PDOOH: A Marketing Term Entrepreneurs Should Know PDOOH is quickly becoming an option that entrepreneurs and small businesses should consider.

By Amanda Dorenberg

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Big businesses have long employed out-of-home (OOH) and digital out-of-home (DOOH) marketing to promote their brands, expand into new markets and grow market share. Over the last decade, however, techniques for assessing ROI for OOH and DOOH campaigns, analyzing message customization, reach, market composition and targeted buying behaviors have made DOOH more accessible to small businesses.

Programmatic DOOH (PDOOH) is quickly becoming a medium that entrepreneurs and small businesses should take notice of and consider within their media mix modeling.

What is programmatic DOOH?

Programmatic DOOH (PDOOH) is the automated purchase and delivery of advertising impressions based on predetermined factors such as audience segmentation, time of day and geographical relevance. This eliminates time-consuming offer vetting and contract negotiation to allow entrepreneurs to launch marketing campaigns efficiently and often at a reasonable cost of entry.

PDOOH triggers purchases based on the entrepreneur's cost-per-thousand (CPM) guidelines and target audience parameters, rather than specific channels or locations — maximizing reach and target audience exposure on a startup-friendly budget.

Programmatic DOOH is affordable

Programmatic DOOH automates much of the financial, accounting and administrative burden that can plague entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses operating with skeleton crews and shoestring budgets.

PDOOH delivers a multitude of economic benefits for entrepreneurs:

  • Insight – Programmatic purchases are easy to track and evaluate so entrepreneurs gain a clear understanding of what works and what needs to be adjusted to achieve maximum ROI.

  • Integration – PDOOH offers an easy way to test new products, territories and potential customer segments to evaluate vertical or horizontal business integration strategies.

  • Efficiency – Programming ad purchases are generally executed through an online demand-side platform (DSP) with the full purchase order controlled by the buyer and approved by the seller. Direct deals — or private marketplace (PMP) deals — can be pushed via programmatic platforms for special rates and executed immediately upon approval. All creative approval and other elements of campaign planning are done within the DSP, streamlining the buying process. Additionally, the flexibility of pausing a campaign mid-flight is a bonus to entrepreneurs as they juggle business and budget allocation needs.

Related: Marketing Trends in the Post-Pandemic Business Environment

Programmatic DOOH is competitive

In a world inundated with media messages, technology and advertising overload, our human response has developed methods for tuning out. OOH and DOOH cut through these mechanisms to command consumers' full attention. It's the only always-on media format where you can't ad-block, swipe or turn the page to ignore the print advertisement. In the battle for eyeballs and eardrums, OOH and DOOH is an entrepreneurs' secret weapon, particularly PDOOH. The channel's unique attributes translate to sustainable advantages:

  • Scalable – As revenues and marketing budgets increase, CPM budgets can expand for more precise targeting and/or greater coverage and reinforcement.

  • Focused – PDOOH accommodates the use of purchase-behavior triggers, audience geofencing, competitive conquesting and other tactics for reaching the most likely customers.

  • Flexible – Real-time bidding (RTB) for ad placements allows buyers to set their maximum CPM rates. The automation of PDOOH provides greater ad message/media mix customization, A/B message testing, time of day preference setting and more.

  • Coordinated - PDOOH plays well with traditional OOH, native online and other advertising formats to garner the benefits of cross-channel marketing by raising brand awareness and establishing buyer loyalty.

Related: Get Ahead of Your Competition With 2022's Must-Have Digital-Marketing Trends

How entrepreneurs can leverage programmatic DOOH

With PDOOH, entrepreneurs can focus on message development, audience development, coordination, timing and other creative aspects of their campaigns, while their chosen DSP takes care of the execution, coordinates the specific impressions purchased from the supply-side platform (SSP) and publishers (media owners) and ensures the campaigns meet their budget and exposure goals. Entrepreneurs should reference these steps to ensure the effectiveness of their PDOOH campaigns:

  • Define the audience to ensure the right messages reach the right people.

  • Track the effectiveness of all DOOH placements (as well as all other marketing efforts) to ensure proper "credit" is given to those that generate the best results. Leverage attribution studies that can monitor the uptake to in-store or online conversions.

  • Set a baseline and measure frequently. Use unique promotional codes, web analytics, surveys and digital tools such as those offered by credible associations and measurement bureaus.

  • Develop impactful, engaging content. As with all audience engagement, content is king in DOOH and OOH in general. Make potential customers a part of the campaign. Get them involved by including engaging content for DOOH formats such as QR codes, quizzes, games, animation and other attention-grabbing features. A report by Canada-based Broadsign notes that these features can incorporate PDOOH into place-based screens, as well transcend basic measures such as impressions to measure what really matters: actual engagements and an analysis of the impact each impression makes on audience understanding and message recall.

  • Retarget prospects using data generated from DOOH impressions. Retargeting mobile users is especially a strong tactic for integrating campaigns with other digital channels to maximize online conversions initiated with DOOH.

  • Wrangle and activate audience data. Be as precise as possible in determining the rules that will govern where ads will appear. For instance, two Canadian firms, Hivestack and MiQ, have partnered to incorporate Hivestack's DOOH DSP and omnichannel-integrated SSP and MiQ's audience segmentation for screen activation and tactical placement decisions.

The speed of business demands that entrepreneurs adapt on the fly. They must be able to refine their messaging to events and trends in near real-time to customize messages, demonstrate cultural and environmental awareness and respond to changes in the marketplace. PDOOH provides this flexibility as well as the ability to see which channels and messages drive the most revenue so they can redirect resources to their best effect.

Related: How Experiential Ecommerce is Digitally Reconceptualizing Human Connection

Amanda Dorenberg

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor


Amanda Dorenberg is a technology and marketing executive with a passion for disrupting traditional industries through new and emerging tech. She's currently the president of COMMB (Canadian Out-of-Home Marketing & Measurement Bureau).

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