JCDecaux is the UK market leader in out-of-home (OOH) advertising solutions. We enable brands to reach consumers in airport, rail, roadside, and retail environments through traditional, digital, and programmatic advertising.

Founded: 1964
Staff: 500

Sector Experience

Out of Home
Programmatic Media

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How to up your omnichannel marketing game with programmatic DOOH

by Philippa Evans

April 13, 2023

In January this year (2023), Research by JCDecaux and MTM revealed that on average, people who buy programmatic digital out of home (prDOOH) are also involved in planning and buying at least four other channels. However, only just over half (54%) of prDOOH buyers are always directly involved in the planning and/or buying of one or more non-OOH channels. This highlights that although there has been a strong movement towards integrating OOH teams and digital/programmatic teams, there is still a way to go. By not integrating prDOOH into an omnichannel strategy marketers are missing an opportunity to bring together online and offline.

In this article, Philippa Evans (associate director – programmatic, JCDecaux UK) shares the most popular use cases for prDOOH in the media mix to create seamless online and offline experiences that deliver results.

Every marketer is an omnichannel marketer

As a budget owner, you need to know your spending budget at the right time in the right place to drive your desired outcomes. However, with research showing that, for example, combining social media and OOH can boost sales by 6% vs. social media alone, it is vital that every marketer understands how and when every channel in the media mix is being activated to maximize results.

It can be challenging for prDOOH buyers to navigate the landscape between the traditional OOH/DOOH and programmatic worlds. Our research showed that progress is being made with the most popular digital combinations (not including DOOH) being prDOOH plus display (66%), connected TV (CTV) (61%), in-app (60%), programmatic audio (53%), and video (50%).

To help marketers understand the opportunities available to refine media and creative choices based on real-time insights to reduce wasted ad spend and deliver more impactful campaigns, we’ve re-imagined some common audience targeting challenges faced by brands and agencies.

Understanding how and when consumers engage

Crafting a successful omnichannel strategy requires an in-depth understanding of your target audience - where they are, how to target them, and retarget them. However, with audience journeys becoming increasingly complex, traversing between online and offline, plus the loss of third-party data imminent, this is more challenging than ever.

Many agencies and brands are trying to reach consumers with performance marketing through online and offline advertising using a simple matrix of when consumers use mobile phones, desktops/laptops, when they listen to music, and when they watch TV. This is often supplemented by brand awareness campaigns. In some cases, these consist of the same channels as above just with different creative, in other cases they may involve non-programmatic one-to-many channels, like DOOH. But rarely is prDOOH in the mix – leaving a gap in strategic reach.

Maximizing efficiency across multiple channels

Let’s say I’ve invited some friends over for lunch this weekend and I want to cook some delicious but healthy food and I did a bit of research on my phone at lunch. On the way to my local shops, I pass a roadside ad featuring a new health-conscious food brand; outside the store, there’s also an advertising screen showing an ad from the same brand. On this occasion, I don’t make any purchases as it’s too far away from my lunch party, but the ads have given me food for thought (pun intended).

The next evening, I see an ad for the same brand as yesterday when streaming TV, and an ad for a competitor brand when I’m playing my favorite game on my phone on my way to work the day after that. The programmatic marketers reading this are probably thinking “so what” at this stage – this is classical omnichannel marketing using various engagement points within a brief period of time - proven to be highly effective in creating memorable brand experiences. The traditional OOH/DOOH buyers reading this are likely thinking that was some excellent location targeting, well played.

However, in this instance, the proximity triggering strategy applied in the DOOH element of this omnichannel campaign would have been best activated programmatically. This is because you can trigger ads based on mobile device IDs that have opted in and are close to an OOH screen that is part of a campaign. This increases the likelihood that your ads are going to be shown to your most valuable audiences.

The final push

Finally, let’s round out my healthy lunch with friends story. It’s the morning of the lunch and I head to the shops to buy all the ingredients I need. On my way, I see ads from the same brand as before, but the creative is different. This time the ad has a QR code I can scan to browse recipes – excellent, I needed some last-minute inspiration plus that competitor brand had been showing up a lot over the last 24 hours.

In the store, I look up the recipes using the webpage from the QR code I scanned on my way, but I need to double-check one of the ingredients, so I head over to a website I’ve used before and I see a complementary message to the one I saw on the way to the shop featuring a different dish which is just perfect. I’m at the till in a jiffy with everything I need.

The on-the-go omnichannel opportunity

The ability to use privacy-compliant, anonymized mobile IDs to target and retarget consumers makes prDOOH a valuable part of the omnichannel marketer’s toolkit. Parameters for targeting can be set around audience concentration, geofenced areas, offline behaviors, environmental conditions, and proximity to a point of interest.

