Skip to content Skip to footer

What is digital out-of-home advertising? Examples, tips and best practices

29 March 2024
IV 4264 1

You've probably seen digital-out-of-home ads while out and about. They’re those vibrant digital billboard displays that are making a big splash in how small businesses connect with people.

Digital-out-of-home ads are a common sight nationwide, grabbing the attention of people everywhere, whether they're working, playing, travelling or just going about their daily lives. And the best part is that they’re no longer just for the big players – small businesses can use them too.

Digital-out-of-home advertising is an effective and affordable way to make a lasting impression. Here’s how this exciting form of advertising can make a real difference for your business.

Suggested reading: Check out our post about why billboard advertising is effective if you want to learn more about measuring success.

What is digital out-of-home advertising?

Digital-out-of-home advertising – or DOOH – is the term for advertising that uses digital technology to display ads in public spaces.

Digital billboards and display screens come in a range of sizes and formats. They are sited in areas with high pedestrian or road traffic – places like shopping centres, bus shelters and alongside busy roads.

DOOH media is suitable for all companies, whether they are promoting their products or services to either business or consumer audiences. That’s because DOOH ads apply just as well to people on their way to work as to families out enjoying a leisure trip or to students travelling to university.

The differences between digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH) and out-of-home advertising (OOH)

Out-of-home advertising, or OOH for short, is an umbrella term that includes DOOH as well as other, more traditional outdoor advertising media.

OOH advertising only uses static images. DOOH screens, on the other hand, can showcase content that updates dynamically. Ads can be varied throughout the day, rotating between advertisers, or may change according to the time of day and typical audience.

Some DOOH screens can even use interactive technology, like touchscreens and motion sensors. This allows people to engage with the content. Ads that stimulate interaction like this can create more impact, which helps to reinforce the advertising message.

DOOH mixes the best of old-school advertising, like different types of billboards, with modern digital technology. This makes it a great way for advertisers to get their brand known and connect with people while they are out and about.

Here are some common outdoor advertising media examples:

  • static billboards and posters

  • banners and flags

  • stadium and arena boards

  • mobile billboards on vehicles

  • building wraps, murals

  • public transport: buses, trains, tubes, trams and taxis

  • street furniture: bus shelters, benches, lampposts and telephone boxes

  • outdoor signs: pavement signs, swing signs, A-frames and sandwich boards

  • retail and point of sale signs

  • aerial projections and drone displays

  • DOOH: digital billboards and display screens

The benefits of digital out-of-home advertising

DOOH ads are shaking up how companies can reach out to people. Here are some of the reasons DOOH advertising is such a great choice if you’re a small business wanting to make a big splash.

1. Reach more people

DOOH ads help your business grow by reaching more people. Think of it as a super booster for your visibility, giving you lots of chances to be seen. Plus, you can really focus on local areas and those not as well covered by other media. DOOH can help you make a mark in your area, getting your message out there for more people to see, more often.

Brayford’s Solicitors used Alight Media to generate awareness and build its brand. Our digital billboards lead to public awareness increasing “significantly” over four weeks – so much so, that the company extended its campaign.

2. Target your local area

Using DOOH ads is like giving a friendly wave to everyone in your neighbourhood. For local businesses, it's great for boosting your brand's presence right where you are. You can concentrate on specific areas – to target just your local community of potential customers. This avoids wasted ad spend and means you're speaking with the people nearby, the ones who matter most to your business. It's a smart way to become a familiar face in your own area.

3. Be visible and memorable

Because they are highly visible and dynamic, DOOH ads stand out from the crowd more than traditional OOH ads. Features like copy that change by time of day or location make them extremely memorable. And unlike online ads, which often get hidden by ad blockers, these bold DOOH displays are out there in the open, impossible to miss. Reports show that consumers find DOOH more memorable than most other ad types, including TV ads, social media and online ads. This makes them a fantastic way to get your company noticed and remembered.

4. Affordable and accessible advertising for small businesses

It may surprise you, but DOOH advertising is actually really affordable and accessible for small businesses. By selectively targeting specific regions or times, you can make every penny of your ad budget count. At Alight Media, we even offer the ability to run just a single ad, keeping your costs low and manageable. Plus, you don't need an ad agency. We're here to help every step of the way with your campaign. We can even take care of the design for you. This makes running your own DOOH ads a breeze, even if you’ve never advertised before.

Best practices for running a digital-out-of-home advertising campaign

The key to a great DOOH ad campaign lies in blending creativity with a good understanding of your customers and the unique possibilities offered by DOOH ads. Follow these best practice tips to ensure your DOOH advertising hits the mark.

  • Know your customers: Make sure your content meets the interests and needs of your audience in the locations where your ads will be displayed. Having a deep understanding of who you're talking to is key to devising a message that resonates.

  • Location, location, location: Choose the right locations for your ads. If you're a small local business, then focus on your local town. Also consider the relevance of the location to your message. A gym-related ad, for example, may perform well near health clubs or sports shops.

  • Make it eye-catching: Your ad needs to stand out in a busy environment. Use bright or contrasting colours and clear, readable fonts. Keeping to a simple yet striking design will catch the eye of passersby.

  • Keep your message clear and concise: Outdoor viewers typically have just a few seconds to see your ad. Make sure your message is easy to understand at a glance. Avoid clutter and focus on one key message with a call to action.

  • Tap into the power of movement: If your DOOH platform supports video or animated content, use it. Movement attracts attention more effectively than static images.

  • Timing is everything: Where you can, tailor the timing of your ad to match people’s daily patterns. For example, can you target your ads to commuters in the morning, shoppers during the day and party-goers at night?

    Security company ADT reached people at just the right moment by using Alight’s DOOH screens to display ads that were triggered automatically once the sun set.

  • Get interactive: If your DOOH platform allows for interactivity, use it to get people to connect with you and your message with features like QR codes. Interactive ads can increase engagement and memorability.

  • Test and adapt: As you would with any advertising medium, test different messages and designs to see what works best. Use the data and feedback to refine and improve your campaigns.

  • Coordinate your marketing efforts: Integrate your DOOH ads with your email marketing, social media and other marketing campaigns. This creates a cohesive brand experience and can amplify your campaign's effectiveness.

    Alight Media client Prevayl created a buzz by having its team run to each of its DOOH ad locations. This approach generated PR and sparked attention on social media.

  • Monitor and measure success: Use analytics tools to track the performance of your DOOH ads. Understanding viewer engagement and reach can help you adjust strategies for better results.

Ready to elevate your advertising game? Learn more about how small business owners can design creative billboards ads on a budget. Or get in touch for a free consultation. We're here to help you understand your options, making it simple and hassle-free to run high-impact ads that really get you noticed.