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OOH 2.0: 

Click here to read the previous post in the OOH 2.0 series, all about measurement.


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4 min read

Targeted Out-of-Home: Can It Be Done?

Marketing has become a craft of precision. As access to consumer behavior and demographic data grows, marketing and advertising have shifted from formats of mass communication to more custom, individual outreach.

Most marketing and sales teams today use an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) framework to define exactly who they want to secure as customers. Honing in on an ICP can deliver faster sales cycles, higher conversion rates, and greater lifetime customer values. As Gartner explains, Unlike the term “target customer,” which is often used to describe any company that might buy a product or service, the ICP is focused on the most valuable customers and prospects that are also most likely to buy.”  

Aligning efforts against one ICP can help budget-constrained marketers make the best investments. To use some classic business jargon - marketers are moving away from casting wide nets and moving towards fishing with spears. 

That's why so many marketers struggle to weave OOH into their marketing mix - it wasn’t built as a precision-targeting medium. 

The Targeting Challenge of Out-of-Home 

OOH’s role in the marketing mix has been brand awareness, generating buzz, and making big bold statements. It’s fallen into the ‘casting a wide net’ category, and it’s succeeded there. OOH is a way to reach a lot of people indiscriminately, as they go about their daily lives. But as challenges mount to close revenue gaps, marketers can’t spend as much time generating brand awareness that isn’t attributable to customers acquired or deals closed.

Marketers today are selecting and activating channels based on what’s going to reach their ICP most effectively and efficiently. While there’s always a role for awareness building, less and less marketing budget is going there. 

Marketing today is audience first, channel second.

And OOH expectations have begun to shift accordingly. It’s becoming less “we want to be in this market” and more “we want to target this audience. Where’s the best market to run media?”

Fragmented Media Planning Makes Targeting Impossible

One key challenge to leveraging OOH in a more precision-targeted way is the process in which out-of-home campaigns are built and media is purchased. Securing out-of-home placements is a process that needs modernization.

Performance marketers, media planners, or ad agencies often work with vendors who sell individual ad placements, not one vendor who manages them all. Jennifer Nelson, our Director of Media Planning, breaks down some of the challenges and pain points of the media buying process: 

With such a complex and outdated process, that makes targeting all the more complicated. Marketers are stuck comparing different depths of audience information in different formats. As Jennifer put it, it’s “stacks and stacks of information” - to get through.

For example, one vendor might have pinpointed demographic data on the audience seeing a digital screen. However, another vendor might not have as deep or accurate data about who is driving past a billboard. Both of these placements are in the same campaign. So, if your media buys are executed by different vendors and reported on differently, how can you confidently say you’re running a precision-targeted campaign? 

The Fallout of Missed Targeting & Media: What Happens Next

Today's marketers are making difficult decisions about what tools and tactics to use and how to spend their shrinking budgets most efficiently.  Without clear ROI or direct impact on target prospects, future OOH budgets get slashed as executives lose faith in the channel. Dollars often flow to digital and social instead.

There are real pressures on the modern day marketer to move away from awareness and vanity metrics towards activities that drive real business impact - and facing that challenge, OOH targeting and reporting capabilities typically fall short.  I cover that in this clip: 


Facing this challenge, marketers are turning to channels they can confidently target with and report comprehensive data on. Dollars flow to digital and lower-funnel activities - and the downstream impact on the whole campaign spreads. Without OOH in the market driving sufficient awareness, performance decays across parallel efforts. Suddenly, the entire marketing mix seems disjointed and ineffective.

Creative testing also feels the effects. With no view into actual message resonance, marketers are left guessing about future creative optimizations. Accurate data is the lifeblood of campaign refinement, and without it, decision-making suffers. 

Similarly, improperly targeted media placements waste spend on low-value inventory. When OOH budgets get cut, you're left with 'slim pickings' of placements and certain markets come off the table. Media vendors may end up putting your brand message on inventory they've been looking to part ways with. 

Jennifer Nelson dives into this challenge that emerges when OOH budgets get cut - what's the point where the budget is cut too deep to make an impact? 

Without precision targeting data, and without sufficient budget, performance benchmarks for OOH decline. And with physical efforts falling short, broader integrated campaign growth gets hindered. Connection to the consumer strains as targeting and media misalignments compound over time. 

Precision Targeting is Possible with OOH 2.0

The evolution of targeting from OOH 1.0 to OOH 2.0 represents a monumental shift - from prioritizing markets to prioritizing audiences. In traditional out-of-home, success was defined by achieving coverage within a designated market area (DMA). Little consideration was given to specifying the actual viewers - it was enough to simply reach people within that geographic area.

Traditionally, the approach to audience targeting and media selection has been suboptimal:

  • DMA First: Geographic presence is prioritized while disregarding audience specifics altogether. DMA’s are selected first and then audiences are targeted utilizing available data, but may inaccurately reflect the true ICPs.
  • Media First: Partners secure desired inventory based on existing DMA media relationships without factoring in audience suitability.

However, OOH 2.0 flips this model on its head with an intentional focus on reaching the right audiences. Today's marketers can use their established Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) to make their OOH media buying decisions to target them across the places they live, work, and play. And that's done through's geofencing and MAIDs technology. By intersecting rich behavioral and demographic data sets with real-world mobility patterns, campaigns can narrowly target alignments between message and recipient.'s platform also simplifies and streamlines the media buying process. We have a clear view into what inventory is available, and consistent information about the audiences exposed to that inventory - the complexity of the buying reduces and the fog of targeting OOH starts to clear. 

Rather than coarsely defining markets, OOH can deliver precise engagement with priority segments. This requires harnessing data to rethink audience planning, measurement, and activation. The key is to bridge the gap between ICP-aligned targeting and DMA-based inventory. This is OOH, 2.0.Explore OOH 2.0