Five tips to develop an effective Digital Out of Home (DOOH) campaign

We’ve had the hardware and software revolution thanks to major investment across Out of Home’s digital media estate. Now it’s time for the creative revolution!

A rich and diverse Digital Out of Home landscape is now in place, bursting with possibility and unfettered by the constraints associated with the traditional medium. This turbo-charged channel offers an infinite number of ways to reach, connect and entertain a consumer audience.

Campaigns can be smart, agile, relevant, more personalized, and therefore more memorable than ever before.

This digital canvas can react in real-time, messages can be data-driven, and executions can offer direct interaction via a multitude of technologies, all deeply embedded in the big idea. It’s time to shake off the shackles and methodologies of the past and embrace the brave new world of DOOH marketing.

Here are five top tips for developing awesome DOOH display campaigns:

1. Embrace the available technology

Sounds obvious, but the DOOH medium is no longer just about digital “posters”. It’s a connected, reactive, live and interactive conduit capable of reaching broadcast level audiences with personalized and memorable messaging.

Simplistically, the medium has seen four creative profiles for activity emerge:

  1. Linear
  2. Dynamic
  3. Interactive
  4. Experiential

90% of the DOOH campaigns out there are still running on a linear profile, using 10 – 20 second spots, running in a loop.

But, the medium can do more. The infrastructure is there to facilitate dynamic campaigns, reflecting real-world events in real-life environments, on a global scale.

Campaigns can also be highly targeted, even down to your gender and mood. They can also utilize a multitude of interactive technologies from touch, gesture, to AR, NFC and mobile integration.

There’s a world of possibility and it’s important to understand what the medium has to offer in order to start exploiting its full creative potential

2. Think integrated

As DOOH becomes more “digital,” it becomes more agile, richer, and better able to play its part in a big idea.

As a plugged in medium, DOOH can be the active element in a multi-layered campaign. It can create buzz, break news, invite interaction, and help to drive content and discussions online.

Great DOOH campaigns are ones that sit comfortably within the wider brand strategy and capture the imagination.

A great example of this was “Oreo Eclipse” – a DOOH activation to give the British public the eclipse that the overcast weather threatened to spoil.


The integrated campaign ran across print, social, and DOOH media and a 10-second time lapse video of the DOOH activation also went viral in over 40 countries.

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DOOH can also be a great springboard for generating shareable content that gains traction online.


Some great examples of this include Google’s “Androidify” activation, which saw Android characters and multiplayer action from participants in over 150 countries.

“Show Your Disney Side,” is another example of DOOH campaign with online reach.

A storefront façade became the backdrop for projecting the shadows of passing shoppers, only the shadows took on the form of Disney mainstays Mickey Mouse and Goofy.

Hilarious footage capturing the reactions of shoppers was shared online and went on to achieve over 110M views and became the #2 most viral ad of 2015 (Adweek).


3. Go for scale

Digital inventory is everywhere. Addressability through platforms such as OpenLoop, means the medium’s diversity and technological complexity is no longer a barrier to delivering multi-market campaigns.

It’s now feasible to develop and push advertising creative far and wide, making DOOH the perfect medium for brands that need to reach global audiences in one push.

Entertainment brands are at the forefront of scaling through DOOH. For Zack Snyder’s latest superhero release, Batman v Superman, Warner Bros. promoted the film via a DOOH campaign which spanned 20 territories.

Even interactive campaigns are also now possible at scale. Xbox ran an Augmented Reality activation in San Francisco, London, and Melbourne to launch Sunset Overdrive.

So go for scale and leverage creative and production budgets by addressing DOOH networks in multiple countries from a centralized hub.


4. Be smarter and harness the Context Effect

DOOH is perfect for Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO). The medium’s bold, high-impact presence demands a fresh, evolving, and engaging creative approach that resonates with context and audience mind-set.

In fact, programmatically informed creative is already proving its worth across the sector. Research carried out by Talon Outdoor measured the effect of smart contextual DOOH campaigns on standard metrics, such as personal relevance, consideration, brand association, social media, mobile search and call to action.

It found that contextual DOOH campaigns consistently delivered a staggering +30% effect across all key metrics, compared to standard campaign response. Interestingly, for call to action and sales measures, that figure rose to +40%.

As you would expect, landmark projects for Google are already taking place to harness the context effect.

One such campaign, ‘Google Outside,’ promoted its Search Smartphone App by emulating its display and exhibiting geo-targeted search data to provide information about local attractions, restaurants, shops and events, and tailored results to the exact location of each screen. Time of day, and weather conditions were also factored in to ensure that screens delivered useful information to viewers at an appropriate time.

So start with a data-led strategy and create multiple sets of creative assets that work against the contextual conditions and drive messaging. This ad-system will ensure your campaign stays relevant across multiple locations and conditions.

Be agile during production to get the messaging working; and once the campaign is up and running, measure the responses from day one so you can optimize the creative on the fly. Test, measure, optimize, repeat.

Programmatic creative is here, it’s happening and its effectiveness shouldn’t be ignored.

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5. Play nice

DOOH’s fast growing feature set means that creating more complex campaigns that truly deliver on the medium’s creative potential can require longer lead times and involve a multi-stakeholder project profile.

A frequent interface between agency, production house and media owners is therefore essential, and roles and responsibilities should be defined early on. The most successful projects feature true collaboration with all stakeholders working together. One team one dream! So make sure you play nice, collaborate – or fail.

Ultimately, the next 12 months will see the DOOH medium continue to evolve at breakneck speed.

That’s great news for any ambitious brands and agencies. With some smart digital enhancement and a strong team – DOOH can deliver intelligent and relevant campaigns that can surprise and delight, be memorable and shareable and more effective. It’s a heady mix if you follow the recipe!

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