How Programmatic DOOH Can Extend the Reach and Impact of Mobile Ad Campaigns

Marketers and advertisers are always seeking the Holy Grail – delivering the right ad to the right audience at the right moment. Today, technology advancements in digital out of home (DOOH), mobile, and programmatic are converging to finally bring us within reach of that goal – translating to a more enjoyable ad experience for the consumer, better results and more meaningful data for advertisers, and more efficiency and profitability for publishers. Through data-driven inventory buying, audience targeting, and situational awareness, we can extend the reach of mobile campaigns and increase the relevance of DOOH media.

In recent years programmatic has been transforming all areas of advertising, though it means slightly different things for DOOH. Similar to programmatic buying for online displays, programmatic DOOH adds automation to the process of buying inventory and setting the parameters for a campaign; but more specifically with DOOH, it gives advertisers greater data-driven control over which physical locations to target based on timing and factors such as traffic patterns, weather, and other relevant information.

Media buyers are now beginning to realize the flexibility and potential for programmatic in the DOOH space – this was confirmed in a survey of media planners conducted by the Digital Place Based Advertising Association (DPAA), which shows that they are increasingly likely to recommend DOOH as programmatic capabilities ramp up. The same survey also shows that DOOH is exponentially rising in importance for “video everywhere” campaigns as compared to other media, going from 31% to 58% in three years – DOOH is expected to match the importance of traditional broadcast TV in 2019 – and that media planners are increasingly combining DOOH and mobile due to advancements in geo-targeting.

There are several notable advantages to combining programmatic DOOH with mobile campaigns. One is that advertisers will have a bigger creative canvas for mobile campaigns. Mobile is an incredibly personal medium, but the screen is limiting – there are much more interesting creative possibilities when you pair mobile with a 50-foot or 150-foot digital display.

The second advantage is increased reach. Geo-targeted mobile campaigns typically under-deliver. Say for instance a restaurant wants to use mobile to target consumers within 500 meters – the audience is there, but they might not be looking at their phones while they’re on the go. Extending that mobile campaign to include digital signage within a specific range can increase the chances of the message getting delivered.

Ultimately we can liken DOOH to a doorway and mobile to a store – signage will catch consumers’ attention and entice them into more targeted, interactive, place-based mobile experiences. With mobile alone, advertisers are totally dependent on whether consumers pull out their phones, and even then, the creative is hampered by size. DOOH serves as the doorway prompting people to look at their phones and trigger a mobile interaction. The combination transforms your audience from passive viewers to active participants – and transforms your campaigns from a static product to a dynamic experience. This also builds on proven data from Nielsen showing that OOH advertising drives online activations at nearly three times the rate of other media such as television and print.

We know that the most memorable ads have proven to be ones that prompt audiences to participate in a value exchange – the combination of programmatic DOOH and mobile can make this a reality, helping advertisers cut through the noise and clutter as consumers are continually bombarded with ads that often offer no value or relevancy.

We’re starting to see really intelligent tactics in the combination of DOOH and mobile, such as using mobile data to identify less obvious commuting routes, leading buyers to shift from giant freeway boards to street signage for more cost effective ad buys. Furthermore, mobile data and programmatic tools can be used to maximize DOOH visibility at specific days and times – for instance, a luxury car company can target routes near financial centers during peak commute hours, but only on days when the stock market is performing well. Stadium ads for beer can change messages depending on if the home team wins or loses. Weather can trigger a food ordering service to promote pickup on sunny days or delivery on rainy days. And so forth.

The combination of programmatic DOOH and mobile also has very exciting implications for the future of smart cities. Any digital sign has the potential to serve as a contextual, interactive touch screen, with possibilities for transportation, retail, public safety, and much more. Westfield shopping centers are already experimenting with some of these futuristic ideas, and it will be interesting to see these techniques applied in larger and less controlled environments.

As more and more stakeholders begin to realize the potential for extending the reach and impact of their mobile campaigns by adding a programmatic DOOH component, it’s important to evaluate the capabilities of the programmatic technology, as DOOH considerations differ from traditional programmatic digital ad buys. It’s crucial that any programmatic buying tools are optimized for location-based orders, with varying data triggers to choose locations accordingly and thereby maximize ad spend. Physical location, as well as relevant factors such as train schedules, weather, and local sports matchups, must all be taken into consideration to achieve success.