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Out-of-home (OOH) advertising, also called outdoor advertising, outdoor media, and out-of-home media, is advertising experienced outside of the home. This includes billboards, wallscapes, and posters seen while "on the go". It also includes place-based media seen in places such as convenience stores, medical centers, salons, and other brick-and-mortar venues. OOH advertising formats fall into four main categories: billboards, street furniture, transit, and alternative.[1]

The OOH advertising industry in the United States includes more than 2,100 operators in 50 states representing the major out of home format categories.[citation needed][2] These OOH media companies range from public, multinational media corporations to small, independent, family-owned businesses. Currently, the United Kingdom and France are Western Europe's first and second largest markets for OOH, respectively. Data from Outsmart (formerly the Outdoor Media Centre), the UK's out-of-home advertising trade association, shows that digital out-of-home (DOOH) grew at a 29.7% CAGR from 2009 to 2014.[3]


An advertisement on the side of a truck
An advertisement on the side of a truck

Billboard advertising is a traditional OOH advertising format, but there has been significant growth in digital OOH (digital billboards and place-based networks) in recent years. For example, about 4,900 digital billboard displays have been installed in China and the US.[4]

Traditional roadside billboards remain the predominant form of OOH advertising in the US with 66% of total annual revenue. Today, billboard revenue is 73% local ads, 18% national ads, and 9% public service ads.[5]

Street furniture is made up of formats such as bus shelters, news racks, mall kiosks, and telephone booth advertising. This form of OOH advertising is mainly seen in urban centers. This form of advertising provides benefits to communities, as building and maintaining the shelters people use while waiting for buses.[citation needed]

Transit advertising is typically advertising placed on anything which moves, such as buses, subway advertising, truckside, food trucks, and taxis, but also includes fixed static and electronic advertising at train and bus stations and platforms.[6] Airport advertising, which addresses a traveling audience, is included in this category. Advertising on metro trains is becoming very popular these days, particularity in India. Municipalities often accept this form of advertising, as it provides revenue to city and port authorities.[citation needed] Walking billboard, vehicle branding, pamphlet distributions, road shows etc. are some more forms of transit media advertisements.

Street furniture, transit, and alternative media formats comprise 34% of total outdoor revenue in the US. Some of these formats have a higher percentage of national ads than traditional billboards.[7]

Digital out-of-home

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) refers to dynamic media distributed across place-based networks in venues including, but not limited to: cafes, grocery stores, bars, restaurants, health clubs, colleges, arenas, gas stations, convenience stores, barber shops, airports and public spaces. PQ Media defines DOOH by two major platforms, digital place-based networks (DPN) and digital billboards & signage (DBB); DOOH networks typically feature independently addressable screens, kiosks, jukeboxes and/or jumbotrons. DOOH media benefits location owners and advertisers alike in being able to engage customers and/or audiences and extend the reach and effectiveness of marketing messages. It is also referred to as digital signage.[citation needed]

In the US the DOOH industry is expected to grow to $3.25 billion in 2021, representing 36% of the total OOH spending.[8]

The reason that this category is growing so rapidly is because busy people are typically busy at home and with the introduction and acceptance of digital video recorders (DVRs), it has diluted the frequency with which traditional TV commercials are viewed. Every day more TV viewers are skipping past commercials with their DVRs, making out-of-home advertising more appealing.[9] A Nielsen media research study in 2009 showed that 91% of DVR owners skipped commercials. As a result, traditional TV advertisers are hungry for an effective substitute, and digital out-of-home ads appear to be one of the solutions. Digital out of home advertising seems to be a cost-effective way for promoting or marketing any brand or product. Usage of billboards and displays for brand promotion is a less expensive way of advertising than TV, radio, newspapers and other mediums.[citation needed]

DOOH includes stand-alone screens, screens on buildings, kiosks, and interactive media found in public places. The availability of inexpensive LCD screens with built-in media players has opened the door for companies to add interactive video messages in point of purchase (POP) displays. The displays allow consumers to get additional information at the moment of decision on a product or service. Growth in the DOOH industry has been increasing in 2009, with more POP manufacturers, advertisers, and content developers moving to digital. Technological improvements are holding down costs, and low-cost digital signage is making it easier to reach consumers on a larger scale.[10] For example, beacons are small devices placed on out-of-home advertising structures that use Bluetooth technology to connect with mobile devices.

