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3 ways to get the most out of your DOOH campaigns with enhanced targeting and attribution



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March 12, 2024 | 8 min read

Here, Ryan Pogy (director of data partnerships), explores the impact of declining third-party cookies on online advertising and the rise of data-driven strategies in programmatic digital out of home (prDOOH) advertising.

The ad industry's cookie addiction has historically given online advertising an unfair advantage over mass medium ad channels. They’ve provided a wealth of real-time audience data, allowing media buyers to pinpoint when a person viewed an ad. But, as the third-party cookie crumbles, the industry is in for a roller coaster ride. 

The playing field, however, will level across ad channels, especially as the programmatic digital out of home (prDOOH) industry invests in building tools that help buyers  better tap into data for DOOH campaign planning and measurement.  

Ad tech developers, agencies, and brands are collaborating to uncover more data-driven DOOH targeting and retargeting strategies and gain measurable insights into DOOH campaign performance, prompting a paradigm shift from location-first to audience-first targeting. If you're looking for a few pointers on using data and DOOH, consider these tips.

1. Talk targeting goals and options with your DSP 

It’s becoming easier to activate DOOH campaigns using audience segments that advertisers have leveraged for years (i.e. Nielsen) and audience types built on anonymously collected and privacy-compliant mobile device data. Mobile signal data offers a view into consumer movement patterns, which can reveal a lot about an audience: parents who take their kids to a tutoring center likely value education, or consumers who visit concert venues are probably music lovers, sharers, and/or streamers. Today, it’s possible to combine these insights with mobile signals passing in front of screens to ensure greater odds of reaching your intended audience. 

Outside of mobile data, there’s so much real-time information accessible today, which ad tech developers are working with third-party data providers to unlock, from real-time live sports and stock market data feeds to feeds detailing concert, festival, and community event dates and times, and local weather conditions.

With this information accessible in DOOH and omnichannel campaign planning tools, the targeting possibilities grow exponentially. Having real-time access to interest rate shifts might cue a bank into ideal timing for a mortgage ad. The bank could then use data from a real-estate platform to determine the areas where real-estate listings are most concentrated and target the ads accordingly. Or, if a soda brand wants to reach fans who follow a pop star, they could leverage concert tour venue location and timing to map DOOH ad planning to hotels and restaurants near each concert venue and along public transit paths. 

Historical data can also inform DOOH targeting strategies. Past event attendance numbers could be used to establish an audience profile based on who attended past concerts and ads could be planned accordingly for the next event. Point of Interest (POI) data also makes it easier to target a campaign to people who have visited a specific location. These approaches translate to a smarter use of ad spend. 

Regardless of the data you're using, think about refining your DOOH targeting strategy to ensure optimal results. While targeting a consumer packaged good (CPG) DOOH ad to a group that loves music and has visited a popular music streaming platform is an option, will that audience make a purchase? Could you refine your parameters? A more strategic approach might be to target audiences who visit that platform and have attended more than three concerts a year, as they’re more likely to make a CPG purchase. 

Leveraging data to target DOOH audiences on a granular level doesn’t just magically happen today, and there is manual work involved, but that's changing as ad tech providers innovate. That said, the industry is in a chicken-and-egg scenario. For tech developers to integrate more rich data streams into their platforms, the demand must exist, so brands and agencies need to talk to their DSP providers about available data and how they can leverage it to maximize DOOH campaign effectiveness. 

2. Make use of audience extension options

OOH is often used top-of-funnel, but there are ways to extend the message across channels. You can activate and engage with your target audience while an OOH ad campaign is running by leveraging QR codes with sequential messaging for deeper engagement - or passing back exposed device IDs to your DSP for retargeting across other channels or in near-real-time for mobile retargeting during the DOOH campaign flight.

Presently, a lot of campaigns leverage QR codes to engage audiences and retarget them when the time/location are right. Fans at a sporting event may be served ads from a quick-serve restaurant (QSR) on stadium signage offering a coupon. To activate the offer, they scan the QR code and are taken to a landing page, where they save the promotion to their wallets. Using location data, the wallet natively retargets that customer with a mobile reminder about the coupon when they get near that QSR. 

DOOH ad tech vendors have also worked to gain more mobile device exposure files while adhering to privacy regulations. This has allowed media buyers to use the mobile advertising IDs of consumers that passed near DOOH assets when an ad played to retarget those audiences sequentially on other digital ad channels. 

Most of the examples herein include DOOH as a launch point because the medium is a vehicle for mass awareness, but it also works the opposite way. Using data and select parameters, advertisers can target a specific audience using DOOH inventory in the locations they are most likely to frequent. If you’re targeting sports fans, you might start with mobile ads and augment those with DOOH ads based on geolocation data to extend the message in the areas they’re prone to visit (i.e. sports venues, bars, etc.). 

Regardless of your goals, keep an open line of communication with your DSP and talk to them early about your data options. They can provide suggestions on how to quickly retarget a specific audience already exposed to your campaign. 

3. Explore your attribution analytics options

PrDOOH is a lot more fluid because you’re purchasing inventory across multiple media owners based on inventory availability. While a screen in Times Square may be available today at 9 am, it might not tomorrow. This approach may ensure you get the best inventory price, but it also doesn’t  guarantee intended plays, which means it’s vital to measure campaign results.   

In the past, DOOH campaign analytics consisted of the specific locations a DOOH ad ran, estimated impressions, and the CPM, but with more data available today, DOOH attribution analytics are rapidly advancing. It’s easier to track the location data of audiences exposed to a campaign to estimate foot traffic and if those potential ad viewers may have visited a location within a set time of that exposure.

Web and app lift also looks at how a DOOH ad CTA may have driven website visits or app downloads and can inform campaign decisions based on quantitative results. Brand lift studies are also quickly becoming an advertising media standard. Coupled with campaign mobile exposure and retargeting capabilities, mobile surveys are now highly representative of exposed audiences and excellent for measuring DOOH campaign success. These reports provide visibility into creative performance and gauge whether the campaign is positively impacting brand awareness and perception, and purchase intent. 

While none of these may seem new, they’re becoming more accessible in DOOH and omnichannel ad tech. To this end, it’s important to allocate budget for measurement or talk to your DSP to see what kind of measurement their offering includes. They can execute many of these studies but need a clear understanding of your measurement objectives and priorities. 

When it comes to leveraging data with DOOH,  do your homework. Look for technology vendors offering an assortment of data pieces you can integrate into your campaign to target audiences more intelligently. Ask what kinds of data integrations or triggers are accessible via their platforms. What they tell you might surprise you; they may suggest something you didn’t think was possible or couldn’t have even imagined. 

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