This post is by Sarah Villegas, Exterion Media's Head of Marketing and Business Development.

The potential for Digital Out of Home advertising (DOOH) is huge and there is unanimous agreement across the industry that its adoption is at a tipping point. Nearly a quarter of Outdoor spend is now digital1. The total inventory of DOOH sites in the UK is set to grow more than 40 percent between now and 2020, according to Kinetic Worldwide. The same study says that, while digital already accounts for around 22 percent of the outdoor market's annual £1bn sales, by 2020 that proportion will rise to 35 percent. In fact, one in every three pounds in OOH will be on digital in 2015 according to Posterscope.

Why? Because digital is no longer just a luminescent board attached to a landmark. The outdoor world is getting smarter and more engaging. Forbes journalist Glen Martin sums it up neatly: "the urban environment is evolving rapidly, and a model is emerging that is more efficient, more functional, more – connected."

Out of Home advertising is a key component of this shift. The combination of tech, connectivity, the smart use of content and a sophisticated approach to collaboration and partnerships with brands has turned DOOH on its head. It's become an experience. It's now an engaging, captivating, enduring and emotional advertising medium. It taps into the modern consumer – the hyper-connected individual who is not only looking for engaging content from advertising, but an experience that is memorable and that they can share.

The gradual arrival of 'smart cities', where roads, buildings and even billboards can become connected, will mean that our environment will work even harder for us. Google Outside is a great example of this. Last autumn Google took over 175 DOOH displays to offer mini-guides to pockets of cities, showcasing its Search app and voice control. Experts have also developed street signs that can be customised to show the direction of a destination of your choice. The first Wi-Fi enabled park benches arrived in 2013 and there are now 150 underground stations with Wi-Fi running.

As the urban environment becomes a more important part of the DOOH advertising mix, brands continue to explore its potential for engagement with playful, interactive and informative campaigns.

For instance, Hasbro ran a live interactive game on Westfield Stratford's Four Dials digital screen. Pride in London encouraged commuters to share their #FreedomTo stories via social media during the festival, and then displayed this content on the Underground XTP screens. Tate Britain brought the weather forecast to life for commuters through art, again on the Underground's XTP screens. Porsche used cameras to detect approaching Porsche drivers, before beaming tailored messages to them on digital billboards.

These examples show that it isn't about technology for technology's sake. For DOOH to be successful, brands must understand how to engage with consumers in a way that understands the audience and their needs.

Increasingly, our customers are planning campaigns by audience, rather than by format, to ensure their campaigns work more effectively. Out of Home enables contextual audience targeting, and the level of data available about who can be reached where is growing. The industry now has Route, an audience research body, which covers all possible frames in Great Britain and acts as a common platform for audience data. It's all part of ensuring brands reach the right audience in the right way.

So the next time you step out of your front door, keep your eyes peeled for innovative, engaging and spectacular Digital Out of Home campaigns.


1. Outdoor Media Centre, 2014 revenue growth

About Exterion Media

Exterion Media is a leading Out-of-Home advertising company. Its core business is engaging and delivering valuable audiences for advertisers through a variety of formats and environments including transport, billboards, street furniture and retail. Exterion Media is also one of the leaders in digital Out-of-Home advertising.