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DOOH in review: 2023 advertising trends and predictions for 2024

By Marissa Andrade | VP of marketing, North America

Vistar Media

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December 18, 2023 | 13 min read

Here, Vistar Media's Marissa Andrade (VP marketing, North America) looks back at 2023's biggest DOOH trends, and predicts what 2024 has in store for the channel.

Ten square gran turismo digital out of home advertisement

2023 was an exciting year for digital out-of-home (DOOH). We saw the channel supersede its pre-pandemic share of total ad dollars, more brands lean into data-driven creative strategies, and the continued adoption of programmatic technology.

As we close out another year, it’s a smart time to reflect on the trends that took 2023 by storm – and highlight those we expect to be top of mind in 2024 and beyond. Let’s dive in.

2023 DOOH advertising trends

A heightened focus on DOOH as part of the omnichannel marketing strategy

It’s no surprise that competition for consumer attention gets tougher each year. In fact, it’s estimated there are 4.4 million businesses started every year. So, it’s safe to say that not only are brand marketers faced with standing out against hundreds, maybe even thousands, of competitors, they’re also challenged with capturing their consumers’ attention in a matter of seconds before it’s too late.

This makes it critical, and even a requirement, to build a strong omnichannel strategy that engages consumers across several advertising channels in a cohesive way. Fortunately, more and more brands have recognized the importance of taking an omnichannel approach, specifically looking at ways to integrate DOOH into their current media mix, in a way that will better connect with their audiences both online and offline.

Thanks to programmatic technology, advanced data capabilities and expanding creative horizons, it’s becoming easier and more effective for marketers to extend their core brand campaigns from digital media channels to out-of-home (OOH), one of the most trusted and favorable advertising channels out there.

OOH is truly a full funnel channel, and it’s been exciting to see brands and agencies start to fully realize this huge opportunity that is enabling programmatic DOOH to sit alongside their other media channels.

Inventory quality over quantity

In 2023, we saw advertisers invest more in programmatic DOOH, and therefore, expect more transparency and reassurance around their media buys. Ensuring their campaigns were running across premium, high-quality and trusted screens became a bigger priority as budgets continued to grow. As marketing budgets are continually reevaluated due to economical factors and other media channels fight for more dollars, it’s becoming more crucial for DOOH media owners to accurately and consistently assess their inventory quality for advertisers.

This need for inventory quality standards led to the establishment of Vistar Verify – a program aimed at increasing buyer trust in DOOH and ensuring the programmatic marketplace maintains the highest levels of inventory quality. It’s imperative that advertisers feel confident in the media channels they’re investing in, so we can expect to see the focus on OOH media quality continue through 2024.

Pushing creative boundaries in DOOH

In 2023, the industry embraced a rejuvenated focus on creative excellence in OOH. It’s clear that an ad’s effectiveness hangs on the creative concept, and whether it can elicit an emotion or desired action in the few seconds an advertiser has their consumer’s attention. With that, we’ve seen more and more brands lean further into the technological advancements of the DOOH channel to deliver truly exceptional creative messages to the people that matter most to them.

A few ways advertisers have pushed creative boundaries in 2023

NBA playoffs digital out of home (DOOH) advertisement

Dynamic creative

We’ve seen many brands leverage the power of dynamic creative. Whether incorporating details to the nearest retail location to drive foot traffic, pulling in live scoring or the latest sports match-up details to generate tune-in (see how the NBA did this), or even highlighting current weather conditions to promote a tourism destination, the opportunities to customize OOH creative with data are endless and effectively being implemented.

Anamorphic and 3D

OOH has always been quite the spectacle – offering marketers a bold creative canvas to display their eye-catching imagery and compelling messaging. With recent technological advancements, it’s no surprise that advertisers have pushed DOOH boundaries with larger-than-life anamorphic and 3D digital displays.

This type of advertising truly reinforces the notion that creativity in advertising is limitless, and now advertisers have the technology to bring their wildest creative dreams to life.

Faux OOH

We saw brands like Maybelline and Glossier dip into faux OOH, which involves creating images or videos of captivating – but fake – OOH installations, often promoting online to drive buzz and social chatter around a brand.

Interactive elements

Finally, advertisers searched for additional ways to make their OOH advertising assets more interactive and engaging for consumers. This included incorporating QR codes into DOOH assets to drive consumers to a brand’s website, mobile app or social media, and even prioritizing video DOOH advertising to better capture attention and interest.

