Out of Home Advertising Trends

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Insights and Trends - Out of Home Advertising: Digital Transformation and/or Evolution

In the United States, five of the top trends in out-of-home (OOH) advertising that focus on digital revolution or transformation include the rise of programmatic buying, the advancement of measurement and analytics, the rise of targeted ads, the rise of interactive ads, and the rise of personalized or cutting-edge ads.


  • Programmatic buying of digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising space is reportedly growing and changing the OOH advertising game. Analysts say programmatic buying will help scale DOOH advertising and make it more audience-centric. With the help of programmatic buying, placements can be categorized and arranged based on time of day and the typical journey of the target audience.
  • Both Adweek and Digiday have reported on this trend. Adweek reports that DOOH will no longer remain a niche marketing specialty because of programmatic buying, while Digiday reports that programmatic buying for DOOH ad space is considerably different now compared to a year ago.
  • The increase in DOOH media properties in both number and variety has made programmatic buying more lucrative. Digital OOH ad spaces are now available in new shapes and sizes (e.g., large signs along highways, digital sheds, digital signage in restaurants and malls, digital signage on jukeboxes).
  • Programmatic buying has contributed greatly to the growth of DOOH advertising. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America reports that digital's share of OOH revenue had grown from 24% in 2017 to 29% in 2018.
  • Programmatic buying is relatively new in the out-of-home advertising arena, but the recent DOOH advertising campaign of Kylie Skin, Kylie Jenner's latest direct-to-consumer skincare line, demonstrates how powerful programmatic buying can be for out-of-home advertising. Dubbed the "Kylie-real-world-takeover" and likely the biggest OOH campaign of its kind, the campaign was able to successfully take hold of 5,800 screens in over 1,000 cities in the United States.
  • Through programmatic buying, the campaign was brought to life in just five days. According to Jonathan Gudai, CEO of Adomni, Kylie Skin's partner for the campaign, "in the past, trying to launch a billboard campaign of this scale would have taken two or three months and hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of dollars."


  • Thanks to the rise of digital OOH advertising, the measurement and analysis of the direct impact of OOH ads is getting easier. Impact measurement of OOH ads has historically been difficult, but now, with digital screens becoming more widespread, companies have location data they can use in analyzing device exposure and store visitation.
  • Several partnerships have been formed recently with the aim of improving both OOH ad measurement and analytics. Examples of recent partnerships include Vistar Media's partnership with Factual, IRI, NinthDecimal, MFour, Cubeiq, and PlaceIQ. Vistar Media is a company offering a programmatic OOH media marketplace, while its partners are companies specializing in foot traffic measurement.
  • Vistar Media entered into these partnerships so it can offer its clients a third-party measurement suite. According to Laura Kasakoff, Vistar Media's senior manager for partnerships, "our aim is to provide clients with best-in-class offerings that put digital out-of-home on par with all media channels in terms of intelligent targeting and actionable measurement." Clients of marketing agencies demand accountability, and the measurement suite helps in this regard.
  • Vistar Media partnered with IRI to avail of IRI's Sales Lift solution. The solution, which links ad exposure to purchases in-store, helps marketers measure the return on investment (ad spend) of their DOOH campaigns and provides marketers helpful insights so they can adjust future campaigns accordingly.


  • By virtue of beacon technology, targeted OOH ads are becoming increasingly common. Beacon technologies enable marketers to give consumers targeted information.
  • For example, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and advertising agency M/H VCCP have recently launched a DOOH campaign named Runaway Train 25 in preparation for National Missing Children's Day. The campaign, which made use of over 450 digital transit screens and billboards, spanned over 40 states in the country. Each missing child case, displaying the name, photo, and number to call, was pushed to screens in a geo-targeted manner such that the case is published "in and around the region where the child went missing."
  • Puma has also recently launched a geo-targeted DOOH campaign where video ads were pushed to screens atop rideshare cars and taxis depending on their location. The frequency by which the ads were pushed to screens was dependent on traffic patterns, driver routes, and proximity to densely-populated locations such as tourist attractions and airports.


  • Interactivity via the pairing of mobile devices and outdoor digital screens is emerging as a different kind of consumer experience.
  • This trend is happening as outdoor digital screens are turning into "an extension of social media." According to Gregg Witt, chief strategy officer at California-based advertising agency Engage Youth, when an event-goer's Instagram post gets chosen and displayed on an OOH screen near a concert or another event, the OOH screen becomes a canvas, the event-goer experiences something special, and the status of that event-goer is elevated.
  • Last holiday season, baked goods business Bauducco Foods launched a DOOH campaign that encouraged both social influencers and passersby to "share holiday messages" with family and friends. The holiday messages were displayed real-time on the Cube screen, a 4,000-sq.ft. display in Times Square. The social influencer channel and the OOH channel were combined in one campaign.
  • SurveyMonkey also recently ran a campaign in Times Square where influential celebrities on OOH digital screens invited passersby to share their opinions. Passersby were able to launch the survey on their phones by scanning a QR code near the display. Serena Williams, Jeff Weiner, Arianna Huffington, and Draymond Green were the featured celebrities.


  • Personalized or cutting-edge OOH ads are emerging, thanks to advances in technology, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, facial recognition, augmented reality, location data, and 3D holographic images.
  • Marketers are "seeing the beginnings of a creative renaissance," and they are seeking novel ways to capture and hold the attention of consumers.
  • In time for Fashion Week, New Balance put up ads on digital billboards that examined the outfits of passersby with the use of cameras and artificial intelligence. The ads, which were placed in New York's Soho, highlighted any outfit it found remarkable or exceptional with the banner "Exception Spotted."
  • Hypervsn, one of the exhibitors at the Las Vegas Digital Signage Expo, has developed a device capable of creating 3D holographic images. The example it showed at the exhibition was a higher-quality hologram of Princess Leia.
  • Michigan greeted the last winter season with a DOOH campaign involving weather-triggered billboards that promoted tourism and updated travelers on snow and weather conditions.


To determine five of the top trends in OOH advertising that focus on digital transformation, we read through sources covering the following topics: (a) trends in the OOH or DOOH advertising industry, (b) recent OOH or DOOH advertising campaign launches, (c) recent partnerships involving players in the OOH or DOOH advertising industry, and (d) latest technologies in digital signage. Articles published by Marketing Dive, Forbes, AdAge, MarTech Today, Digiday, and Adweek were among the sources we consulted. While there is no single source that readily lists all the desired information, we were able to pull together five trends from these numerous articles we had read. We observed that the most recent developments in the market can be grouped into the following topics: programmatic buying, measurement/analytics, targeting, interactivity and connection with social media, and personalization and use of cutting-edge technologies.