The DOOH Primer – Digital Out of Home Advertising

Interested in DOOH advertising?

This primer gives you everything you need to know before launching a digital out of home advertising campaign. 

What Is Out Of Home Advertising? 

Out-of-home advertising (OOH) traces back thousands of years, with the earliest civilizations using it to publicize laws and treaties. The first large-format American poster originated in New York advertising the circus in 1851

OOH has since expanded to placements on park benches, transit, restaurants, and more. In 2005, the first digital billboards were installed and forever changed OOH advertising. 

What Is Digital Billboard Advertising? 

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) is a subset of the larger OOH category. This format provides an automated, targeted, dynamic and interactive way to reach on the go consumers in public places.

DOOH ad spend accounts for roughly a quarter of all US OOH spending. Growth can largely be attributed towards an increasingly mobile consumer, which in-turn increases the visibility of out-of-home media.

According to the OAAA, Americans now spend 70% of their time outside of the home, an increase of 50% over the past two decades.

Furthermore, consumers consume 60% of media via their smartphone or tablet on mobile web and apps. This lends to advertisers’ ability to connect with on-the-go audiences across touch points, including DOOH.

Download the full primer below to start leveraging this key advertising channel for your brand today. 

What You’ll Learn: 

  • How DOOH advertising is bought and then measured
  • When you should consider out of home advertising
  • Digital out of home content strategies and best practices
  • Available environments and ad inventory 
  • The major players in the industry

If you have any further questions, contact Coegi to learn more!

Digital Out of Home – A Brief History

Out-of-home advertising (OOH) can be traced back thousands of years to early civilizations. The first large-format American poster, measuring 50 square feet, originated in New York advertising the circus in 1851. By 1900, a standard billboard structure was established in America. 

With more products entering the market over the century, new and creative ways of reaching consumers became necessary. OOH expanded to park benches, transit, restaurants, etc. In 2005, the first digital billboards were installed, forever changing OOH advertising. 

What is Digital-Out-of-Home?

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) is a subset of the larger OOH category. DOOH markets to consumers when they are on the go in public places. Instead of interrupting a user’s online experience with an ad, it meets them in real life. Also, rather than traditional billboards, these placements can be dynamic and interactive.

The Growth of DOOH Advertising

Various eMarketer studies suggest DOOH ad dollars account for roughly a quarter of all OOH spending in the US. Growth is largely attributable to increasingly mobile consumers who are in turn increasing the visibility of OOH media. According to the OAAA, Americans now spend 70% of their time outside of the home. This is an increase of 50% over the past two decades. Plus, consumers consume 60% of media via their smartphone or tablet on mobile web and apps. This lends to advertisers’ ability to connect with on-the-go audiences across touchpoints, including DOOH.

How is DOOH Inventory Bought?

Direct – Sign individual IOs and contracts with OOH vendors to secure space upfront using specific parameters. Space is usually secured on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Open Exchange – Purchase inventory at auction within seconds before the impression is served. The buyer gains control of when and where their ads will be shown. However, publishers reserve some inventory for direct buys. Advertisers can engage in private marketplace deals to secure more premium inventory through programmatic channels.

Private Marketplace – Secure priority access to premium inventory like airports and roadside billboards through private marketplace (PMP) deals. This offers greater control of creative messaging, ad timing and data usage, while still giving publishers higher yields. PMP inventory is typically higher in price than open-exchange inventory.

How to Measure DOOH Campaign Results?

As a one-to-many medium, multiple people can see an OOH ad at once. Nielsen and Geopath provide US industry standards for measuring impressions using variables such as speed data, traffic, on-site counts and audience distribution data. 

Geopath does the majority of roadside billboard measurement. Nielsen assigns each type of signage a multiplier based on average views per ad play. If using a DSP, advertisers can use 1×1 tracking pixels to track how many plays an ad receives.