Beacons allow you to communicate with the viewer. They also tell you frequency. With these technologies you could, for example, with certainty that from 3-5 p.m. on a Monday this is how many men or women walked in front of your sign and also what percentage are new people, which are repeat people, etc..

— Mark Boidman, managing director at PJSC.[11]

DOOH is present in a variety of venues including gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, gyms and ride-sharing vehicles.[citation needed]

With digital TVs in gas stations, nearly 52 million customers are getting snippets of weather, sports highlights, celebrity gossip and commercials with their gas each month, according to Nielsen. The weekly reach is actually larger than most of the prime-time TV shows. The largest company in the space is Gas Station TV with 27.5 million monthly viewers at more than 1,100 stations across the US, according to Nielsen.[12] In addition to the large number of viewers, the audience profile of TVs at gas stations is unique. All are drivers and 76% are adults from age 18-49 with a median age of 40 and median household income over $70,000.[13] According to the Nielsen Intercept Studies, 89% of the consumers are engaged and watching TV at the gas station and 88% love watching when fueling because they have nothing else to do.[full citation needed]

In supermarkets, networks like Grocery TV and Starlite Media have established digital screens at various points in grocery stores to provide brands with opportunities to reach customers along their purchase journey. In addition to building brand awareness some of these networks are also able to tie direct results such as sales lift to advertising campaigns.[citation needed]

In gyms, Zoom Media (GymTV) engages fitness-minded audiences with lifestyle content, fitness tips, and music.[citation needed]

In 2015, DOOH has also started to extend to in-transit advertising. Tablets are installed inside ride-sharing vehicles like Uber, Lyft and Grab. Digital ads are displayed inside the screens allowing brands to reach high-value passengers. This type of DOOH leverages technology to improve ad distribution and better OOH audience targeting. GPS of tablets are used to enable location-based marketing. Brands can specify geo-fences to determine where their ads will be shown to passengers.[citation needed]

Programmatic out-of-home

See also: Demand-side platform, Supply-side platform, and Ad exchange

Within the DOOH industry, advertisements may be purchased through programmatic platforms. Programmatic platforms ask marketers to specify desired audience characteristics and automatically locate the media vehicles to deliver that audience. These platforms may allow buyers (the demand side) to plan, execute and monitor campaigns across multiple media platforms (the supply side) using a familiar workflow.[14][15] A major difference between programmatic digital out-of-home (pDOOH) and traditional OOH or DOOH is that programmatic automates the process of buying, selling and delivering inventory across multiple screens with enhanced capabilities. These enhanced capabilities include the creation of measurable, highly-targeted campaigns by utilizing geolocation data to activate the best DOOH screens in real-time based on consumer behaviour and audience movement patterns.[16] Additionally, programmatic allows buyers to set specific parameters or conditions (also known as triggers) for a campaign or inventory and unleash the potential to power campaigns with unlimited data sets from a myriad of data sources. Only when the selected conditions are met will an ad or content be served onto the screen.[17]

As the media buyer, there are a number of benefits to buying out-of-home ad space programmatically.[18]

  1. Aggregate supply: Programmatic technology provides you with a single access point for all inventory[19]. This type of transaction usually provides additional transparency into budgeting and campaign performance metrics.
  2. Efficient workflow: A media buyer is able to purchase ad space with a variety of sellers without the time and hours is takes to create individual contacts with each. This allows even the smallest teams to handle large, complex campaigns by being more dynamic and efficient with how they spend their time.
  3. Data-Informed Purchasing: Programmatic platforms use data to inform buying decisions for every single ad placement at the impression or spot level

As a media owner, there are a number of ways the programmatic technology can benefit you.[18]

  1. Discoverable Inventory: You can control which inventory you want to make available, to which buyers, and how much you want to charge for it.
  2. Fully Monetized Digital Signage Network: Programmatic technology enables you to maximize yield across your digital signage network by monetizing all available inventory through an additional sales channel that requires little direct effort.
  3. Curated Premium Inventory: By taking advantage of programmatic ad buying, you are able to segment target audiences more effectively and justify increased advertiser spend, by leveraging data to identify inventory that aligns with audiences.

