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5 minute read | April 7, 2021

State of the Nation Hong Kong

Written By: Ben Lin


  • Digital OOH offers popular benefits for brand and performance ad campaigns
  • Adoption to increase with more education and improved measurement

Digital out of home (OOH) advertising has been prevalent in Hong Kong for several years. A popular addition to an omnichannel campaign, programmatic OOH is considered to offer benefits for both brand-led and performance-led campaigns.

Our first ever State of the Nation report for Hong Kong researched the popularity and perceptions of OOH across the market. The findings, while in some instances similar to the West, proved enlightening. 

In a post Covid-19 landscape, flexibility, price, accurate targeting and measurement are crucial to ensuring advertisers can adapt quickly to changing conditions. As budgets are continually reviewed, having the flexibility to switch campaigns on and off with no predetermined commitments, is attractive to senior marketeers.

Compared with other media channels, digital OOH is considered to be the strongest channel for accurate location targeting and ROI, out-performing digital video advertising and social media.


Though performance-based metrics were considered the most effective way of measuring and attributing value to programmatic OOH, the report indicated that there is limited consensus amongst executives on metrics. Reach, sales and website traffic all proved popular metrics, with footfall and in-flight optimisation at the low end of the scale. 

With 79% agreeing there are innovative solutions to measure and track the attribution of programmatic OOH, only 43% would like more information about cross-channel measurement and attribution. This compares slightly less favourably than for Western executives. 

In my personal opinion, it’s the responsibility of the industry to work together to ensure programmatic digital OOH is more transparent and measurable. Arguably, agreed standardised reporting will help to increase the confidence of executives in programmatic OOH. It is crucial to growing adoption and unlocking more value for agencies and advertisers. 

At VIOOH, we are committed to delivering a standardised approach that supports dynamic content, reactive creative, data-driven triggers and competitive pricing, with transparency. In collaboration with IAB Hong Kong and the Digital Out of Home committee members, we have already started work to create a Hong Kong version of the IAB UK Digital OOH Glossary, helping to create global and local industry standards to drive the market forwards. We’d love to see gold standard accreditation for programmatic and digital OOH that incorporates the nuances of OOH and allows it to be accurately evaluated alongside other digital channels.


Another important step to ensuring programmatic OOH is maximised, adopted and is consistently included as a key element of omni-channel campaigns, is to educate advertisers and media buyers on the value and adaptability of this technology in the digital out of home channel. 

In fact, when digital OOH is planned and optimised alongside omni-channel campaigns is when it’s likely to be most valuable, enhancing all types of campaigns by providing flexible and incremental reach, in a cost efficient way. 

Globally, Hong Kong is on par with the Western average, with over half (56%) of executives believing they fully understand programmatic and its benefits, which leaves 44% who admit they do not fully understand it. This gap of understanding is more pronounced amongst senior executives who may be less involved in day-to-day operations. Resources requested include sector-specific insights, information on cross channel measurement and case studies. 

In Hong Kong, well over half of agency executives (62%) want training on the benefits of programmatic OOH advertising to learn more. Materials required to aid understanding is shown to be generally more pronounced amongst agencies than advertisers, reflecting the trust that advertisers put in their agencies to have the appropriate levels of knowledge.

I personally feel optimistic about the opportunities that programmatic OOH can deliver for the Hong Kong ad market. For marketers looking to maximise the value of their advertising budgets, the agility, flexibility and trigger-based decisioning intrinsic to programmatic OOH are crucial. Programmatic OOH is already part of the programmatic and digital ad strategy here, and we can build on that to deliver more valuable results for advertisers. 

Ben Lin is China CEO at VIOOH. For more information visit:

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