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As a traditional medium now at the cutting edge, OOH is poised to create the future of marketing

As a traditional medium now at the cutting edge, OOH is poised to create the future of marketing

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising, which includes outdoor and transit advertising, is seeing an accelerated transformation. Through the adoption of programmatic OOH advertising, we are beginning to witness the emergence of campaigns that achieve very strong results. Programmatic OOH advertising makes possible the automated delivery of messages that may be customized to reflect how the audience is feeling. This places the traditional OOH media category at the cutting edge of advertising innovation. Below we explored what is happening at the forefront of this revolution.

Digital OOH expected to grow significantly in Japan

Within the full range of OOH advertising, the digital shift has begun to accelerate. In this field, the most prominent categories in Japan are Outdoor and Transit advertising.
The global market for digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising is estimated to have a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2%,*1 while in Japan the corresponding growth rate has been estimated at 27.8%,*2 exhibiting substantial capacity for growth (2013–20). One research report*3 puts the growth potential of DOOH advertising through 2021 at 86%—a level of growth that outstrips the forecasts for mobile advertising (67%) and online advertising (49%).
The digital advertising sphere is currently grappling with problems that have attracted considerable attention. These issues—which can result in an unhealthy media supply chain—include ad fraud and hate content that can jeopardize brand value.
However, these issues do not affect OOH advertising, meaning advertisers and media buyers can use OOH with peace of mind. This is one of the points that is helping to drive a re-evaluation of the OOH genre.
Essentially, the digital nature of DOOH media means that its output exists only in the “here and now.” This means that it has good compatibility with social media. Furthermore, by linking it with various types of data, it has the potential to create an inspiring experience suited to the current situation.
In addition, we have seen the arrival of programmatic OOH advertising, which automates a whole array of ad-related operations and transactions. This means we have access to an unprecedented amount of data, enabling us to efficiently provide exciting and effective advertising.

*1 2016 Peter J. Solomon Company Wall
*2 2015 Fuji Chimera Research Institute, Survey on Digital Signage
*3 2016 Ocean Outdoor, “From Paper & Paste to Pixels & Playouts”, Dentsu Advertising Expenditures in Japan for 2016

As a traditional medium now at the cutting edge, OOH is poised to create the future of marketing

As a traditional medium now at the cutting edge, OOH is poised to create the future of marketing

Programmatic OOH evinces real-time customer behavior

As a traditional medium now at the cutting edge, OOH is poised to create the future of marketing

Ichiro Jinnai

Tech & Data Intelligence Department
Out of Home Media Services Division
Dentsu Inc.

As a traditional medium now at the cutting edge, OOH is poised to create the future of marketing

Kei Hamada

Tech & Data Intelligence Department
Out of Home Media Services Division
Dentsu Inc.

OOH advertising opens up a great many possibilities. But the genre’s appeal is quite simple.


Above all, what OOH has going for it is what may be termed ‘forced visibility.’ We’ve seen social media become ubiquitous, thus changing advertising media. In an environment where many people assert that it is getting harder to create common topics, OOH can provide audiences with shared topics of conversation when they go out. I believe this point deserves to be re-examined.
Another aspect we should consider is that an ad seen on the way home from work and the same ad seen at a place you’ve gone for leisure on your day off will probably leave a completely different impression. OOH media has been around for a long time but, by getting close to what is happening in real time, we can communicate in fresh ways.

Through the shift to digital and programmatic advertising, the value of ads is rising dramatically.


Although many people tend to view programmatic OOH advertising as innovation within the industry—particularly such aspects as automated delivery and transactions—it is actually consumers who reap the benefits of such innovation.
Programmatic OOH can generate latent needs and awareness among consumers. For example, since a person’s mental state changes depending on the place and time, given the ‘right’ situation, they will be able to fully comprehend the true value of a product. Through seeing creative while in a particular state, the consumer might ‘discover’ that they want this car. This may lead to a richer lifestyle, or their being able to embark on a new lifestyle.
I believe that the real value of programmatic OOH is the potential for expanding the consumer’s ‘here and now’ to a broader meaning of the ‘power of here and now’.

The industry must unite to solve three key issues

Programmatic OOH advertising can provide common topics through forced visibility, and it has the power of the here and now to bring it closer to consumers. But three broad issues remain to be addressed.

  1. Common indicators for evaluating advertising effectiveness
  2. Automated transactions for ad space
  3. A common platform for ad delivery

As a traditional medium now at the cutting edge, OOH is poised to create the future of marketing

At present, common indicators are disjointed across media categories, such as transit advertising and outdoor advertising. In campaign planning by advertisers, although reach and frequency are given significant weight, what is used at present are the circulation of railway stations and roads (total number of users who will potentially see an ad), and the number of passengers. In the diary method of consumer research, there are cases where data is collected, but cost is a major barrier.


