DoorDash ups digital OOH marketing spend to boost recruitment

DoorDash is investing more of its marketing dollars in digital out-of-home advertising as the summer season approaches. The food delivery platform hopes to get more people interested in becoming DoorDashers in low-participation cities where there aren’t many people using DoorDash as a source of income.

Molly Elliot, Doordash’s associate manager and growth strategy driver, said the company tested digital OOH last fall as a means of addressing the challenges of hiring new DoorDashers in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, Baltimore, Louisville and New Orleans.

As the company spends more on digital OOH, it’s leveraging a variety of display types to maintain an ongoing brand presence, including large-format OOH and place-based advertising focused on locations where local consumers would be likely to spend time, such as billboards, urban panels, airports, bus shelters, train stations, gyms, colleges and universities, and gas stations.

“We wanted to use this channel [digital OOH] as an opportunity to get a baseline of this channel in smaller urban markets, so it wasn’t an experiment that we ran with extreme confidence,” Elliot said. “It was more so just an opportunity to learn.”

Elliot declined to share DoorDash’s exact advertising spend figures. According to Sensor Tower data, the brand spent a little over $180 million on advertising efforts in 2022. DoorDash increased its spend by about 33% from January to May of this year, per Sensor Tower. Elliot said the brand normally allocates a quarter of its advertising budget just to experiment with digital outdoor advertising. However, she did not disclose its advertising budget.

“So when we look at the budget, it’s really pushing those levers and seeing where we need to acquire Dashers and in what markets are of particular interest,” Elliot said.

With this particular campaign, DoorDash intends to target people who have been laid off or who are freelancing in the uncertain economic climate. It’s paying special attention to being intentional with its allocated marketing budget and digital OOH marketing, and hopes to catch the attention of potential Dashers while they’re out and about. Since starting its digital OOH campaign this month, DoorDash has seen a 22% jump in people considering working with DoorDash, and a 6% increase in those with the intention to become a Dasher, said Elliot.

DoorDash is just one brand incorporating outdoor advertising into its media mix this year. BodyArmorthe NBA and Liquid I.V. have also invested in digital OOH ads.

As people spend more time outside during the summer than during other seasons, digital OOH advertising has the potential to gain visibility at lifestyle centers, entertainment venues, restaurants and on congested freeways, according to previous Digiday reporting. In particular, digital OOH enables marketers to change content in real time. Since the digital advertising industry has grown rapidly, marketers can use programmatic digital OOH advertising to reach their target audiences in the physical world. By 2026, it is estimated that the digital OOH market will reach $33 billion, according to Research and Markets. That figure is up from just over $16 billion in 2019.

“Even as prices edge up post-pandemic in many markets, the effectiveness of OOH paired with the dynamism and flexibility of digital makes DOOH a strong option for top of the funnel objectives and brands like DoorDash that need daily, local visibility,” said Mat Zucker, senior partner and co-lead of marketing and sales at Prophet, a growth strategy consulting firm.

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