High-Impact Use Cases for Digital-Out-of-Home Advertising 

DOOH for Lower-Funnel Campaign Objectives

Programmatic technologies allow for more targeting controls throughout the day. They allow a creative digital media buyer to control spend only when and where a user is most likely to convert.


  • A coffee brand only advertises before 2 pm.
  •  A food delivery app optimizes spend towards areas where drivers aren’t getting rides.
  • A pharmacy only serves to DMAs where allergy counts are high. 
  • A sports team pauses a campaign when tickets sell out.

DOOH for Targeting Niche B2B Audiences

Many B2B marketers view out-of-home as a mass-market medium, rarely leveraging it outside of industry events. However, with smart use of customer data, planners can confidently buy screens when their niche audience is most likely to see them.

Example: A trade group targeting architects want to geofence a four-day conference in Las Vegas. They can buy the DOOH signage within a radius of the conference and at the airport. Additionally, they can upload attendee data to continue the campaign after the conference to reinforce messaging.

DOOH for Testing Multiple Creative Messages

With static billboards, the same creative often is deployed for 6 or 12 months at a time. Programmatic creative is deployed with an ad server, allowing for more robust creative testing. By pairing this technology with an intelligent measurement strategy, brands can test messaging. Additionally, by porting other data points, creatives can be dynamic and change in real time.


  • A hospital shows current ER wait times
  • A sports team displays a countdown clock to tip-off
  • An auto shop displays weather conditions and alerts

How to Design a DOOH Advertisement

You should approach your DOOH content strategy differently than typical display or video campaigns. These placements truly reach people on the go, so you must capture the attention of onlookers immediately and leave them with a memorable message.

Consider these design elements for your DOOH assets: 

  • Loop or slot length (if applicable)
  • Physical display size
  • Resolution of display and aspect ratio
  • Whether or not sound is available
  • Motion types accepted
  • File type and maximum size accepted
  • Video codec type (if applicable)
  • Capabilities: linear, dynamic, data-driven, real-time optimization, etc
  • Content restrictions such as adult content, alcohol, violence, drugs, etc.

DOOH ad content should be relevant to both the brand and the display location. Also, make sure the brand name is present and viewable to drive awareness and make the brand connection with viewers. 

How to Access Digital Billboard Advertising? 

Contact Coegi to get a full list of venues available in your target geo and the accompanying creative specs. Creative opportunities differ by venue and can include static and animated ads, large format ad sizes, sound-off or sound-on creatives and more.

To achieve maximum scale, DOOH advertisers should send creatives that can scale across multiple venues. Your Coegi account team can advise on which venues are best for your audience and goals and provide creative requirements accordingly.

To see DOOH advertising in action, view our case study

You can also read our DOOH FAQ article with Vistar Media, one of our industry-leading technology partners. 

Why Digital Out Of Home Advertising Will Gain New Life in a Cookieless Future

Digital out of home (DOOH) advertising came into fashion for marketers back in 2017-2018. Coegi was an early adopter of the channel, understanding its potential in driving mass scale with greater flexibility than traditional billboard activations. 

In its infancy, the targeting capabilities were limited to demographic visitation propensities and locations such as gas stations and taxis. This meant that it was primarily relevant for brands targeting metropolitan areas. Now, as more locations have adopted digital screens, digital out of home has become a valuable tactic for a wide variety of brands. 

The pandemic’s stay at home orders brought DOOH ad spending to an abrupt halt. But, now that consumers are gaining confidence in traveling again, digital out of home needs to make its way back into marketing plans.

How can marketers create sophisticated digital out of home strategies? Hear perspectives from Coegi’s Director of Operations, Julia Wold, and our tech partner Vistar’s Director of Client Service, Jared Reiner. 

#1 Choose Your Locations Wisely

Julia: How should brands select which DOOH advertising locations they target?

