How Programmatic Digital Out-of-Home has Rapidly Become the Fastest Growing Advertising Channel

How Programmatic Digital Out-of-Home has Rapidly Become the Fastest Growing Advertising Channel

Written by: Aliana Heffernan, Marketing Associate at Vistar Media


Digital out-of-home (DOOH) is an incredibly effective and powerful tool, no matter what goals you want to achieve with your marketing campaigns. In fact, programmatic DOOH offers the benefits  of digital media - targeting, automation, measurement – with the added benefit of being able to reach consumers in the real world. Innovations such as weather triggers, real-world retargeting on mobile and first-party data activation are just a few of the innovations that are pushing DOOH to the forefront of advertising.


But before we get into how programmatic DOOH is changing the media landscape, let’s back up and dig into why you should care about it in the first place.


Why Digital Out-of-Home?


Now more than ever before, consumers are on-the-go, spending much of their time away from traditional advertising channels, such as TV, print and display. According to Nielsen, during an average week, U.S. travelers spend an average of 18 hours and 32 minutes driving or riding in a vehicle, at an average of 3 hours and 14 minutes per weekday. That’s not including time spent at work or school, shopping, on their mobile phones or doing other activities. It’s during these moments when digital out-of-home becomes one of the only available channels marketers can leverage to reach consumers.


At its most basic level, digital out-of-home provides brands with greater access to consumers on the path to purchase – at public transportation hubs or with roadside billboards - and at the point-of-purchase – in malls, grocery stores, and other retail locations. However, this media channel has so much more to offer.

Beyond activating in contextual environments and leveraging a repeated exposure strategy, marketers have the option to retarget consumers exposed to DOOH on mobile, opening even greater opportunities to reinforce their brand message. In addition to mobile retargeting, there is a wide variety of data solutions for advertisers, whether it is secured through a third-party partner or shared through a first-party data platform.


Further, digital out-of-home campaigns can now have end-to-end measurement, allowing brands to demonstrate clear ROI for their marketing initiatives. Reporting can show brand lift, foot traffic, sales lift, performance in a certain DMA and the effects of cross-screen exposure. No matter your KPIs, there is a digital out-of-home solution available.


Need to react quickly to breaking news or have incremental budget for a last minute push? Want to make a splash with bold creative or unique digital experiences? Digital out-of-home can deliver.

Ultimately, when marketers leverage digital out-of-home, they are creating an impactful way to engage with consumers throughout the day, while they are on the path to purchase as well as at the point of purchase. With programmatic, that impact is amplified.


At this point, most digital buyers are familiar with the basics of programmatic – for example:


Say you browsed through Banana Republic’s website on your phone. Later in the day, you open Instagram and start scrolling through your feed, and a Banana Republic ad pops up of the exact shirt you were looking at while on their site. This is retargeting, which identifies users that have been to a client’s website.


Much like cookies in the online world, layering location data with a digital out-of-home campaign strategyenable targeting that allows brands to reach the right consumers, at the right time, in the right place.

It’s then easy to see why marketers should be jumping at the bit to combine the power of programmatic with the benefits of digital out-of-home.


So next, let’s talk about adoption.

The Programmatic Digital Out-of-Home Revolution


It’s easier than ever before for agencies and brands to leverage digital out-of-home media. DOOH now offers the same features and requires similar methods of transaction as other forms of digital media. Whether your strategy requires data activation, sophisticated targeting, programmatic automation, measurement with clear ROI, or unique creative, DOOH can do it all – with the added benefit of being able to reach consumers as they move throughout their day, when they’re on the path to purchase or at the point of purchase.


Programmatic technology has been able to provide digital out-of-home buyers with the functionality they need, allowing the medium to flourish, especially as concerns over brand safety in the online world have increased. Digital out-of-home has become increasingly important as marketers seek to apply consistent strategies across omnichannel campaigns. By merging the ease of digital media buying with the out-of-home format, brands are recognizing the value of this once dated medium. More and more, you will see brands leverage digital out-of-home for campaigns that include mobile, video, experiential and more. Ultimately, the possibilities are endless with this highly impactful and flexible marketing channel.



Aliana Heffernan is a creative professional with a focus on digital marketing, social media and content creation. Since joining Vistar Media in 2017, Aliana has led content marketing efforts across the company, including the Vistar Media blog, social channels and website, in addition to helping with industry event planning and public relations initiatives. Prior to working with the Vistar team, Aliana worked for Condeco Software and Colin Cowie Weddings. Aliana holds a BS in communication and theater from Cornell University. 
Vistar Media
Since 2012, Vistar Media has been dedicated to building the end-to-end programmatic ecosystem for digital out-of-home (DOOH). Our proprietary technology – comprising a demand-side platform (DSP), supply-side platform (SSP), ad server and infrastructure management software – delivers a powerful solution that brings the benefits of digital to a traditional medium, while still recognizing and appreciating the nuances that make OOH a unique and impactful medium.