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What does data-driven OOH mean for marketing?

26th Sep 2016
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The age old challenge with out of home (OOH) sites has been that the creative is, by and large, static. Stellar photography, design and even the addition of a 3D element could only do so much to bring dynamism to what is a fixed medium. But that all changed with the growth of digital OOH sites and as these displays have become more prevalent, so the creative use of data has spurred on some remarkable new ideas too.

In essence, data-driven OOH means the creative can be fixed, can be changed or can be fed programmatically depending on the time of day, the weather or dozens of other factors. Whether it’s billboards, bus shelters, underground posters or any other digital and connected signage, it’s easy to think of this medium very much as “conventional” media. Data-driven OOH offers the chance to target in unprecedented ways, making it the newest data-driven medium available to marketers.

As I see it, the future of OOH comes down to the 3 D’s: Digital, Data and Distribution. The brands that can master and combine these three elements will be the ones that are best placed to capitalise on this renaissance in OOH.


Gone are the days of needing a team of people to physically arrive and change the creative for OOH. These spaces are increasingly digital-first, whether it’s at the airport, bus stop, railway station, roadside, shopping centre or even on the side of public bins. This content can now be changed at the click of a mouse, or arranged programmatically depending on a number of triggers.


Every one of these new OOH sites has the potential to create and use data too. For example, using image recognition to serve ads based on specific demographics or groups, or NFC for interactive content. Campaigns have already launched to target passers-by in real time using Wimbledon scores, using image recognition for fashion and for cars. In fact, earlier this year London’s Capital FM music radio station announced a partnership with Outdoor Plus. This saw 14 digital OOH sites near some of the city’s busiest roads updating commuters on what songs were being played on the station throughout the day, via a dynamic live feed. These are just some of a host of projects shining a light on the opportunities that digital out-of-home ads now present.


Along with the new sites and insight there are also a host of new distribution networks working to make OOH better, as well as easier for brands to use. There are also groups like Route, a joint venture of OOH media owners, producing a remarkable depth of analysis about different sites. The investigation is impressive, with details such as demographics, average time spent, and a host of other factors taken into consideration. For example, posters in The City of London and on Oxford Street will have very different audiences walking underneath, and Route quantifies these differences. This is excellent for making your media spend better targeted and more relevant.

DMA Awards

All of this means that OOH today is a medium with a wealth of opportunity for marketers. That’s why we’re excited to have launched a new Out Of Home category for this year’s DMA Awards. The category is open to all data-driven OOH campaigns and will be judged on the creativity, strategy and results they can show.

You can find out more about the new category and enter your best campaigns on the DMA Awards website:

We look forward to seeing the exciting work the OOH industry is creating, utilising the power of data to feed the digital display revolution.

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