths of driving mass awareness alongside its new ability for granular targeting and increasing intent to purchase.

Chris Felton stated that as an industry, we need to be using programmatic campaigns on a smaller scale at first to test and learn, allowing clients to make informed decisions with their data before using it on a larger scale.

How about the cost of DOOH? Can it really drive effective ROI?

A question from the audience interrogated the effectiveness of DOOH alongside its premium cost against traditional outdoor. However, Sophie from Talon highlighted that their 'Dare to Digitise' research proves that raising digital OOH share does increase profit, generating an incremental ROI of 46p for every £1 spent. She also argued that the industry should be moving away from a cost per panel mentality as this doesn’t correlate with how the medium is being bought via digital or programmatic channels.

This posed an interesting area for further focus. Chris Forrester stated that we often find ourselves measuring the new DOOH world in the old traditional ways. But we should appreciate they are different things with different outcomes.

Alistair also stated that the research via our latest report indeed states that DOOH is up to 4 times more effective when it comes to driving purchase intent. So there should definitely be no concerns in its ability to successfully drive ROI.

When it comes more specifically to programmatic, it was agreed that it is still in its infancy and there is an educational job to be done. Each panelist each gave a point to contribute to a wider checklist that clients/agencies should be asking when considering DOOH or pDOOH:

  • Can you measure it?
  • Have clarity on what you are trying to achieve.
  • Understanding the nuances of the Out of Home sector when it comes to activating programmatic campaigns (is not the same as digital).
  • Let’s share more data – the more we learn and the more insights we have, the better we channel future campaign success.
  • Move away from the instant gratification that pDOOH can provide. The real value of the channel is delivered in metrics and insights beyond this.
  • If you are investing in programmatic across digital, then why are you not considering pDOOH? pDOOH can provide the perfect test and learn entry point for many who are new to DOOH.

And that’s the key learning here. Programmatic Digital Out of Home has opened the industry to a much wider scope of potential clients. This is a huge opportunity for the industry. We all need to leverage the data and insight from these new campaigns in order to continue to not only prove its value but further evolve the sector into delivering even higher levels of ROI for clients.

What about the future?

As an industry, Chris Felton said we need to continue to collaborate more. This has already started happening but needs to continue in order to successfully bring more new advertisers to the medium. He also stated the importance of understanding attention and whether DOOH can look to plug the gap that the cookieless future will bring. Nicole from Kinetic stated there is huge scope for more creativity in OOH and whilst the industry already has some great examples to share, this isn’t always used to its full potential. Sophie from Talon stated there is still lots of potential for the industry to continue to grow and there is nothing but benefit to be seen when Digital Out of Home is used as part of a wider media mix.

Watch the webinar on demand:

Download our report on The New Age for Digital Out of Home:

For further information on how On Device Research can help provide a better understanding into DOOH campaign effectiveness, please visit or contact us today

Our latest highlights

Find out what’s driven our pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) below: