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The lights might be off but DOOH’s future is bright

Remi du Preez

Managing Director

Remi du Preez

Remi du Preez

March 30 . 5 min read . Opinion




The lights might be off but DOOH’s future is bright: 4 trends we can expect to see more of in 2023

It’s an exciting time to be alive. Especially if you’re alive and working in digital out of home (DOOH) media.

Off the back of a well-documented renaissance of the broader OOH media industry following the initial dark days of the pandemic, its DOOH’s time to shine as advertisers increasingly embrace the benefits that only larger-than-life brand presence coupled with advanced technology can offer.

And sure – it won’t be all smooth sailing in the months that follow. Loadshedding, for one, has dealt the medium another curveball. But the past three years have proven our industry’s tenacity, creativity and resilience, and we are already finding ways to not only mitigate the challenges we face but actually turn them to our advantage.

Here are four trends we’re expecting to see more of in 2023.


We’re no longer asking, what is pDOOH?; we’re embracing it

A few short years ago, the only people who knew what programmatic DOOH (or pDOOH) was were the media owners. Fast forward to 2023 and not only does every industry player know what pDOOH is, they also understand how it can benefit them and are increasingly embracing this technology in their campaigns.

Previously, loop-based buying (purchasing ad serves in a loop) was the gold standard, but with the introduction of pDOOH we saw a shift to audience-based buying. Critical and real-time information such as mobile data can be integrated into these platforms, allowing advertisers to define their markets more clearly and only serve adverts when audiences are in front of screens.


We’re thinking omni-channel in both our planning and measurement 

Digital strategists are increasingly incorporating DOOH into their programmatic plans alongside other digital media. They’re now able to buy alongside their own campaign types and integrate DOOH into larger omni-channel campaigns, allowing full visibility and in-house control of a campaign.

DOOH can also now be assessed and measured similarly to other digital media, by having attribution models attached to campaigns. Its dynamic nature allows campaigns to be adapted and optimised based on real-time data. Advertisers are also able to set specific metrics, such as whether consumers have come into contact with an ad and subsequently walked into that brand’s store or visited their website.


We’re pivoting again; this time thanks to loadshedding

As loadshedding holds South Africa hostage, many digital billboards – specifically those in suburbs or outlying areas with no back-up supply – have literally gone dark. This is where programmatic can play a starring role in mitigating flighting interruptions, by only serving ads to screens that are on. If a screen is off in one suburb, it will simply flight in another. Programmatic methods not only cater for when consumers are in front of screens; but also when those screens are actually on.

There is also a rising demand for ‘always-on’ sites (those with a reliable back-up power supply), such as malls and forecourts.

We’re thinking collaboration not competition

In the past, inventory and networks were fiercely guarded by media owners. The likelihood of competitors collaborating was akin to that of Gollum willingly parting with his Precious. It just didn’t happen.

But the pandemic catalysed a new spirit of collaboration and community in the media industry, which remains even after the last of the lockdown restrictions have left us. In 2023, we expect that arrangements that benefit multiple stakeholders, such as the aggregation of publisher networks, will become more commonplace, as media owners wake up to the potential benefits this offers their advertisers.

Imagine a brand serving an advert to a consumer on their mobile, first thing in the morning. That ad then ‘follows’ them on their commute to work via a digital billboard; popping up again on a screen at the petrol station in the forecourt they visit after work on the way to the mall. Again, that same ad appears on a screen at the shopping mall, and finally, in a bar, where they stop for a drink.

These mega-networks will allow media owners to tap into gaps in the consumer journey by bringing in new sites across multiple regions via one point of contact, and at reduced rates thanks to economies of scale.

Polygon is a programmatic aggregated digital out of home (DOOH) publisher network, making up a network of hundreds and soon, thousands of screens. The network is specifically designed to maximise omni-channel advertising campaigns while integrating accredited audience data using world-class technology. Polygon offers advertisers a single point of entry into the continent’s largest network of DOOH inventory, allowing them to target audience sets across multiple touchpoints and venues along the customer journey.