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Billboards are an old but booming ad medium

  • Author:share
  • Source:Google
  • Release on:2019-01-08
Innovations developed by online advertisersare working for billboards

Pedestrians strolling down 8th Avenue inManhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood will be struck by the cast-limestone façadeof the Hearst Magazine Building. Commissioned by William Randolph Hearst in1926, the 40,000-square- foot (3,716-square-metre) art deco building is adornedwith fluted columns and statues and topped by a 600-foot (183-metre) glass andsteel skyscraper. Another conspicuous feature is a vast digital screentransmitting advertisements from BuzzFeed, espn and Vice. This blend of historyand modernity is emblematic of the outdoor-advertising business itself, which,despite being one of the world’s oldest forms of marketing is embracing digitaltechnologies.

Most forms of conventionaladvertising—print, radio and broadcast television—have been losing ground toonline ads for years; only billboards, dating back to the 1800s, and tv ads areholding their own (see chart). Such out-of-home advertising, as it isknown, is expected to grow by 3.4% in 2018, and digital out-of-home advertising, which includes the LCD screens found in airports and shoppingmalls, by 16%. Such ads draw viewers’ attention from phones and cannot beskipped or blocked, unlike ads online.

Billboard owners are also making hay fromthe location data that are pouring off people’s smartphones. Information abouttheir owners’ whereabouts and online browsing gets aggregated and anonymised bycarriers and data vendors and sold to media owners. They then use these data towork out when different demographic groups—“business travellers”, say—walk bytheir ads. That knowledge is added to insights into traffic, weather and otherexternal data to produce highly relevant ads. dooh providers can deliver adsfor coffee when it is cold and fizzy drinks when it is warm. Billboards can beprogrammed to show ads for allergy medication when the air is full of pollen.

Such targeting works particularly well whenit is accompanied by “programmatic” advertising methods, a term that describesthe use of data to automate and improve ads. In the past year, billboard ownerssuch as Clear Channel and jcDecaux have launched programmatic platforms which allowbrands and media buyers to select, purchase and place ads in minutes, ratherthan days or weeks. Industry boosters say outdoor ads will increasingly bebought like online ones, based on audience and views as well as location.

That is possible because billboard ownersclaim to be able to measure how well their ads are working, even though no“click-through” rates are involved. Data firms can tell advertisers how manypeople walk past individual advertisements at particular times of the day.Advertisers can estimate how many individuals exposed to an ad for a LouisVuitton handbag then go on to visit a nearby shop (or website) and buy theproduct. Such metrics make outdoor ads more data-driven, automated andmeasurable, argues Michael Provenzano, co-founder of Vistar Media, an ad-techfirm in New York.

As the outdoor-ad industry becomes moredata-driven, tech giants are among those to see more value in it. Netflixrecently acquired a string of billboards along Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, whereit will start advertising its films and tv shows.哈哈哈哈哈

The outdoor-ad revolution is notproblem-free. The collection of mobile-phone data raises privacy concerns. Andcriticisms of the online-ad business for being opaque, and occasionallyfraudulent, may also be lobbed at the ooh business as it becomes bigger andmore complex. The industry is ready to address such concerns, saysJean-Christophe Conti, chief executive of viooh, a media-buying platform. Oneof the benefits of following the online-ad trailblazers, he notes, is learningfrom their blunders.