Where prDOOH has an edge over online channels, is that audience behaviours offline serve as more precise signals of interest and intent. Online, audiences navigate a myriad of websites that are not always directly correlated to a core, actionable, interest. Comparatively, audiences at physical gyms, for instance, are more clearly signalling their interest in health and fitness. Leveraging programmatic technology, marketers combine the most accurate sources of online intent data and easily target consumers showing elevated levels of intent in close proximity to DOOH screens near gyms, ensuring they reach their intended audience.

Going back to the omnichannel piece, recent research by JCDecaux UK, Clear Channel, Global and Posterscope shows that mobile searches conducted in out of home locations are 38% more likely to lead to a purchase compared to mobile searches conducted at home. Additionally, 62% of consumers believe that a relevant location callout would make them more likely to search. This highlights the importance of incorporating an understanding of how and when consumers switch between devices, as well as when they are on the go but still in the purchase mindset.

Leveraging social content

For brands investing in either paid-for or organic social media marketing, prDOOH offers a valuable opportunity to make that content work harder. Social media is popular among marketers as it comprises highly engaging video content, a wealth of audience data, and real-time optimization. PrDOOH boasts the same benefits.

Best-performing video and static creative used in social media can easily be transferred to prDOOH campaigns, and campaigns can be activated in the same demand-side platform (DSP) meaning that incremental performance gains are easily measured. Campaigns can be optimised in-flight meaning that should a social media post not go down too well, it can be immediately removed from the prDOOH campaign minimising any risk to brand reputation.

However, there can be issues with consumer trust and perceptions of social media. Research by JCDecaux UK and Clear Channel shows that consumers are more likely to trust brand messaging in out of home environments and that consumers are more likely to engage with brands they trust. If you’re investing in social media, it’s definitely worth considering adding a prDOOH element to help build trust.

From an activation perspective, prDOOH enables brands to implement proximity targeting to reach audiences that match with your most-engaged social audiences, the ability to use mobile device IDs to retarget consumers, and the ability to measure changes in performance when different combinations of channels are in play.

Brand discovery

Emerging brands rely heavily on website sales driven by social media advertising. While this is an effective sales strategy, it lacks the ability to build brand fame.

In the past, DOOH has been a channel that’s invested in later in a brand’s journey. However, it’s also been the channel that has propelled many brands to fame and rapid growth above what can be achieved with online.

Programmatic DOOH’s unique ability to target and measure audience density and apply machine learning capabilities means budgets can be optimized in-flight to ensure maximum impact. Furthermore, using an omnichannel DSP, marketers can easily see how each channel is contributing to overall performance and control where and when budgets are deployed across channels for maximum omnichannel effectiveness.

The price conscious shopper

For brands with price-sensitive customers, prDOOH offers the ability to leverage dynamic pricing, cross-sell location- or audience-specific best-performing products and offer transferable online and offline deals via QR codes.

A restaurant chain, for example, could target mobile app users with a two-for-one dinner deal in the hours leading up to dinner service on days when bookings are low. Geolocation data could then be used to target screens close to restaurant locations across the country, and creative can be tailored to the local area showing the most popular dishes in that town or city.

Weather triggers can also be woven into this strategy (as well as others). For example, this month the weather is flip-flopping between duller, rainy days and beautiful sunny spring days. Our restaurant chain could use this to its advantage and switch creative to show more warming foods on days when it’s cold, and lovely fresh spring dishes when the temperatures rise.

This type of contextual messaging gives marketers the edge in a world where attention spans are low, wallets are held tight and background noise is at an all-time high.

The future of prDOOH in the media mix

OOH, in all its guises, has a unique resilience to the challenges affecting other channels. When you add programmatic capabilities, there is a clear opportunity for integration into a wider omnichannel strategy leveraging prDOOH’s ability to find and target specific audiences.

When brands can do this effectively, they are more likely to deliver messaging consistently across multiple touch points and channels through the consumer journey and increase their chances of creating impactful experiences where they matter most and make the experience feel personalised to the customer.

Legacy marketing plans and technology platforms should not drive omnichannel marketing strategies. With prDOOH you get all the benefits afforded by technology without having to worry about cord-cutters, channel switchers, or regular ad-blockers. Collaborative planning across omnichannel journeys and incorporating messaging that resonates with consumers seamlessly across channels gives brands a competitive edge. When you can offer consumers personalised attention you win their attention in return, in the moments that matter most.


Brand marketing