Leveling Up Your OOH Efforts With Programmatic DOOH

Programmatic Digital Out of Home Screens

The Growth of pDOOH

Out-of-home advertising has been around for centuries. As technology has evolved, new solutions have arisen and capabilities expanded. Digital out-of-home, or DOOH, allowed advertisers to reach audiences in new ways and in new places. And now programmatic digital out-of-home, or pDOOH, has made the tactic even more appealing.

Programmatic DOOH refers to the automated buying and selling of digital billboards and screens outside of the home. Similar to a lot of online and social media advertising, inventory is bought through a demand side platform (DSP) and sold through a supply side platform (SSP). The buyer sets the parameters of what media they want to buy to target a specific audience. As a buyer, you can layer on extra data and add triggers to focus on certain audiences with more specificity. Once the right conditions are met, the ad space is purchased automatically.

The benefits go beyond just the buying process, enabling you to reach audiences offline in natural settings, exposing prospective customers to your brand across more vectors of the customer journey, and providing you with high-impact impressions.

With the advancement of digital channels, the distinction between online and offline ads is blurring. Traditional billboards and other OOH print ads can be high-impact but lack versatility and flexibility; online advertising like display ads are brand-safe and easily viewable. DOOH and pDOOH blend the best of both worlds, bridging the gap between online and offline advertising so the advertising message reaches target audiences when they are most receptive.

Recent statistics show DOOH and pDOOH are only at the beginning of their ascent. Globally, the pDOOH market is projected to grow roughly 41% over the next five years, making now an excellent time to invest in pDOOH advertising efforts. And programmatic video OOH spending continues to increase, expected to grow by 17.3% between 2021 and 2026.

With these numerous benefits and investments comes the potential for higher returns.

Return on investment (ROI) for DOOH can be measured through attribution analysis, brand lift analysis, social mentions and cross-channel analytics. Of course, ROI and ROAS, or return on ad spend, will vary based on advertiser, ad market, ad space and more. However, using the data available and comparing it to previous marketing campaigns will provide insights into the efficacy of pDOOH within your media mix.

It’s likely that you’re already using DOOH in your current media mix, but pDOOH can take your DOOH to new heights. Programmatic holds all the benefits of DOOH with added solutions that give you an advertising edge over your competitors.


The Positive Impact of pDOOH

Because programmatic DOOH is an extension of DOOH, buyers have all the benefits of DOOH advertising and then some. Both offer increased viewability across a wider selection of devices and locations, from the gym to the office to the gas station. Programmatic DOOH allows you to buy audiences, not just locations. You can target more granularly and naturally through pDOOH. Programmatic gives you a chance to connect on a more personal level with your customers in the real world without coming across as overbearing or annoying. Capitalize on context along with acting and adjusting quickly to always come out ahead as an agile marketer and pDOOH will never steer you wrong. It also comes with a promise.

The Programmatic Promise

Like any other programmatic advertising, pDOOH provides the opportunity for specificity, granularity and selectivity at an impression level. Without programmatic buying, advertisers are buying broader predetermined venues and time slots. But pDOOH allows buyers to purchase at the impression level, being as precise in their targeting as they choose to be. And with the potential for more selective targeting, your budget can go farther.

Budget Control

With pDOOH, you have more control over your budget and where funds are allocated since you can specify the parameters that media has to meet before a transaction is completed. Greater control over budget allocation helps advertisers reach more relevant audiences more often.


Even with the other benefits, pDOOH just wouldn’t be as popular if it didn’t get results. Advertisers using pDOOH can access near real-time performance data. With access to impression data almost instantly, you can pivot your strategy as needed, based on KPIs, trends, current events and more.

Easier Omnichannel Campaigns

Advertisers and agencies are looking for new ways to reach audiences and pDOOH offers them the venues and screens necessary to do this. Through pDOOH, there are more DOOH venues and screens from multiple publishers, so less searching for publishers and more putting content to the test. Channel alignment is greater due to the variety of channels that can be synchronized, ranging from display, video, and audio to CTV and DOOH. Programmatic DOOH also offers consolidated targeting and measurement to streamline campaign processes and help agencies and advertisers find and measure their audience faster.