Printed out-of-home

Printed out of home refers to static media distributed across physical spaces.[20] These are:[citation needed]

Aerial advertising
Aerial advertising includes towing banners via a fixed-wing aircraft as well as airships like blimps and other airborne inflatables above beaches, events and gridlock traffic.[21]
Billboard bicycle
is a new type of mobile advertising in which a bike tows a billboard with an advertising message. This method is a cost-efficient, targeted, and environmentally-friendly form of advertising.[according to whom?]
A printed mobile billboard truck advertising
A printed mobile billboard truck advertising
Brochure Distribution
Information displays in public gathering spaces such as transportation centers, lodging facilities, visitor centers, attractions, and retail environments are targeted methods to distribute effective messaging to a targeted audience. This method is slightly different from traditional OOH as the consumer self-selects the messaging material, and can take that message with them.[citation needed]
(or Bulletins) are usually located in highly visible,[22] heavy traffic areas such as expressways, primary arterials, and major intersections. In the US bulletins are usually illuminated. The ad artwork, commonly digitally printed on large vinyl-coated fabric membranes, is often "rotated" by the outdoor plant operator amongst several locations in a metropolitan area to achieve the desired reach of the population as defined in the sales contract. With extended periods of high visibility, billboard advertisements provide advertisers with significant impact on commuters. This is the largest standard out of home advertising format, usually measuring at 14ftx48ft in overall size.[citation needed]
Vinyl decals allowing use of windows, on a side and rear advertisement for alcohol on a Berlin bus
Vinyl decals allowing use of windows, on a side and rear advertisement for alcohol on a Berlin bus
Bus advertising
Firmly establish brand awareness and generate quick recall with high-profile exposure near point of purchase locations.[according to whom?]
Commuter rail display
Reaches a captive audience of upscale suburban commuters. Additionally, reaches lunch-time patrons, shoppers and business professionals.[according to whom?]
ComPark advertising
ComPark is a device used for car park advertising, which is placed onto the parallel lines of a bay and is able to gain instant exposure from motorists that have parked their vehicle. The ComPark also serves as a guide to assist motorist in adhering to the parking bay size.[citation needed]
Gas Station Pump Top Advertising
Printed Signage is inserted into sign holder frames above the Pumps. These are called Pump Top advertising and are generally eye-level height.[citation needed] Average dwell time for customers to refuel their vehicle is 3-5 minutes which make this form of advertising very effective to reach automobile drivers.[according to whom?]
Inflatable billboard
similar to regular 2D billboard, but imposed on 3D object. Best used to market physical products rather than services. A cost-effective approach that is able to achieve high brand awareness and increase product purchases.[according to whom?]
Replica Inflatable Advertising
As well as Inflatable Billboards, Inflatables have become a popular form of advertising for companies looking to utilise outdoor space and venues. Many of these inflatables come in the shape of the product or logo's they are trying to sell such as Can's of Drink, Cars and other products. This form of advertising is an engaging, portable and relatively cost effective form of advertising. This is especially true at events where company want to boost their brand or product awareness or enhance their stand at the event. [23]
Castrol Oil Replica Inflatables as part of an Outdoor promotional campaign
Castrol Oil Replica Inflatables as part of an Outdoor promotional campaign
Lamppost banner advertising
Lamp columns are sited everywhere, allowing advertisers and events to use banners to target precise geographical locations and create massive promotional awareness.[citation needed]
Mobile billboard
Mobile billboards offer a great degree of flexibility to advertisers. These advertisements can target specific routes, venue or events, or can be used to achieve market saturation. A special version is the inflatable billboard which can stand free nearly everywhere.

This product can also be used for outdoor movie nights.[citation needed]

Mobile inflatable billboard
Mobile inflatable billboard
Target local audiences with these billboards, which are visible to vehicular traffic, and are ideal for the introduction of new products/services. Marketers use posters to achieve advertising objectives and increase brand awareness by placing multiple units in strategic locations while lowering the cost per thousand impressions. This is a standardized poster format, typically measuring 12'3" x 24'6"; formally known as a 30-Sheet Poster.[citation needed]
Premier panel
Premiere panels combine the frequency and reach of a poster campaign with the creative impact of a bulletin.[according to whom?]
Premier square
Bright top and bottom illumination on a premiere panel provide extra impact after dark.[according to whom?]
Street advertising
The use of pavements and street furniture to create media space for brands to get their message onto the street in a cost-effective approach.[according to whom?]
Taxi advertising
Taxi advertising
Taxi advertising
Taxi advertising allows advertisers to highlight their products, whether brand awareness, or a targeted message, directly to areas where people work, shop, and play.[citation needed]
Wallscapes are attached to buildings and are able to accommodate a wide variety of unusual shapes and sizes. These billboard advertisements are visible from a distance and provide impact in major metro areas.[citation needed]
Aircraft Advertising
Aircraft advertising includes product or service branding inside and outside the aircraft. This includes wrapping the aircraft with printed SAVs, baggage tag branding, boarding pass branding, tray table branding and more.[citation needed]
Walking Billboard
Walking Billboard
Walking Billboards
These billboards are strapped on to the human shoulder and are carried along the targeted geographic area.[clarification needed] These billboard advertisements are also visible during night.[citation needed] It helps the local advertisers as it is very cost effective and can be geographically targeted to a particular area.[according to whom?]

