VIOOH is a leading global digital out of home marketplace. Launched in 2018 and with headquarters in London, VIOOH’s platform connects buyers and sellers in a premium marketplace, making OOH easily accessible.

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Digital out of home: myths and legends (Part 2)


July 1, 2021

By Natalia Escribano, Chief Commercial Officer, VIOOH

As I mentioned in Part One, there are many assumptions bandied around about digital out of home (OOH) and many of these are often untrue or inaccurate. In part-two of our series, I want to further discuss how the technology to deliver digital outdoor advertising has transformed at pace over the last few years – and the global pandemic has created an interlude of digital transformation as people are returning outdoors.

Here are a few (more!) ways to maximise digital OOH campaigns and deliver real value for brands.

How can I ensure scale when targeting a specific audience?

Programmatic digital OOH delivers scale through a number of routes. Brands can react to ever-changing conditions with trigger-based targeting around promotions, news, audiences and consumer journeys, locations, weather and environmental conditions, time and moments.


DOOH traded programmatically raises brand awareness and drives footfall through location-based conditional trigger campaigns (e.g. train delays or weather). For example, GlaxoSmithKline ran a campaign for anti-histamine medication Piriteze in the UK on a non-guaranteed basis that utilised pollen levels as the trigger for activation. Once the pollen levels dropped, GSK was able to stop the campaign and recoup unspent media budget, showing the efficiencies of programmatic that would not have been so easily possible with traditional ways of buying OOH.

Targeting by time of day - in the right moments

DOOH campaigns can be adapted in real-time or by time of day to target different audiences with more relevant messages (e.g. morning commuters vs. evening commuters).

Virgin Active Gyms, for example, used digital screens to target and congratulate early morning ‘gym bunnies’ in a slightly different way to those who it was reminding to go, as normal, in the evening after work. Footfall uplift (0.42%) measurement, showed users 2.30x more likely to visit Virgin Active gyms when exposed to the campaign.

It’s also possible to feed in real-time data to inform programmatic DOOH campaigns. From pollen count for allergy medicine to live transport updates, DOOH can adapt to coordinate with peoples’ literal journeys, as well as their digital ones.

For example, an advert for a London tourist attraction in St Pancras Station could be timed to be displayed exactly at the same time as hundreds of excited tourists coming in on the Eurostar. If the train is delayed by an hour, so too is the ad.

(Actual) Customer Journey

To strengthen the impact of an omnichannel campaign, DOOH can map and match the physical journey of consumers. For example, beginning the consumer journey with a DOOH ad at the station on the way to work, can then be continued by serving more actionable ads on mobile and other channels afterwards.

John Lewis wanted to increase footfall to their stores across the UK, and targeted frames in close proximity to JL stores and competitor retailers. The result was a 73% uplift in store visitation.

Mobile & DOOH

Brands are able to leverage the affinity of mobile and digital OOH through geotargeting, movement tracking, retargeting and sequential messaging, for targeting and cross-channel optimisation. Mobile advertising when combined with digital OOH can drive high levels of in-store visits and app downloads.

For example, in the second burst of activity for Virgin Active gyms, using learnings from the first one, programmatic optimisation delivered improved results and greater media efficiencies. It delivered a 54% increase in walk-ins compared with the first burst and 2.44x uplift in footfall.

Why would I do a programmatically-triggered campaign programmatically rather than going direct to the media owner?

The merits of being able to utilise high impact, premium OOH inventory to create awareness or intrigue while also activating the campaign in a smart way using programmatic trading and event-based triggers, can work extremely successfully. Analysing and optimising at individual OOH screen level mid-campaign, and seeing its impact on metrics such as footfall, in-store and online purchases, means that with programmatic, OOH can now truly be considered as both a branding and performance channel.

Trigger-based buying using data around promotions, news, consumer journeys, location, weather, environmental conditions, time and moments means campaigns can be adjusted automatically or only displayed once certain criteria are met, reducing wastage. The creative used in DOOH ads can also easily be changed, amended, or even paused, in near real time. The creative can be replaced automatically to respond to the external environment or other triggers, maximising effectiveness.

For example, a campaign for Renault ZOE calculated air pollution levels, enabling bidding on screens in the vicinity of high and medium pollution locations. The creative was adjusted based on the live data, and based on the full campaign (TV, OLV and OOH), it delivered 144% increase in searches on Google.

When Nespresso wanted to resolve the issue of stabilising their in-store visitors throughout the day, they used a “digital doorman” and programmatically served DOOH in a mall environment. Creative executions included real-time information around in-store queue times and time-limited offers to drive in-store visits. The campaign stabilised visits throughout the day, and brand metrics, footfall and sales all saw significant uplift, with a huge 19.5% sales uplift across all Nespresso products.

In another example, Otto Group Media used smart segmentation of two key target groups for their latest campaign: Gen Y and Gen Z. Specific creatives were produced for each of these target groups, displaying specialised products tailored to the audience group, and an extra layer of time of day and weather was also added as a trigger to produce a truly dynamic campaign. Outstanding recall values were achieved with 44% recognition (recognition of the DOOH spots). The spot designed for the target group of 20 to 29 year olds led to above average recall in this target group with 47%. People who had contact with the ad perceived Otto to be 32% stronger as a modern brand than people who had no contact with the DOOH campaign.

What creative solutions can I use to retarget the audience that’s been exposed to OOH?

There are many creative solutions to use for retargeting. A popular option is for brands to leverage the affinity of mobile and digital OOH through geotargeting, movement tracking, retargeting and sequential messaging, for targeting and cross-channel optimisation.

And the research supports the added value of using mobile and OOH together:

Eye-tracking researchers found there was a 52% increase in the time spent looking at the private screen (mobile) when there had been ‘priming’ on a public screen, boosting dwell time.

Spontaneous brand recall also increases to 21% when exposed to both OOH and mobile.

Research conducted by Outsmart showed a 17% uplift in smartphone brand actions when the user is exposed to the OOH ad first.

Add programmatic OOH (prOOH) into the equation and the capabilities kick up a notch further. Programmatic OOH, with its high-impact broadcast screens, trigger-based creatives and maximum targeting and flexibility capabilities is the perfect partner for mobile - and these two mediums can work together in harmony to create the ultimate brand experience.

Metrics such as the click-through rate on a specific mobile ad geo-targeted to users who have been exposed to a prOOH ad, the use of special promo or QR codes integrated through the programmatic OOH creative and actioned via mobile, and the ability to track the number of users who followed a specific code in a personal device are just some of the functionalities made possible by bringing the two mediums together.

Digital OOH delivers omnichannel synergy across strategy, planning and targeting, with messages reiterated to deliver a unified experience.

There are many ways to maximise digital OOH campaigns and deliver real value for brands, so don’t get caught out with irrelevant preconceptions, myths or legends. Now is the time to harness this impactful digital media channel – and experience the benefits and value programmatic OOH consistently delivers for brands.

In case you missed it check out Part 1 - for some more myth-busting facts.

Natalia Escribano is Chief Commercial Officer at VIOOH. For more information visit:


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