Google Tests DoubleClick Ad Technology for Billboards: Out-of-Home Performance Opportunity for Brands

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Google Tests DoubleClick Ad Technology for Billboards: Out-of-Home Performance Opportunity for Brands


Post by Kevin Theodore, Media Director

Google recently announced its plan to test DoubleClick ad technology on out-of-home (OOH) billboards. Billboards continue to attract attention, but their continued relevancy is often in question:

  • Passengers are increasingly using their mobile devices, which steers their attention away from billboards. The amount of billboards viewed is decreasing because of consumer fixation on smartphones.
  • Measurement is difficult, as there’s no sure number of how many eyeballs see each billboard. Connecting these “assumed” consumers back to sales is extremely difficult.
  • There’s a negative connotation for brands and agencies to run billboards because of planning and buying difficulties.

But now, with the help of digital programmatic technology, billboards may become more effective.


By using programmatic ad placements on billboards, ad relevancy could improve drastically:

  • Ads can be changed based on time-of-day, day-of-week, weather or time-sensitive events, thus improving targeting and messaging
  • Pricing will shift in brands’ favor, presenting the opportunity to advertise based on performance and efficiency. OOH costs have already decreased as the industry moves towards digital formats, and brands no longer have to commit upfront to long time frames. Costs may decrease even further as the market sets the price for billboard placements based on demand.
  • Through bidding automation, brands will be able to declare whether they deem each impression valuable. This may decrease billboard ad clutter, as non-performing ads will be phased out in favor of more relevant ones.
  • Through programmatic placements, brands will have the ability to better test and target different geographies and locations
  • Workflow will improve as ads will shift from a manual process of order placements to a completely automated process. With an easy way to switch out ads, messaging can be created in-the-moment, and different variations can be tested.


Mobile beacons could further improve targeting and measurement. Potentially, brands could pin-point specific mobile users that may have viewed the billboard as an “impression.” Data from OOH advertising can then connect back to the brand’s holistic digital efforts. Brands also can tie back data from mobile devices to IP addresses when connected with other channels such as mobile, display, social, search and video. This will help attribute billboards as a touchpoint for conversion.

So what’s the hold up? The upfront cost is large, and it takes time to transition standard bulletin and poster billboards to a digital format. Some companies have already launched a form of programmatic OOH, but Google’s involvement could become the game-changer needed to make programmatic OOH a standard. Through a proven point of concept, DoubleClick can push its technology into the market and encourage the industry to adapt to digital, programmatic OOH.

To learn more about DoubleClick OOH ad technology, contact your Performics account team today.

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