Digital-Out-of-Home - What Should be Considered?

Manuel Pfaff 1/20/2023

We explain to you what DOOH is and why you absolutely should have it on your radar.

Table of contents
  1. What actually is DOOH?
  2. What is the difference between DOOH and OOH?
  3. Why are DOOH campaigns interesting for companies?
  4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of DOOH ads?
  5. With which advertising formats can DOOH ads be implemented?
  6. What are the trends in Digital-out-of-Home?
  7. Exemplary successful examples of Digital-out-of-Home campaigns
  8. What DOOH software is used to implement Digital-out-of-Home?
  9. Conclusion

Digital-out-of-Home (DOOH) has taken Out-of-Home advertising to a new level. Previously, poster campaigns were complex to handle, associated with high production costs and long lead times. The primary advertising goal was the rapid build-up of coverage with a broad target group appeal, usually used as a complementary medium.

DOOH has fundamentally changed the rules of the game. There is a wide range of advertising opportunities: Public-Station-Video, Public-Mall-Video, Infoscreen, City-Light-Boards, digital advertising pillars, waiting room TV, mobile screens.

DOOH allows advertising flights to be planned extremely flexibly with regard to all target group characteristics or geographical requirements. The lead times are short - even daily advertising messages can be conveyed, the high production costs are a thing of the past, almost no limits are set to the creation of advertising media.

In combination with TV and online, effective, attention-grabbing advertising flights are possible.

In this post, our guest author Manuel Pfaff takes a look at the latest figures and developments in the DOOH market to gain a better understanding of how this advertising channel is changing the advertising world and the opportunities it offers companies.

What actually is DOOH?

The term "DOOH" stands for "Digital-Out-of-Home" and describes any kind of digital outdoor advertising that you see on screens in public places.

DOOH is the fastest growing area in outdoor advertising, there are now over 135,000 different screens in Germany. The focus is on densely populated metropolitan regions. DOOH media are omnipresent: airports, train stations, supermarkets, shopping centres, doctor's practices, fitness studios, fast food restaurants - you name it. In contrast to traditional poster advertising, digital screens are not only on the street, but wherever people are. And the best thing about it: DOOH combines the size of posters with videos and sometimes even the dynamics from the digital world.

What is the difference between DOOH and OOH?

OOH refers to traditional Out-of-Home advertising, i.e., advertising media in public spaces, such as large billboards, super posters, or column posters. The biggest difference is that OOH is static and pasted - i.e., posters. DOOH, on the other hand, are digital screens. In the OOH sector, booking is usually based on decades (two weeks), DOOH is much more dynamic here and there is also the possibility to book by the day or even by the hour. Many OOH steles are now being digitized so that they become DOOH screens. The biggest marketers are Ströer and Wall Deceaux.

Why are DOOH campaigns interesting for companies?

Digital-out-of-Home campaigns are interesting for companies because they can address both large and small, specific, hard-to-reach target groups precisely and with high impact.

OOH enables companies to personalize and automate their campaigns by using geographical and demographic data to reach the right target group. The campaigns can be adjusted in real time to respond to current events and offers.

Due to the high visibility and the ability to accurately target the audience, DOOH campaigns achieve a high advertising impact. The impact of a sensibly placed DOOH ad is extremely high and usually stronger than, for example, an Instagram story ad, which is clicked away after a fraction of a second. Or can you name several Instagram ads you saw today?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of DOOH ads?

Ads in the DOOH sector bring both advantages and disadvantages. However, the advantages definitely prevail in a properly planned campaign.


  • A high reach can be built up in a short period of time. This is particularly suitable for mass target groups where wastage is more like a gain.
  • Although it is a one-to-many communication, the ads can be personalized. They can be adjusted according to weather, time of day, regional aspects or the demographic aspects of the region (for example, business lounges at airports for B2B products).
  • Ads can be adjusted in real time. This can ensure that only products that are currently available in the next POS are displayed on the screens based on feed connections through Programmatic DOOH.
  • Since more and more companies are increasingly looking for staff, DOOH is also becoming increasingly popular for recruiting ads. Many companies have realised that the ads can be played out regionally in a meaningful way. Especially in sectors where many companies are bundled in one place, it definitely makes sense.
  • Another advantage is interaction. DOOH ads can contain interactive elements like QR codes or augmented reality, increasing interaction with the audience. Thanks to the QR codes, users can be directly redirected to a landing page and so DOOH ads can also become performance ads.

The Disadvantages lie in the eye of the beholder, but should not be glossed over:

  • Anyone planning a national DOOH campaign should have a certain budget, as the costs can rise significantly due to high-frequency touchpoints such as main stations and most advertising messages should not only be present for one day.
  • DOOH campaigns can only reach the people who are present at the screens during the campaign period. Especially people in rural areas can hardly be reached this way.
  • Another disadvantage is the environmental impact in the context of the energy crisis. Since the screens consume a lot of electricity, the ads can be perceived as disturbing by some target groups and possibly affect the environment.

With which advertising formats can DOOH ads be implemented?

