Customer experience reaches new highs with smarter ad data, tech

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


In embracing the equation of Data + Technology + Creativity = Better UX,  a new, intelligent, and very smart way (in all senses of the word, smart) to target audiences has emerged in the form a new digital billboard in the heart of London. 

The several-story digital billboard in London's Piccadilly Circus uses image recognition to personalise ads for passers-by.
The several-story digital billboard in London's Piccadilly Circus uses image recognition to personalise ads for passers-by.

At London’s Piccadilly Circus, the giant electric poster uses image recognition technology to display targeted advertisements based on factors such as the specific make of cars driving past or the gender/age of people walking by. 

It sounds like scene from the futuristic movie Minority Report, where a voice asks Tom Cruise, by name, if he would like a Guinness when he walks past a poster for the famous, black, alcoholic beverage. Or when in a Gap Store, a hologram recommends a type of clothing to suit his appearance? But no, this is real.

Smart, interactive advertisements are here to stay.
Smart, interactive advertisements are here to stay.

These large ad screens wrap themselves around the surrounding buildings, which overlook one of the capital’s most popular tourist destinations. Built-in cameras hidden inside the screens can track the make, model, and even colour of the cars driving past to deliver targeted adverts to the specific audience. 

Advertisers can pre-programme specific video ads to play when particular cars drive by … and adapt to the age or gender of a pedestrian. The cameras and a machine learning based algorithm, registers visual cues, for example, hair length and height and makes assumptions on the demographics of the area. So, if the algorithm detects a higher proportion of women in the area at any one time, it could display promotions for say, women’s clothing.

The technology can also be used to react to changes in the news, weather, sports, and social media updates. People can engage with the brands shown on the screen using social media platforms, too. This can then be used by the advertisers to project ads that best represent the interests of people in the area.

Impressive stuff. But you may be asking: Why am I’m telling you all this? 

It’s because it demonstrates why we need to be on top of our game.

When we deal with our advertising clients, we need to be ahead of the curve in terms of understanding their environment, their media choices, what else they are being bombarded with (be it, new tech as above or existing channels), what are the advantages and disadvantages of their choices, what budgetary constraints may apply etc?

And all the above, when stacked up against our own media offerings, shows us that our sales teams need to be highly educated to be able to compete. 

Once again, education is king. 

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About Mark Challinor

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