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What is a 3D Billboard? (3D DOOH)

February 24, 2023

In many ways, Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising is “ground zero” for innovations in the advertising space. Take, for example, 3D DOOH — technology that makes digital images appear three-dimensional without filters or glasses. 

3D DOOH can bring messages to life in different sizes and sign types, empowering advertisers to make their content stand out against a crowded landscape in new ways. A combination of careful technological and artistic processes allows images to seemingly jump off flat surfaces when viewed from a certain vantage point. 

3D DOOH is a form of anamorphic advertising. Anamorphic advertising creates optical illusions to entice viewers from a specific perspective. 

What is a 3D Billboard_ (3D DOOH) 1

In this article, we will explore 3D DOOH as a form of anamorphic advertising. You will learn how it is being leveraged for success in outdoor advertising, how to implement it and what some of the challenges are so that you can continue to be innovative in your advertising efforts. 

3D DOOH: A Comparatively Recent Evolution

OOH has been part of the advertising world for thousands of years. Though 3D Billboard advertising has been around for a while in the form of adding 3D elements such as sculptures, models, replicas or inflatables, 3D DOOH is a relatively newer approach. 

The first digital Billboards were only installed in 2005. Digital Billboards display computer-generated images using software, as opposed to traditional static Billboards that typically use vinyl. 3D DOOH takes images from different perspectives and combines them into one source to create an optical illusion that the human eye views as almost lifelike. 3D Billboards, signs and other OOH formats are now becoming part of the environment all over the world. The top 5 most notable cities for 3D DOOH and innovative out-of-home displays are:

  1. New York City, USA 
  2. Tokyo, Japan
  3. London, UK
  4. Paris, France 
  5. Hong Kong, China
As more and more places begin to take on experiential forms of advertising to engage viewers, expect 3D DOOH advertising to continue to grow in popularity. 

What are the Challenges of 3D DOOH? 

Though 3D DOOH advertising is a great way to engage audiences and leave lasting impressions, as well as generate a lot of buzz around a brand, there are some challenges including cost, the need for technical skills to create the advertisement and the viewing area for the advertisement. 

  • Cost: Creating 3D DOOH outdoor advertising displays can be quite expensive due to the cost of making the advertisement or working with a company that has the technical skills to build out the display to show properly. 
  • Technical expertise: 3D DOOH requires projection mapping and building out models to ensure that the ad displays properly from the prescribed viewing area.  
  • Viewing area: Oftentimes, because of the nature of optical illusions, 3D and other anamorphic displays have a certain angle from which they can be viewed correctly. From other angles, the creative will appear distorted. This can limit the overall effectiveness of the advertisement depending on the size of the view shed.

What are the Benefits of 3D DOOH?

In spite of the challenges, there are many benefits to using 3D DOOH advertising including increased engagement, standout factor, and an interactive experience. 
  • Increased engagement: Advertising doesn’t exist in a vacuum. When people see a funny commercial or an interesting airport ad, they’re likely to point it out to their companions. This natural human inclination is leveraged even more effectively with 3D DOOH. When an image appears to literally jump out at them, audiences are likely to want others to share the experience. Some may share your ad on social media, while others might bring friends to visit your placement like a tourist attraction. Regardless of how these conversations start, the result is that a single 3D DOOH ad turns into a much larger word-of-mouth campaign.
  • Standout factor: 3D DOOH messages can better demand attention and effectively hold it for longer periods than traditional OOH or even traditional DOOH. Imagine a static image on a traditional Billboard. Passersby will see this ad and register its message, but they may not stop to stare at it. However, with 3D DOOH, objects appear to come to life, leaping right toward the viewer. In this way, 3D DOOH messages demand attention and effectively hold it for prolonged periods, allowing audiences to engage more completely with the brand.
  • Interactive experience: Oftentimes, 3D advertising uses interactive elements that encourage the viewer to participate with the advertisement, creating a more immersive and memorable advertising experience.

3D DOOH and anamorphic advertising are clearly capable of making waves in advertising, and in capturing audience attention in novel ways. Advertising is like a tool belt, and these approaches add new capabilities to that belt. This approach allows advertisers in three dimensions, using the eye-catching visuals and performance-like messaging of 3D DOOH to tell stories that never could have existed without this technology. 


What are the Best Places for 3D DOOH? 

To choose the best place for your 3D DOOH display you will want to consider your campaign’s specific goals, the audience and the market where the advertisement will be displayed. Here are some of the types of locations typically used for 3D DOOH Billboards: 

  • High-traffic areas: The more people who are present, the more likely that it is that audiences will see the advertisement. Busy city streets or shopping centers have high levels of foot or vehicular traffic, which provides maximum visibility for the target audience. 
  • Tourist destinations: Popular tourist destinations and attractions bring together large crowds of people from a variety of demographics.  
  • Transit hubs: Train stations, airports and bus terminals are heavily trafficked and a great option for 3D DOOH advertisers to reach their target audiences.  
  • Corner units: Though 3D digital billboards don’t have to be on a corner unit, they have greater visibility from multiple locations than other units, creating a larger view shed for your advertisement. 
3D digital Billboards can be placed on almost any digital screen, including sides of buildings and freestanding structures, making them a versatile form of advertising. Carefully consider your campaign’s overall objectives and your target audience alongside the location to ensure maximum impact.

How Much Does 3D DOOH Cost?

For many advertisers, the richness of opportunity provided by 3D DOOH goes without question. But how much does 3D DOOH cost? The costs can range wildly from several thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars depending upon multiple factors. Here are the main factors that can impact the cost of your 3D DOOH. 

  • Location: As in all forms of advertising, certain 3D DOOH locations tend to be in high demand — especially in popular areas like Times Square. Naturally, these locations generally carry more significant price tags for advertisers.
  • Size: 3D DOOH can be designed in different sizes — which increases flexibility in some ways and minimizes it in others, especially when it comes to cost. Simply put, the larger the sign or screen, the more expensive the placement. 
  • Timing: The length you choose to run your 3D DOOH campaign can impact prices across the board. Other timing-related variables, like increased demand due to a recent brand acquisition or upcoming conference, can also change the overall cost of 3D DOOH.
  • Complexity: Compared to traditional Billboards, 3D digital Billboards can be significantly more expensive. This is due to the increased cost of the technology required to create a three-dimensional display, as well as the additional labor and design costs associated with creating a 3D Billboard.
Quickly advancing technology, competition from big-name brands and a range of cost variables inherent to all advertising — these considerations are difficult to research on your own. If you want to break into the 3D DOOH advertising space, you may need a subject matter expert or OOH specialist to help navigate your options.

Add Something New to Your OOH Tool Belt 

Whether you’re interested in utilizing 3D DOOH right now or are simply looking for ways to be more innovative in your advertising executions, one thing is clear: You’re in a perfect position to add something new to your OOH tool belt. Talk to one of our specialists to learn how you can “think outside the Billboard” with your next outdoor campaign. Get in touch today!

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