Many marketers are seeking out ways to add new tactics into their media plans as they prepare for the deprecation of the third-party cookie. DOOH has become one of the key tactics brands have turned to, capitalizing on a population that is more hungry than ever for outside experiences. Marketers should leverage venue locations in the same way you would leverage publisher specific partnerships, in a contextual manner that best resonates with key audiences. 

With Vistar’s vendor transparency, you are able to not only see the venue type and location, but also the media partner for an additional layer of brand safety. And, unlike traditional out of home, you aren’t limited to an always-on strategy. Instead, you can daypart, reaching consumers at the time that is most relevant for your messaging. 

For instance, consider reaching business professionals with placements at transit stations, office lobbies, skyways and Ubers at peak commute times. If you are messaging to families, consider waiting room screens, movie theaters, malls and recreational centers. We executed a college game night promotion for our NBA client with a presence in gyms, bars and transit hubs at the colleges and universities near the stadium.

Jared: How has Vistar expanded upon their location targeting since 2020?

There are a variety of ways to take advantage of location targeting in digital out-of-home. The Vistar platform has best-in-market POI data from Foursquare built in for seamless activation of proximity-based targeting. We have also on-boarded over 4,700 location-based audiences that are now available, including full taxonomies from Factual and Epsilon.

#2 Implement Post-Exposure Mobile Retargeting

Jared: What success have you seen from brands incorporating mobile retargeting on OOH buys?

OOH is one of the most trustworthy formats of media. It has been around for over 100 years! But what some people aren’t aware of is how well OOH interacts with other media channels. With mobile, we have the unique ability to capture audiences that were exposed to an OOH campaign and then continue the conversation on a channel where they can interact with trackable engagements. 

Brand marketers have seen great success in using high-impact OOH to convey messaging that resonates emotionally with consumers, followed by retargeting on mobile with a specific call-to-action. For example, advocacy campaigns seeking donations, universities encouraging students to request a brochure or schedule a tour, or brands promoting a discounted offer.

Julia: What’s the benefit of incorporating mobile retargeting on OOH buys? 

Mobile retargeting is an amazing way to re-engage with consumers who saw your original messaging. It’s also an efficient way to extend your media buy across new inventory opportunities on the device that 90% of the population spends an average of 4.5 hours per day on. 

For one of our tourism clients, we promoted digital out of home messages about an upcoming summer golf tournament in areas with an abundance of golf courses. Not only were we able to re-message users after they left the event, but we were also able to retarget that same audience the following Fall to remind them of late season golfing opportunities. This audience was the most highly engaged across the campaign and drove the highest conversion rate of golf trip guide downloads.

#3 Incorporate Advanced Measurement Studies

Julia: Why are advanced measurement studies important for DOOH buys?

Out of home, as with other forms of more traditional media, for a long time lacked a solid measurement foundation. Even if you could roughly estimate reach and frequency, it was harder to justify ROI to key stakeholders. Digital out of home takes the guesswork out of proving effectiveness with in-platform advanced measurement solutions like foot traffic, brand lift and sales lift. For a large tech client, Coegi leveraged a brand lift survey in tandem with DOOH delivery. We measured a 4% increase in brand consideration and a 7% increase in purchase intent. Without this study, these significant gains would have gone unnoticed. 

Jared: What advanced measurement studies are available through Vistar?

Vistar’s advanced technology allows us to capture OOH exposure which enables a wide array of attribution studies. For CPG and automotive clients, we partner with IRI and IHS, respectively, to provide sales lift. For clients with brick and mortar locations, we deploy foot traffic studies to understand an attributable number of store visits. 

An exciting new offering focused on online performance is our partnership with MIRA, which allows us to connect real-world exposure to OOH with online conversions. Finally, many advertisers choose to run brand studies. These are excellent not only for measuring the impact of your messaging and media strategy on consumer awareness and intent, but also asking research questions to learn more about your audience, your competitor’s status, creative impact and more!

#4 Test Dynamic Creative Messaging

Julia: What success has Coegi seen from dynamic creative messaging?

