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Google Begins Testing Dynamic, Responsive Billboard Ads

Gaining someone’s attention these days is getting harder and harder. Attention spans are growing progressively shorter – and generic sales pitches simply do not work the way they used to. When it comes to web adverts – Google’s DoubleClick technology has led the market for years now – allowing advertisers to target ads to specific visitors across millions of websites. Helping to personalize an advert is a great way to attract someone’s attention – because you’re making it feel like you’re speaking to them directly rather than anyone who will listen.

Now image if we employed that same technology towards our physical marketing. Imagine a billboard that dynamically changed and showed you information that was actually relevant to what was going on, in real-time, around that billboard. This is exactly what Google has started testing over in London with a series of billboards that use real-time data to change what they display.

The technology would combine information about the audience currently passing the billboard, along with real-time data about the weather, current events, travel information, and sporting events. This data would then be analyzed and an appropriate ad would be displayed. If the passing audience isn’t right for any ad – no ad will be shown.

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Bringing DoubleClick technology to billboard advertising will be a huge change for the outdoor advertising industry. Apart from significantly better ad targeting – the new technology would let a business order billboard advertising through DoubleClick’s own automated process rather than manually placing an order through a marketing agency.

No plans have been made yet to roll this technology out for public use. Currently Google is running this test with billboards located within busy areas of London – such as Waterloo Station, Euston Road and Vauxhall Roundabout. The trial will run through the end of November – however Google has already stated that they have alot of work to do before this technology can be considered ready.

There is a common misconception that the merging of these two industries is straightforward. This test has highlighted a number of areas that are fundamentally different and which will require further development and integration before this becomes a market reality. For example: serving dynamic creative, how we look at impressions versus credits, reporting, audience data, buying models, yield management, and latency.

About Michael Boguslavskiy

Michael Boguslavskiy is a full-stack developer & online presence consultant based out of New York City. He's been offering freelance marketing & development services for over a decade. He currently manages Rapid Purple - and online webmaster resources center; and Media Explode - a full service marketing agency.

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