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The secret of DOOH success

Digital Out-of-Home is the new star in the media sky. There are a number of reasons for this.
Thomas Koch | 26.03.2022
The secret of DOOH success © Freepik

Thomas Koch will be the guest in our weekly Clubhouse session on Tuesday.

Successful campaigns need publicity and reach, but the reach of many media is not good. Newspapers, TV and radio are losing, especially among younger consumers. And online is struggling with rising adblocker numbers. Outdoor advertising is the last, great mass medium.

No wonder, then, that its market share is constantly rising, most recently to almost eight per cent. The reason for this is DOOH: more than 100,000 digital screens at ever more and new touchpoints. They currently account for almost a third of all outdoor advertising sales and are thus solely responsible for the increasing attractiveness of outdoor advertising. And there is room for improvement: In metropolises like London or Paris, the share of DOOH sales already accounts for 70-80 per cent.

The latest coverage study "Public and Private Screens 2019" attests DOOH advertising media a weekly coverage of 65 percent, in young, mobile target groups even up to 80 percent. This makes the still young medium ideally suited to compensate for reach deficits from other media.

Reach plus relevance

Reach is indispensable. Even more important for advertising success is only the relevance of the message. That is a truism. But one that is criminally neglected in marketing. If the message hits the wrong person at the wrong moment, the advertising remains ineffective.

Advertising for Dallmayr coffee late at night on TV is of little relevance. Advertising for Starbucks in the morning on the way to work would be hard to beat in terms of relevance if you know the habits of the target group. And if a newspaper wanted to advertise its online offer, it would ideally meet the news-on-Facebook-consuming target group on and in public transport.

The much-vaunted customer centricity is much more than just a buzz, but the key word here: only when you know what is important to the target group and when, can advertising have an optimal effect.


What advertisers and agencies expect from their campaigns borders on magic. Every single contact with the sender's message must attract attention and ideally even trigger an action. They seriously expect this, even though they are generating just one of 10,000 messages that fight for our attention every day.

The message reaches print readers at home at the kitchen table or on the couch. Radio listeners in the stressful traffic jam to work. TV viewers as they fall asleep in the evening. And online users while they desperately search for the "click away" button to read an article online.

The moment decides

So it often happens that a message reaches us just when it is completely irrelevant. The blame for this lies not with the target group but with the advertisers, who are often indifferent to the relevance of the moment. They manage their contacts according to criteria such as profitability, but not according to the relevance of the moment. But this "eye-gaze" decides the weal and woe of the entire campaign.

It is important to take advantage of this extraordinary DOOH situation. Consumers are in a state where the situation itself decides the relevance of the message: Talking about thirst or craving for burgers when the target group is thirsty or ravenous in the shopping mall. Talking about cars when the car driver returns to his car at the rest stop.

We find DOOH screens at touchpoints that consumers pass on their way to consumption and purchase. It is the primal dream of brands and advertisers. People are in a situation that is completely different from sitting on the couch watching TV. And different from frantically surfing the net. Contact with DOOH is the last, often all-important contact immediately before consumption and purchase.

The mix makes the magic

It is this combination that makes DOOH campaigns so successful: reach, relevance and the right moment. Hardly any other medium masters this mix with similar precision - perfectly adaptable for every conceivable target group.


Another special feature distinguishes digital screens from conventional posters: Moving images. The moving image generates a high level of attention and significantly increases the impact of any message. Why this comprehensible phenomenon is only used by a fraction of campaigns remains a mystery.

The medium is only struggling with its own positioning. On the one hand, it is a mass medium with one-to-many character, on the other hand, it is a digital medium that has great similarities with the one-to-one "heroes" search, display and email marketing. The programmatic delivery of DOOH advertising, which is currently being expanded, will drive success because it increases efficiency and target group precision even further. And with it the demand on the part of advertisers and agencies. The bottom line is that DOOH is a digital mass medium with target group character. It delivers, if you will, "The Best Of Both Worlds".

DOOH is digital advertising without disruptive factors, without adblockers and adfraud, and at the same time equipped with the highest degree of brand safety. With DOOH, we are getting closer and closer to the magic of successful advertising. 

Img of Thomas Koch
About the author: Thomas Koch

Thomas Koch is considered a thought leader in German advertising and has been in the media business for 47 years.