Vistar 101: What is DOOH?


Digital out-of-home (DOOH) | noun | any digital advertising that is found outside the home, in a public environment.


Outdoor advertising is a channel that has existed for centuries. Long before digital took the reigns, advertisers took their messages to the streets. Whether it was painted on the side of a building or plastered over a blank wall, these original out-of-home ads had the same benefit as the ads today - a one-to-many medium, OOH can easily reach a broad audience at once with impactful messaging.

Over the past few years, digital out-of-home (DOOH) has strengthened its presence in the outdoor landscape, becoming one of the fastest growing channels in advertising.

But some of you may be asking, what exactly is DOOH?

New to the industry? Download our ultimate guide to DOOH.

The first example that comes to mind is the larger-than-life billboards found in Times Square; however, there is so much more! As you go about your day’s activities, you are exposed to dozens of screens, big and small, that you may not even realize display advertising.

DOOH media falls into two categories: place-based media and large format media.

Place-based media:

This is the majority of DOOH, and includes screens found in malls, gyms, office buildings, gas stations, restaurants & bars, taxis and more. These contextually relevant environments provide great opportunities for brands to engage with their customers.

Large format media: 

This type of DOOH varies from billboards you see along a highway, to bus shelters on a city sidewalk, best viewed by pedestrians and street-level traffic.

Think about your commute to work - whether you drive, take public transportation, or walk, you most likely will pass DOOH. From the moment you leave your apartment to the moment you step into your office, marketers have the opportunity to reach you as you move through your daily routine.

For example, let’s take a morning commute in the city. On the subway platform, there is a kiosk displaying transit information, interspersed with advertising for a vacation destination. As you walk down the street, you pass by a billboard promoting that same destination. Once you get to your office building, the elevator has a display with today’s news, the weather - abysmal, and ads for the destination - sunny and exotic. This audience has now had multiple contextual touchpoints where they could have been exposed to advertising for this vacation destination.   

So what are you waiting for? With the variety of environments and screens available, these touchpoints become critical to building a savvy marketing strategy. 

Wondering whether it makes sense to activate DOOH during uncertain times? Learn more about DOOH timing here

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