An Intro to DOOH Healthcare Advertising

An Intro to DOOH Healthcare Advertising

Is digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising part of your HCP campaigns? If not, it should be. Here’s an introduction to DOOH healthcare advertising and why it’s worth your attention and a portion of your advertising budget.

Understanding DOOH Healthcare Advertising

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising is the modern version of out-of-home (OOH) advertising, i.e., ads HCPs see in public places, such as billboards and on-car ads.

So, like a billboard, but powered by programmatic technology. For example, DOOH allows you to deliver targeted ads on hospital elevator screens, showcasing a new pharma drug during the morning hours when HCPs are changing shifts. Or maybe you promote a new treatment method via flight-arrival screens at major airports around the world. You can even run DOOH healthcare campaigns triggered by specific events, such as the weather—think launching a campaign for a pollen drug when pollen counts are rising in the area.

Why DOOH Healthcare Advertising Is Worth Your Attention

Details: United States; eMarketer; 2019 and 2020; any out-of-home advertising that is dynamically and digitally displayed; includes digital billboards, digital street furniture, digital transit and digital place-based displays.

If you’re wondering where on earth DOOH came from, you’re not alone—it’s undoubtedly still a nascent idea ruminating in the minds of healthcare advertisers. However, as the world continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, DOOH is springing forward, quickly transforming into a programmatic tactic worth your attention (and some experimental ad dollars). In 2020, DOOH ad spending in the US was estimated to amount to $2.72 billion.1 That number is expected to grow to $3.84 billion by the end of 2023.

But what’s driving this growth and making it something worth your attention? Well, a few things:

  • DOOH Advertising Is Ready for the Future

    Online advertising is changing. As this happens, you’ll have to develop your healthcare advertising practices. Top of mind right now is the downfall of third-party cookies. When third-party cookies officially become obsolete in 2022, you’ll have to find new ways to effectively and efficiently deliver targeted healthcare campaigns online. At the heart of these contemporary strategies will be alternative identity solutions that’ll help you connect with HCPs in meaningful ways. These alternatives will quickly prove to be effective; however, they’re still early in their evolution.

  • DOOH advertising is resilient to the downfall of third-party cookies because it relies on location-based technology to deliver targeted ads. DOOH advertising also circumvents growing concerns over ad blockers—a quarter of paid advertising messages never reach their audiences because of ad blockers.2 Said another way, if an HCP is near one of your DOOH ads, there’s a good chance they’ll see it. A study by Nielsen found that 82% of respondents recalled seeing a DOOH ad in the month before the survey.3

  • DOOH Offers Impressive Performance Boosts

    Online advertising has long since been the most reliable way to engage with HCPs in and out of the workplace. And moving forward, that won’t change. However, DOOH is quickly becoming an appealing option to pair with existing programmatic strategies.

    Not sold? One study found that using this type of advertising alongside other channels can increase the reach by 100%.4 While it’s not possible to precisely target DOOH healthcare ads specifically to just a select group of HCPs, it does put your ads in places where HCPs are more likely to see them, offering substantial efficiency gains and better deals on media in an increasingly crowded and expensive online world.

  • DOOH Breeds Creativity

    Digital advertising’s ascent to the front of every healthcare advertisers’ playbook means that there are a ton of ads out there. It also means that many of your contemporaries feel the pressure to produce as many ads as possible. Fast. As a result, the Internet has become full of ads that look the same. When HCPs are less than impressed, performance goes down, and cost-efficiency goes away.

    With DOOH healthcare advertising, you have a new opportunity to delight HCPs—and you can do it in a way that they’ve never seen before. If you’re trying to think of what that’d look like, here’s a perfect example. Lasik MD, a company offering laser eye surgery at an affordable price, launched a campaign that delivered ads on elevator screens that consisted of dynamically changing messaging based on the type of eyewear the rider was wearing (the technology recognized whether or not an elevator rider was wearing glasses). Talk about cool.

Looking Toward the Future of OOH Healthcare Advertising

Outdoor advertising has historically been about awareness and upper-funnel advertising. Frankly, that’s all billboards and signs on buses could do. However, as the entire world, including the outdoors, becomes more digitized and data-driven, OOH advertising is following suit.

Today, and for decades into the future, DOOH advertising will act as an invaluable cog in your healthcare advertising wheel that’s capable of incredible things. For example, you can use geofencing to trigger personalized healthcare messages on digital signage in major metro areas when HCPs in your target audience enter or leave it.

As your contemporaries continue to funnel more and more of their ad budgets into mainstream programmatic advertising, you should follow. At the same time, however, you’d be wise to branch out and explore the immersive world of DOOH healthcare advertising and all it has to offer.


  1. Benes R. Out-of-Home Advertising Is Becoming More Digitally Driven. eMarketer. Published August 10, 2020. Accessed June 18, 2021.
  2. He A. Ad Blocking Growth Is Slowing Down, but Not Going Away. eMarketer. Published July 26, 2019. Accessed June 18, 2021.
  3. Should You Invest In Programmatic Out-of-Home Advertising? New Target. Published September 4, 2020. Accessed June 18, 2021.
  4. What is programmatic DOOH? Broadsign. Published May 27, 2020. Accessed June 18, 2021.

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