Five common DOOH mistakes to avoid

Are you running, or planning to run a DOOH campaign? Make sure you avoid these five expensive but common mistakes.

Digital out-of-home (or DOOH as it is more commonly known) is a marketing channel where dynamic, digital ads are displayed in outdoor public spaces, hence the ‘out of home’.

Out-of-home, traditionally in the form of billboards, is one of the oldest forms of media. But the digitisation of out-of-home means ads are more powerful than ever before and, as a result, this market has been expanding at a dramatic rate. By 2030 it is projected to reach $54.83 billion.

Some examples of DOOH include ads in bus shelters or at train stations and airports, on public transport, in shopping malls and on the outside of buildings. DOOH isn’t just large-format digital billboards. You can also advertise in niche locations, including gyms, doctors’ offices, taxis, shops, beauty parlours and more.

Today, programmatic DOOH allows digital media buyers to identify audiences they want to reach in relevant ad environments, and dynamically optimise towards time of day, weather conditions, etc.

But while DOOH can deliver impressive results when it’s used properly, it is also easy to make some common mistakes that will lead to wasted ad budgets and a disappointing performance. To stop this happening, here are five DOOH mistakes you need to avoid.

1) Testing your campaign in an expensive location 

When launching your DOOH campaign you’ll undergo a period of testing in which you might identify which strategy or ad creative is delivering the best performance. And when doing this, you don’t want to blow your budget on an impressive location.

As you can imagine, not all DOOH locations are equal. For example a prime location in Times Square, New York, or Piccadilly Circus in London is going to cost significantly more than a mall in Tampa, Florida or in Leicester, UK. So when planning the research and testing phase of your campaign, look for locations where your ideal customers congregate, but have lower advertising budgets.

This way you’ll have more money left to spend on your top choice locations once you have identified the best strategy.

2) Tracking the wrong metrics

This is a mistake we see too many brands make across the programmatic landscape. Often advertisers are seduced by vanity metrics that feel impressive but don’t actually build your bottom line, or grow your customer lifecycle.

Another attribution mistake is to not take into account your incremental ROI, and failing to measure how many sales would have taken place anyway without the advertising. And finally, too many advertisers today are still mistakenly using the flawed last-click attribution model.

While DOOH is often used as a brand-building channel, there are other important metrics you should be looking at to see how it is benefiting your entire customer lifecycle. These include:

  • Website traffic and online conversion events
  • CTRs on digital advertising
  • Mobile app downloads
  • Halo effect on organic search

3) Not using a joined-up partner

One reason why too many brands fail to properly measure the impact of their DOOH – and as a result miss out on opportunities – is that they simply cannot track all engagements from it. And the reason for this is they are using multiple partners to run their different digital advertising campaigns.

Why is this a problem?

When decision making takes place in different technologies, you are unable to connect the dots and understand a customer’s complete journey, and therefore properly attribute your results. You also have multiple partners who are all invested in demonstrating that it is their activity that delivered your results.

When you have just one partner using a single technology, they can attribute your results more efficiently and to a greater depth. They are also not invested in any one technology or media succeeding, so are more likely to be fully transparent about where your results are coming from.

This is particularly important when it comes to DOOH, because you cannot connect IDs with people who are walking through an airport or shopping mall and seeing your DOOH campaign, for example. So attribution can be even tricker: how can you know if someone has seen your ad or not, and whether that ad influenced their behaviour?

With a single programmatic partner, this is easier. They will know the time and place an ad was delivered, and can assign it to an IP address, giving a geo location. Then, when they look at browser behaviour, they can see whether activity not ID related either increased or decreased in that location.

Because everything is one place, they know when and where your ad was delivered, and can connect activity not connected to the ID, to an ID, delivering more accurate attribution.

4) Not making your DOOH programmatic

Many of the benefits of DOOH we have discussed can only be realised if your DOOH campaigns are programmatic. It’s the programmatic technology that enables digital media buyers to identify audiences they want to reach in specific ad environments, and to optimise their ads towards time of day, weather conditions, etc.

Without using programmatic to run your DOOH campaigns you are left with one-dimensional ads that don’t connect as well with people.

To illustrate this, imagine it is a wet, unseasonable cold summer’s day. A non-programmatic campaign isn’t able to adapt to the change in weather, so you are left running a tone-deaf ad that promotes sun cream or trips to the beach.

However, if your campaign is programmatic you can show ads for umbrellas or indoor activities. You can even reference the bad weather in your ads, making them timely, more resonant with how people are feeling, and sharing offerings that are more likely to be attractive at that time.

Of the two scenarios, guess which campaign will get more attention, do more for brand goodwill, and is more likely to lead to sales? Programmatic has been continually shown to improve campaign performance, and DOOH is no different. So if you aren’t running programmatic DOOH campaigns, you are missing out.

5) Not using DCO to build your campaigns

There’s one final piece of technology that is essential if you want to run high impact DOOH campaigns: dynamic creative optimisation (DCO).

DCO is a type of programmatic advertising that enables you to tailor and optimise the performance of your ad creative using real-time technology.

Rather than build a static ad campaign with just a few ad creatives, with DCO you create individual ad components, such as backgrounds, main images, text, value propositions, calls to action etc on a digital asset management system. You can then use these components to build thousands of potential ads in real time – tailored to whatever messaging you want to share.

But what does this mean in practice? Let’s say you are a furniture retailer and you are promoting sofas in transport hubs near your stores. What happens if two of your sofa ranges sell out? With a static campaign, there’s nothing you can do. Your ads are already built and running, and directing potentially disappointed customers to your stores.

But with a DCO campaign you have more control. You can instantly remove the sold-out sofa images and names, and replace them with ranges you do have in stock.

And even before this, if you have stock that is selling fast, or stock you want to discount to move quickly, you can update your DCO campaigns to reflect this.

A DCO campaign gives you control and flexibility over the ads you serve, and improves your performance considerably as a result. Take a look at some of our case studies to see the kind of results you can achieve with DCO.

Get our help with DOOH and avoid these mistakes

These are just five potential mistakes you can make when planning and running your DOOH campaigns. And we would love to help you avoid them.

We are global programmatic experts and work with brands like you to run successful programmatic DOOH campaigns. We’re a single partner with our own proprietary DSP, DMP and DCO technology, which means we can manage your campaigns in-house and deliver in-depth attribution.

If you’d like to find out how we can help improve the performance of your DOOH campaigns just get in touch and we’ll be happy to have a call.