There are many different advertising formats in the DOOH sector, just like in the online world. Some are static, some contain a video. But above all, there are different advertising media. There are a multitude of formats that target different locations and audiences. Some of these formats are:

  • Public-Station-VideoThis format is often used in train stations and airports to send advertising to a large and diverse target group located near the screens.
  • Public-Mall-VideoThis format is used in shopping centres and supermarkets to send advertising to a target group located near shopping locations.
  • Infoscreen: This format uses screens to provide the target group with additional information such as weather forecasts, news, and traffic reports while they wait for their subway, for example.
  • City-Light-Boards: This format uses large outdoor advertising spaces in cities to send advertising to a broad target group.
  • Digital advertising pillars: This format uses interactive screens installed on advertising pillars in cities to send advertising to a broad target group.
  • Waiting room TV: This format is used in doctors' practices, dental practices, fitness studios, and other places where people wait to send targeted advertising to a target group.
  • Mobile Screens: This format uses vehicles or other mobile units to bring advertising to different places and reach a broad target group.

Each of these formats has its own advantages and limitations, and it depends on the company's goals and target audience which format is best.

New trends are emerging all the time for all different types of advertising media. One of the best examples is TikTok, where a trend only lasts for a short time. Fortunately, this is not the case with (D)OOH ads. Below are a few examples of current trends in campaigns:

"Dynamisation" through regionalism

The ads are adapted to the respective locations. For example, an ad with the wording "Moin" is played out in Hamburg and an ad with "Servus" in Munich. However, this is not dynamic, but merely a hyperlocal standalone campaign.

Recruiting Ads

As already mentioned earlier, DOOH ads are now often used for recruiting ads. The advantage here is that the target group can be reached directly on the way to work and can be redirected to the application page using interactive integrations, for example.


Programmatic advertising refers to the automation of buying and selling advertising space. Unlike traditional manual purchasing of advertising space, where media planners and salespeople negotiate directly with each other, programmatic advertising allows automated purchasing of advertising space via a digital platform.

There are two types of programmatic advertising: Real-Time Bidding (RTB) and Private Marketplaces (PMP). RTB allows advertisers to buy advertising space in real time based on supply and demand. PMP enables companies to buy advertising space directly from publishers without having to determine supply and demand on an auction basis. This enables companies to target their advertising campaigns to specific target groups by using data such as age, gender, preferences, and behavior to optimize the placement and scheduling of advertising materials.

Exemplary successful examples of Digital-out-of-Home campaigns

When looking at best cases, of course, immediately on YouTube many videos come up that were produced only for awards. These ads were not played out nationally, but mostly only at one touchpoint. Nevertheless, the effect and advertising impact on the affected people is optimal.

A personal highlight is Pepsi Max with an augmented reality ad at a bus stop:

Remaining in this award category, the list could be extended by certainly twenty more examples. However, this does not lead to an efficient and meaningful campaign that can serve as an example for planning. Therefore, the following example:

Bahlsen PiCK UP!

This campaign shows how PiCK UP! introduces its new varieties with Programmatic DOOH. By using programmatic advertising campaigns, Bahlsen or Weischer.JvB can play out more targeted advertising to the target group. This allows the advertising to be sent at specific times and places for optimal visibility.

Programmatic-DOOH is used to achieve a larger reach and better targeting. This way, the contacts can also be optimized so as not to always play out at the same touchpoints. This shows how more and more brands are resorting to implementing Programmatic-DOOH campaigns to better address the target group and maximize the advertising impact.

What DOOH software is used to implement Digital-out-of-Home?

There is no direct software for booking DOOH, but rather the possibility to book the campaigns via a DSP. However, there is not classically known as in programmatic an "Open Auction", but it can only be booked via "Deals". One of the DSP’s that can be used for this is Active Agent. Here, deals are then set up with the respective DOOH marketers and played out after approval. Active Agent is also software for Cross-Channel Advertising – this means that, for example, the DOOH campaign can be part of a big campaign, where each channel tells the same message, but represents different stages in the funnel.


The potential of DOOH is great and the relevance of the advertising medium is becoming increasingly known. Companies recognize the advantages that DOOH offers and therefore invest in the development of new formats and technologies. DOOH enables companies to target the target group more specifically and maximize the advertising impact. Programmatic DOOH is particularly promising, as it allows advertising campaigns to be adjusted and optimized in real time. With the increasing linking of DOOH with digital technologies such as GPS, digital outdoor advertising is becoming increasingly mobile and thus reaching an even larger target group.

Manuel Pfaff
Manuel Pfaff

Manuel Pfaff ist seit mehreren Jahren in der digitalen Mediawelt aktiv und durchlief schon verschiedene Agenturen und Bereiche. Begonnen bei der Digitalen Mediaplanung, über den Teamlead Digital Media Consulting erstellt er nun Mediastrategien für Unternehmen. Zu seinen betreuten Kund:innen gehören diverse Unternehmen aus dem Food, Spielwaren, FMCG und Tourismus Bereich. Er ist Director Business Development und verantwortet außerdem den Bereich der Mediastrategien bei der Hamburg Media- und Digitalagentur adlicious.

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