By E.B. Moss,Podcaster Founder/Podcaster, 

As the media industry embraces new channels and new acronyms like RMN (Retail Media Networks), marketers are tackling new tactics and terms like “anamorphic.” Together, agencies and brands are applying what’s new and what’s next IRL (In Real Life) in one of the fastest evolving areas of advertising: DOOH (Digital Out of Home). In fact, the increasing role of DOOH in retail media will be a central theme at DPAA’s Global Summit to take place on October 10 in New York. (For more information and to see CMOs from McDonald’s, Pepsi and others address these topics click here.)


All reports — from dentsu’s 2023 Global Ad Spend Forecasts to GroupM’s latest mid-year forecast — predict, pound for pound, digital out of home will be the champion of OOH growth in 2023, with double-digit increases projected.


When Kate Scott-Dawkins, Global President of GroupM’s Business Intelligence division, broke out specific numbers at a meeting earlier this summer, hosted by DPAA – the global trade association for digital out of home — some nods of approval broke out among members: OOH and DOOH together are projected grow 13.4%, or to $35.6 billion for 2023, but DOOH itself is forecast to grow at almost twice the combined rate, or 26.1% in 2023, to capture some $13.3B of that projected pie.


Much of that growth is thanks to DOOH’s ability to keep pace with the breakneck speed of creative changes, such as using AI for intelligent versioning, that anamorphic – 3-D – signage, or mind-bending boards like the first circular sign, used by MilkPEP to depict filling a glass of milk. But when paired with sister category Retail Media – the fastest growing channel – it’s a combo that satisfies advertiser desires to boost brand awareness both on the path to purchase and at the point of purchase.


Brighter Skies Ahead


This all helps fuel projections that put Retail Media at bigger than linear TV and CTV combined by 2028. And that, as Scott-Dawkins generously noted, “is a massive opportunity for you in DOOH, especially for those of you who offer video, and video with sound, as clients look for incremental reach due to cord cutting and decline of Linear.”


Fellow panelist Scott Thompson, Sr. Director of Media and Ad Tech at advisory company Progress Partners, offered additional reasons for optimism: “There’s been an increase in RFPs – call it ‘ice breakers’ — around spending.”


Super-powering further growth, Dawkins and Thompson agreed, is the pairing of DOOH with Retail Media, which they described as “a match made in heaven.” Virtually all industry pundits see Retail Media as the fastest growing medium overall, at $125B global in projections for the year, with Progress Partners particularly bullish on the US’s portion, estimating close to $45B in revenue.


Their definition of Retail Media, FYI, is “any and all advertising for retailers, which includes the Amazon DSP business and things that are running off site, but informed by their customer data. It does not, though, include things like Google Shopping, Facebook Shopping,” explained Scott-Dawkins.


With its recent acquisition of DPAA member company, Volta Charging, Shell has expanded its “retail media network” via EV charging stations as their “storefronts,” capitalizing on that desirable “video and video with sound” aspect of DOOH. They’ve embraced digital out of home for their own brand marketing as well, according to Americo de Campos Silva, Global Head of Comms & Engagement, who said “When we’ve done media plans, OOH was always perceived as driving recall versus selling the details. Today with digital screens, which is incredible, it’s just a matter of having the right creative and adjusting to different formats.”


Blurred Signs


Video, video with sound…where TV stops and DOOH or even Retail Media starts is a bit of a blurred line: one might categorize display ads in a “metaverse mall” as virtual DOOH, while IRL end aisle digital displays are…? What’s important is that the industry is leveraging innovative creative, technologies, strategies and tactics for more effective retail and DOOH marketing. The challenge, as discussed across various fireside chats with brands, agencies and DPAA members, is speeding up the learning curve for content, media and measurement teams.


That starts with strategy.


Matt Adams, CEO, Europe Assembly, paired on a panel with client Alberto Spinelli, President of Global Advertising for Lenovo, and fellow agency head Barry Cupples, CEO of Talon, an independent Out of Home shop. Adams described their approach for what Lenovo is leaning into: “the power and precision of out of home.”


“All of our work starts with strategy,” continued Adams, “and, using tools like GWI, PubMatic, Kantar, figuring out exactly how we want to layer in audiences from an execution perspective. …So, we’re able to take that brand impact and the consideration that you get from out of home, and layer that onto analytics with site location and precision. That’s relatively new, and becoming really interesting, for the brand and for e-commerce… And working with Talon we see how that’s executed — whether that’s a high impact format, anamorphic, any of the more engaging executions to drive consideration, all in the digital space versus static signs – so, running segmentation through our tools, patching in analytics and seeing how best to get that onto the streets to drive consideration.”


Cupples is on a mission to change perceptions of OOH as a legacy medium to one that is “highly effective, creative, innovative, sustainable and measurable for clients.” As such, Talon built their own tool to answer the need for ingestion of inventory “because the other verticals were there ten years ago. …We want to address audiences, outcomes and prove it.” Especially now, with their notable tech, advocacy, and even their own DMP. Or, as Cupples said, “You have to be performance-driven and have the metrics to go with it.”


“…There’s no magic recipe,” Spinelli agreed, “you just go case by case. “But the other big question mark for us is, is it better to invest more in our ecommerce direct business or to put some of that money in the media. At the end of the day, you measure that output with how much you sell. But it’s much more difficult to judge whether my digital out of home is more effective in, say, Piccadilly Circus or in Heathrow Airport. That’s something more intangible that for us is a bigger problem.”


But as DPAA CEO Barry Frey wrapped it up, “The good news is that DOOH measurement is getter better every day. We see retail media and digital out of home as inexplicably tied together and the opportunity for our industry is also to get those above the line budgets into stores and not just have the below the line budget, to help increase value and ROI overall.”