2024 DOOH advertising predictions

The year of retail media networks

Brand marketers, retailers and media buyers alike undoubtedly heard the words “retail media network” too many times to count this year. This concept has exploded in recent years and for good reason – retailers monetizing their existing digital channels as an additional revenue stream for advertisers is genius. In light of this growth, however, it’s imperative for advertisers to identify new ways to differentiate their brand, products or services within a now competitive RMN ecosystem.

However, the full in-store opportunity is yet to be fully realized. In-store retail media offers massive audiences for brick-and-mortar retailers that are an average of 70% larger than digital audiences, according to data from Placer.ai and Comscore Media Metrix Multi-Platform. Think about it – these retailers have recurring audiences that come in weekly and sometimes daily, spending most of their money on brands sold inside these stores. This presents an enormous opportunity for marketers to reach consumers when they’re in a purchasing mindset through place-based DOOH – which can be located inside or on-premise of retail locations.

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Last-minute ad placements like these can play a pivotal role in one brand’s product being added to a customer’s shopping cart over another, and is a big reason why DOOH is becoming a key component in the RMN ecosystem. I expect we’ll see retailers continue to add high-quality DOOH screens to their store locations in order to capitalize on this increasing demand.

Efficiency and attribution = the name of the game

Brand marketers and their agencies are hyper-focused on doing more with less in the current economic climate, which ultimately places a stronger emphasis on trusted attribution solutions for their media investments.

Luckily, DOOH is one advertising channel that has become more precise and measurable than ever, thanks to advanced technology and providers focused on pushing the bounds. Today, brands can measure their DOOH efforts across full funnel KPIs – including awareness, consideration, purchase intent, foot traffic, sales lift, web conversions and more.

For example, Jack in the Box recently conducted a foot traffic study to evaluate the lift in restaurant visits as a result of its programmatic DOOH campaign. Remarkably, the study found that verified DOOH exposure resulted in more than a million store visits for the national QSR brand. That’s the power of precise measurement, and we’ll see more brands lean on measurement solutions to prove the effectiveness of their campaigns in 2024 and beyond.

Jack in the box DOOH ad

A need for contextual targeting amid privacy concerns

For years, third-party cookies have been a cornerstone of digital advertising – allowing marketers to target users with personalized ads and gain insights into consumer behavior. In fact, studies have found that 75% of marketers rely heavily on third-party cookies for targeting.

However, negative public sentiment, government regulations and browser restrictions have made it increasingly difficult for brands to use third-party cookies to track and advertise against user activity. To thrive in this new era of marketing, brands will need to rethink their advertising strategies and lean into alternative methods that allow them to prioritize user privacy.

Fortunately, DOOH provides a highly impactful way for brands to reach their target audience without relying on third-party cookies or other forms of personally identifiable information. Being a one-to-many medium, DOOH is designed to reach multiple viewers simultaneously – making it an inherently privacy-compliant advertising channel.

Further, DOOH screens are often integrated within contextually relevant environments and directly within consumers’ daily lives, such as office buildings, malls, gyms, grocery stores and more. This allows brands to hyper-target groups of consumers vs. consumers at an individual level, activating advertising in relevant environments to ensure their message is seen by the right people at the right times. As we move closer to an official cookieless world, contextual targeting will continue to be a smart play for brands, regardless of the medium.

DOOH takes center stage

2023 was a great one for our industry – we saw more marketers recognize how DOOH fits into the wider media mix, how the medium can help extend and amplify a campaign’s impact, an establishment of inventory quality standards to increase buyer trust, and bigger, bolder and more personalized creative executions.

These advancements are big reasons why the trajectory of programmatic DOOH remains so strong, and why the channel is poised for continued growth and innovation for many years to come. 2024 may be the most exciting year for DOOH yet.

Content by The Drum Network member:

Vistar Media

Vistar Media is the leading global provider of programmatic technology for digital out-of-home (DOOH). With a mission of enhancing every OOH transaction with automation, data and measurement, Vistar has established the most comprehensive marketplace for programmatic out-of-home transactions via a demand-side platform (DSP), supply-side platform (SSP), and data management platform (DMP). Vistar also offers core infrastructure software for media owner networks, via the Vistar Ad Server and device and content management platform (Cortex). Headquartered in New York, NY, Vistar has rapidly expanded since its founding in 2012 and now partners with some of the world’s leading brand marketers and media owner networks in more than 20 countries globally. For more information, visit www.vistarmedia.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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