Unique Targeting

Programmatic DOOH enables you to hone your targeting, but the options vary depending on the medium and advertising company. You can focus on advertising through:

  • Screen-level targeting: The brand, product, service or promotion might be more effective when shown on specific screen types, so advertisers can choose where they want their ads to show, including digital billboards, posters, signs and points of purchase.
  • Venue Types: Specific venues such as transit stations or offices are used to target specific audiences. Screens can be used for signs, panels or in entrances for ease of viewing and based on the subject.
  • Audience Data: In some instances, advertisers can choose to target specific audiences using first-part data or third-party data. DOOH screens can then activate based on movement patterns, reaching a target audience where they are most likely to be throughout the day.
  • Weather-based targeting: Some campaigns have a greater impact depending on the weather, such as a sunscreen ad showing on a hot, sunny day or umbrella ads on a rainy day. Weather targeting gives advertisers the means to advertise depending on the current weather conditions.
  • Location-based POI targeting: If ads are targeting a more granular point of interest based audience, such as coffee shops in a certain section of a city, POI targeting draws a digital fence around a specific zip code or geographical area or pinpoint specific locations for deeper advertising saturation.

Again, this level of targeting specificity is situational and doesn’t apply to all publishers and venue types, but the granularity of pDOOH can boost the effectiveness of the ads.

The Potential of pDOOH

  • Screens at the gym or inside the weight rooms for contextual targeting
  • Gas station pump screens to engage captive audiences waiting for gas
  • Digital spectaculars, like those in Times Square, with weather-based ads
  • Geofencing ads in a certain neighborhood to advertise upcoming brand events
  • Airport digital posters promoting local attractions
  • Screens in office building lobbies for targeting employees and guests

Incorporating pDOOH Into Your Media Mix

If you’re interested in including pDOOH in your media mix, there are certain aspects to keep in mind.

Goals & Audiences

First, you need to set goals for your advertising campaign. What is your brand trying to accomplish? How and where does the advertising campaign fit into the customer journey? While you create a framework based on the answers to these questions, you can identify your audience, too.

The style of advertising will depend on the audience and the product or service you’re promoting. After determining the audience, you can select the venues.

Placements & Targeting

Identification of DOOH placements for your campaign can be approached in a couple of ways. A traditional approach to targeting makes sense when you know the relevant markets, locations, venues, and screen types that align with your campaign goals. Programmatic opens up new targeting opportunities that use audience data or audience profiles to activate digital screens where your audience is most likely to be.

Measuring Performance

DOOH ads are one-to-many, meaning one ad display is seen by many people. This changes how we acknowledge impressions when compared to one-to-one forms of advertising such as a mobile in-app ad. Counting DOOH impressions relies on an impression multiplier to estimate audience impressions. There are various methods and technologies used throughout the DOOH ecosystem to estimate audience impressions. It is important to understand this difference in impression measurement when evaluating impression-based metrics.

pDOOH continues to rely primarily on impression-based metrics to evaluate performance of a campaign. However, measurement technologies that incorporate mobile location data continue to advance and grow in adoption. This opens up capabilities for foot traffic measurement, brand lift studies, and sales lift.

Partnering with a pDOOH Media Buyer

While advertisers can certainly choose to pursue pDOOH on their own, partnering with a dedicated and experienced pDOOH media buyer will make the entire process easier and more effective.

The right pDOOH media buyer will have the expertise needed to make the most out of your buys and the ability to design an optimal media plan to avoid wasted spend. Many DOOH advertisers have several other tactics and to-dos to handle, so having a dedicated partner who can focus on making the best purchases, interpreting metrics and handling the nuances that come with an emergent advertising channel can be a game-changer.

Ideally, you should look for a pDOOH media buyer who is transparent. If your partner is forthcoming and authentic about the unique capabilities (and limitations) of pDOOH and the reality of executing a campaign, it will reduce stress and potential issues later in the campaign development process.

If you’re looking for a pDOOH partner, Lean Media delivers audience-driven programmatic advertising solutions that help brands grow. Our goal is to deliver programmatic confidence to advertisers in any market since specialized services require atypical solutions. Our programmatic media buying expertise spans the campaign strategy, audience understanding, campaign execution and reporting. We’ll guide you through the process to ensure campaign objectives are being met and you understand exactly where dollars are being spent—and just as importantly, what the returns are. Contact us to start your next campaign today.


Ready to learn more?

Speak with a Lean Media campaign planner to see how our audience-first approach to programmatic advertising can work for your ad campaigns.

Reviewing contextual advertising campaign results