In the United Kingdom, there is an audience research system called ‘Route.’ To date, 50,000 audience monitors have been given customized data collection terminals to carry around with them. The terminals automatically collect location data, and capture reach x frequency data for specified locations and time periods. We are exploring the possibility of creating a Japanese version of this system. Since December 2016, we have provided ‘Machilog,’ which utilizes mobile space statistical data. This solution is based on a 250 x 250m2 mesh grid to obtain audience data generated from data provided by mobile carrier base stations. By analyzing this data in combination with a variety of other data, it becomes possible to downscale to the 250m2 mesh grid.
By doing so, becomes possible to gather outdoor ad circulation data by gender, age group, day of the week, time of day and other parameters. Previously it had been difficult to obtain such quantified or visualized data. We are then able to use audience behavior data—which changes significantly depending on the time of day or day of the week—dynamically for campaign planning based on a very detailed picture. At present, we gather data for two areas, Shibuya and Omotesando. In the near future, we plan to expand the system to cover seven key shopping areas nationwide.

With regard to automated transactions for ad space, there are distinctly Japanese circumstances. To reach an 80% share of outdoor advertising, it becomes necessary to gain the agreement of more than 1,000 media-owning companies. In transit advertising, even if the shares of 11 railway operators in the Kanto region are added together, the total share is still under 50%. These ad spaces are managed separately by each company and, since the systems differ for submitting ad content for various types of signage, a huge amount of labor is involved.
Thus, even if advertisers want to execute programmatic OOH, under the current situation they can only use a very limited portion of total ad space.


In addition to the common indicator issue previously mentioned, standardization of the transaction flow is the first step in establishing a workable environment.

The parties involved in handling OOH share this recognition of the situation.

In conventional DOOH the current situation for an ad delivery platform is mainly based on local, closed systems. Very few systems currently in use allow outside users real-time access to connect to the systems. Hence, static delivery systems have been the mainstream. These require content prepared in advance to be delivered using predetermined timing for a set period. If continuous connection to the systems by outside parties were to be made possible, the provision of dynamic content utilizing real-time, third-party data would be possible.


If dynamic ad delivery were to become possible, we would be able to move closer to the audience’s present mood rather than just targeting a particular location. According to one set of research,*4 if such parameters as unprompted recall ratio, message recall ratio and citation ratio are compared between audiences shown conventional DOOH and those shown dynamic DOOH, the effectiveness of dynamic DOOH is overwhelmingly higher. In particular, citation of ad content on social media increases 173%, so the difference is striking.

However, the key problem is that it is necessary to have an ad delivery system separate from existing digital ad servers.

As a traditional medium now at the cutting edge, OOH is poised to create the future of marketing


Under the current communication environment, it is necessary to download content in advance and store it locally. With smartphones and personal computers, users will wait for content to be displayed, but not in the case of OOH advertising.
In addition, since OOH does not involve anyone clicking on an ad, we cannot use systems that rely on cost-per-click. Even if the system were to be automated, each ad impression would be seen by a large number of people, so the definition of an ad impression also becomes difficult. Consequently, there is the need to establish the infrastructure in an integrated manner, including common indicators, automated transactions and a delivery platform.

We look forward to participation by creators

Furthermore, Hamada expects to see the emergence of creative people who will take on the challenge of the new field of programmatic OOH.


I am keenly aware that no matter what kind of system we establish, only creatives can come up with interesting campaigns. I would really like to see everyone excited by brilliant creative ideas that capture the here and now—capture the audience’s imagination in that moment.
In the future, this will become a medium that strongly boosts behavior arousal during the customer journey. So for creative people, I am absolutely sure that it will become a place for new forms of expression. I can see situations in which a creative elicits an instantaneous response—someone will buy the product, or download the content, or go to the event.

It is said that the origins of OOH advertising can be traced back 40,000 years, to a cave painting found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. This very traditional medium is now at the cutting edge of advertising methods. Its fast-moving story shouldn’t be missed.

Summary: Three conditions necessary for the acceleration of programmatic OOH

(1) Shared will of advertisers and media owners
Work on solving such issues as common indicators, establishment of a transaction infrastructure, and ad delivery automation will begin to accelerate once people try actually running campaigns and see the potential for convenience and exciting ad content. Good case studies already are starting to appear, so participants need to be proactive about sharing their success stories, and we can try to get everyone involved in solving these issues.

(2) Input by those able to leverage Dynamic DOOH
We want to see creative people, who are interested in getting involved in a new field, pursue forms of expression that can only be achieved using dynamic DOOH. The use of external data and other techniques makes possible the unprecedented engagement that focuses on the “here and now” attributes of the medium. It is different from both a TV commercial and the digital signage we’ve seen to date. We want to see content created for “this place and time” that takes people by surprise.

(3) Close Attention to technology trends, such as AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is used in the field of programmatic OOH to an amazing degree. For example, in traffic volume research, there are trials being conducted into dynamic pricing of media based on such parameters as the model of vehicle and year of manufacture. This kind of technology will bolster the value of programmatic OOH, and open up new marketing frontiers. People who want to test out state-of-the-art technology should definitely try it out within the OOH genre.



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