While dynamic creative just launched at scale in the Vistar platform in April 2022, Coegi has been using dynamic creative on other programmatic platforms for some time. The flexibility can’t be beat. You are able to reach the right audience at the right time, with a message curated up to the minute. This capability on out of home media will allow us to scale data driven messaging to every available screen, anywhere in the world.

Jared: How does Vistar envision dynamic creatives impacting the effectiveness of  DOOH advertising?

We just released our universal dynamic creative solution for DOOH and believe this will be a game changer for the industry. By unlocking the power of dynamic, we can deliver messaging that changes within a person’s environment in real time to be more relevant. This will create better conversations between brands and consumers leading to significant investment in the space.

Finally, what are some best practices that marketers should consider when activating a digital out of home campaign?


Programmatic DOOH advertising unlocks the ability to take the targeting and messaging techniques we have developed in the digital space and apply them to the oldest format of media. It’s critical to consider both the media strategy (what time should your ads show? In what contexts? With which audience segment?), as well as your creative strategy (does this creative match the physical world context where it will be shown? Is my brand name visible if someone is just quickly passing by during a video?) Taking the time to curate the right audience, then having simple, relevant messaging goes a long way in the OOH space.


Forecast, forecast, forecast. Venue availability and inventory is constantly changing, and with demand fluctuations, so can anticipated CPMs. In order to make sure your DOOH advertising plan is solid, take these steps. 

  • Create a plan prior to launch. This is especially important in smaller geographic footprints and less densely populated areas.
  • Develop assets in all sizes dictated by the DSP’s media plan to ensure proper scale at the most efficient cost. The plans will always tell you the available impression percentage by spec size.
  • Lastly, understand the format and scale that your message will be delivered in. Clear font and simplicity of the message is key when you consider you only have 3-6 seconds to make an impact. 


Interested in exploring digital out of home from your brand? View our comprehensive digital out of home primer here to learn more!

Using Digital Out-Of-Home and CTV to Drive Full-Funnel Performance

The Brief

Coegi partnered with a multi-national technology brand to simultaneously drive awareness, consideration, and purchase lift using digital out-of-home media, mobile retargeting, and connected TV.


Brand Awareness Lift

Consideration Lift

Purchase Intent Lift


In our first year working with this technology brand, we identified an erosion of brand equity. This was due to a gradual shift in budget focusing solely on lower-funnel, promotion-based tactics. 

To reestablish their premium product positioning, we were tasked with eliminating crossover between their two key audiences (small business owners and IT decision makers) to drive awareness, consideration, and purchase intent with prospects across the United States. Challenge


We planned and executed a campaign to build brand affinity and awareness with small-business owners and IT decision makers and measure the effect on full funnel KPIs. By using data-driven campaign insights, we knew we could justify spending on brand awareness tactics. This would expand the organic prospect database and achieve sustainable growth through improved brand positioning. 

We honed in on two channels: Connected TV (CTV) and Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH). Throughout the campaign, we served over 55MM impressions. These spanned over 37 DMAs with high concentrations of small business owners and IT decision makers. To measure success, we implemented one of the first brand lift studies in the industry that incorporated CTV and programmatic DOOH channels by using IP and wifi targeting to obtain survey feedback.

DOOH media drove lift across all KPIs (awareness, consideration and purchase intent), with the greatest lift in purchase intent (+9%). This campaign messaging also drove a greater lift in awareness over the control group than previous campaigns, illustrating the long-term impact of this strategic messaging. Cross-screen exposure drove the strongest lift over the control at 13%. 

Additionally, the campaign drove:

  • 50% increase in purchase intent from CTV
  • 6.5% increase in SMB website visitors vs. previous period, seen in increases from direct and organic search traffic
  • 60,000 attributable site visits at an estimated $1.2MM in value

Finally, we discovered the awareness campaign had a trickle-down effect on the evergreen performance-based campaign we were running concurrently, surpassing bottom-line goals at a 5x ROAS.

Coegi Partners

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