Other types of non-digital OOH advertising include airport displays, transit and bus-shelter displays, headrest displays, double-sided panels, junior posters and mall displays.


Different jurisdictions regulate outdoor advertising to different degrees.[citation needed]

Small business uses a bicycle as medium, trying to override restrictions
Small business uses a bicycle as medium, trying to override restrictions

Emerging technologies

Media fragmentation, competition from online media, as well as the need for greater efficiencies in media buying prompted companies to offer billboard inventory aggregation services Interactive services are becoming increasingly more common with the move to digital outdoor advertising, such as allowing the public to connect, share and interact through their mobile devices in particular through WiFi connections.[citation needed] The technology behind these aggregated services continue to rise to the standards of mobile advertising when it comes to measurement and design abilities.[25]

Space advertising, by use of an array of small satellites that reflect sunlight, has been evaluated by researchers at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology.[26]

See also


  1. ^ "Outdoor Media Formats". Archived from the original on 2009-06-21. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  2. ^ "Outdoor Facts" (PDF). FACTS.pdf. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Propped by Digital Growth, Out-of-Home Advertising Holds Its Own in UK, France". Brief. eMarkerter. 15 October 2015. Archived from the original on 30 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Number of Displays". Archived from the original on 12 March 2010.
  5. ^ OAAA Archived 2006-12-10 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Transit advertising". 2014-05-26. Archived from the original on 2017-12-22.
  7. ^ "Outdoor Pie Chart". Archived from the original on 2009-06-21. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  8. ^ "Out-of-Home Advertising is Becoming More Digitally Driven".
  9. ^ Los Angeles Times, May 27, Alana Semuels, Staff Writer "Now showing very near you..."
  10. ^ "Wrangling Brainier (and brawnier?) Digital signage". Embedded Systems Engineering. 1 September 2015. Archived from the original on 29 March 2016.
  11. ^ "A media buyer's primer on beacons". medialife magazine. 30 September 2015.
  12. ^ By Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune, November 29, 2011, entitled "Networks Compete For Gas Station Viewers"
  13. ^ Nielsen Intercept Studies 2006-2011, 2010 Doublebase GfK MRI
  14. ^ "What is Programmatic Advertising? | Blog". Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  15. ^ "What is programmatic DOOH?". Broadsign. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  16. ^ "Vol. 1 - What yOOH need to know: DOOH vs pDOOH". Retrieved 2021-07-27.
  17. ^ "Learn the pDOOH basics with Hivestack". Retrieved 2021-07-27.
  18. ^ a b "What is Programmatic DOOH Advertising?". Retrieved 2022-07-25.
  19. ^ "An interactive global map of all DOOH billboards". Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  20. ^ Hans-Jürgen Tast: Immer mit einem Lächeln auf den Lippen! Die bunte Fotoflut im Straßenbild., Kulleraugen Vis.Komm. Nr. 43, Schellerten 2013, ISBN 978-3-88842-043-6.
  21. ^ Inc., Outdoor Advertising Association of America. "Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Inc. > About OOH > OOH Basics > OOH Media Formats > Airborne". Archived from the original on 2016-08-12. ((cite web)): |last= has generic name (help)
  22. ^ Chmielewski, Sz., Tompalski, P. (2017). Estimating outdoor advertising media visibility with voxel-based approach. Applied Geography, 87:1-13 ( Preprint download: "Estimating outdoor advertising media visibility with voxel-based approach (PDF Download Available)". Archived from the original on 2017-10-02. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Sao Paulo: The City With No Outdoor Advertisements". Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  25. ^ "Top 5 Benefits of Programmatic DOOH for Buyers". Retrieved 2022-07-25.
  26. ^ Berger, Eric (2022-10-05). "Who is ready for a fleet of cubesats flying over cities, displaying ads?". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2022-10-05.