The Benefits of DOOH Signage

“Of the estimated £20billion spent in the UK on advertising in 2015, £6.3billion is predicted to have been digital.” – Creative Industries

Digital-Out-Of-Home (DOOH) advertising is a rapidly growing industry that is emerging as a hugely popular channel for consumers and advertisers alike. In 2014, the total spend on outdoor advertising increased by 3%, exceeding the £1billion mark for the first time. Digital posters and billboards accounted for around a quarter of this, and if you consider that £6.3billion was spent on digital advertising in 2015, (and that the UK was the first country to break the 50% threshold for digital ads) it is clear that 2016 and beyond is set to be an exciting time for DOOH.

In Home Advertising

84% of Millennials don’t like advertising, and will actively go out of their way to avoid it. We’ve all done it – we’ve all recorded and paused TV programs so that we can just skip the ads! Promotional emails are sometimes left unread and online advertisements, such as pop-ups and banners, are often cited as being a source of outright irritation – as is reflected in the recent surge in popularity for Ad-Blocker software on smartphones. A survey by McCarthy Group found that, ultimately, adults under the age of 35 are just blatantly distrustful of anything that whiffs of a hard sell. This is where the benefits of DOOH are proving to be such a valuable commodity. Due to its dynamic and engaging nature, DOOH is well received by consumers. Because it is an entertaining platform, audiences are vastly more receptive to the messages they are receiving. In fact, DOOH has over a 70% recall rate, and in certain environments (such as airports) consumers expect to see DOOH as an indication of premium products. Frequent travellers have also grown to anticipate its use for navigation purposes as a standard method of communication.

As mentioned above, it is not only consumers that can enjoy the benefits of DOOH – advertisers can, too. Consumers today are increasingly time-poor, and the demands of modern life means they spend less time in their homes than they did twenty (or even ten) years ago, and consequently they are proving difficult to pin down. “More than ever, OOH aligns with 21st century consumers,” says Stephen Freitos, CMO of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. “People are always on the go and they want content in short bursts. Billboards are the original tweets: You get a quick image or piece of knowledge and you move on.” 

Digital on the Move

With traditional methods of in-home advertising falling out of favour, it is a natural progression to move into targeting consumers outside of their homes instead. People spend an average of 7 hours a day outside and on the move, and 82% of shoppers have said they have impulse purchased the same day as being exposed to DOOH, with a huge 92% even saying they did so within thirty minutes. Stats such as these clearly demonstrate how a specially crafted and strategically placed digital campaign can have a massive impact and a significant return of interest. This is simply because rich, layered and dynamic content is so much more attractive to consumers than a static poster that simply fades into the background of general urban life. Listed below are some truly fantastic examples of how DOOH has been used to create memorable campaigns and to recapture an audience that is actively trying to evade an advertiser’s net:

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Using truly innovative technology, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home launched their “Looking For You” campaign in Westfield Stratford shopping centre last year. As shoppers entered the building, they were handed a leaflet that contained RFID tags. The tags then communicated with digital screens around the shopping centre, and a digital dog was generated that walked with the shoppers as they moved around, asking them to adopt him from the Home*. He could also perform tricks and be interacted with through touch. Of the campaign, Claire Fisherman, Marketing Manager for Battersea said: “For this campaign, the interaction was essential. The beauty of the dog-and-owner relationship is the interaction, and the campaign captured it in an innovative way.”


In a bid to transform a real-time event into a shoppable piece of content, Topshop teamed up with Twitter during London Fashion Week to analyse data and identify trending topics fresh off the catwalk. As the trends were unveiled, Topshop displayed them almost immediately on digital screens across the UK, all of which had been chosen for being within a ten-minute radius of a Topshop store. The retailer encouraged customers to tweet about their favourite trend to receive a curated collection of related looks and products, all of which were available for purchase immediately across all channels. The campaign, which lasted for three days, lead to a 75% increase in sales for the #modernisation collection, 72% for #embroidery and 42% for #paisley. Sheena Sauvire, the Global Marketing and Communications Director at Topshop said: “With technology and the sense of immediacy that everybody has now, it is really shifting customer’s behaviour and influencing what they want, and when they want it.” She also said that due to the success of this campaign, the retailer is examining how it can be applied to other events and occasions in the future.

Chevrolet Malibu

 Across the pond, a new campaign is set to go live in America later this year for the launch of the Chevrolet Malibu model. Using a combination of DOOH and vehicle-recognition technology, as a customer drives and passes a pole-mounted camera, an image is taken of their car’s grille. The technology can then identify the make and model of said car, and recognise if it is a competitor to the Malibu. If it is, then the driver will see a specially customised message just for them on a digital billboard about 1,000 feet down the road, with comparisons of miles per gallon and warranty services being examples of tailored content. Helma Larkin, the CEO of Posterscope (who are running the campaign) said: “By integrating vehicle-recognition technology into this campaign, we are able to deliver personalized content to drivers of competitive vehicles, increasing the likelihood that messages will be noticed and remembered. It’s the first time this type of technology is being used in the U.S., but only the latest example of how we are leveraging technology to deliver impactful results through out-of-home campaigns.”  

Predictions for the Future

 According to a poll of all British agencies and outdoor specialists, DOOH is predicted to have the biggest growth of all media channels in the next five years. Whilst television ads will not be made obsolete just yet (The Guardian states it will enjoy a 3% growth this year) their share of the market is also set to fall to less than half than that of digital media. A study by Kinetic Worldwide has also found that total inventory of DOOH sites in the UK will increase by over 40% between now and 2020, indicating that the industry is set to enjoy significant expansion.

 In recent years, advances in technology have helped DOOH transform from a largely passive medium into one that is modern, exciting, fresh and sophisticated. Engaging content can go a long way, as not only does it impact on consumers in general, but it also impacts on the characteristically tricky millennial demographic. Targeted marketing campaigns, (particularly those with interactive features) that are displayed on DOOH sites to complement traditional print/television/radio campaigns can help breathe new life into the advertising industry, and re-engage audiences that have programmed themselves to ‘switch off.’ This is clearly true of the Topshop campaign, with the jump in sales for the London Fashion Week inspired collections proving millennials can be receptive, as long as the content provided is relevant and valuable.

In terms of technology, the mobile industry (although currently separate from DOOH) has seen huge innovation, with QR codes and iBeacon technology offering location-based rewards helping to transform the consumers’ experience. It is not yet known whether mobile and DOOH will be successfully integrated, but it is generally agreed by most advertising and media experts that an ‘overlap’ between the two industries can be expected.

Within its own industry, however, DOOH stands to only grow more sophisticated as technology allows it to, with features such as audience-recognition, WI-FI and broadcast capability already permitting advertisers to create bigger, better, and more targeted campaigns than they ever have before. It is easy to understand why Screenmedia describes DOOH as being “the most innovative, creative and flexible medium in the market,” and why advertisers are gravitating towards the channel.

Through DOOH, audiences are more captured than they have been in years, and the flexibility of the medium means that those audiences can see personalised and relevant content easily, quickly, and cheaply. As Michael Applebaum states: “the value in out-of-home marketing boils down to a simple truth: it is hard to ignore.” Sergio Fernández de Córdova, co-founder of Fuel Outdoor, agrees with him, stating that with DOOH, “the advertising is in your face, and you can’t turn it off.” And, if businesses get their content right, consumers won’t want to.