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How Data Can Help Old-Fashioned Outdoor Advertising

 5 min read / 

As creativity and technology continue to grow closer together in the advertising space, brands bolster their online spend. This culminated in digital overtaking TV ad spending for the first time in the US in 2016. It is no surprise, therefore, that digital will take 33% of the advertising market in 2017.

However, as Alexei Poliakov – co-founder of Locomizer, a UK-based ad tech startup – says “90% of day-to-day transactions happen in the real, not digital world.”

There are many more companies in the industry that are eager to catch on to the popularity of services and trends like Facebook Live, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and AR games. But is outdoor advertising lagging behind as brands tend to focus on digital and mobile? Maybe not.

Truth be told, when advertising outdoors, marketers cannot track clicks or engagement. Companies, therefore, need to be more strategic and thoughtful in how to place and position brands’ ‘old-school’ ads.

If done smartly, outdoor ads can reach out customers and be relevant in real time. Digital music service Spotify created a global advertising campaign by focusing primarily on OOH (out-of-home) advertising. The company used quirky data points about their listeners and put huge billboards all over the world.

Rather than always being on the lookout for the next big thing in digital, companies can set their sights on old-school outdoor ads.

How Jameson Used Location Data


Jameson Irish Whisky tackled a challenge of moving the brand from a spirit for ‘Dads’ to one for ‘Lads’ (broadly men, aged 25–34), so to say, increase appeal with the younger crowd. With the help of Locomizer, they analysed Twitter posts of guests from 4500 bars where the whisky was sold. Then they tracked where men of a particular age segment hang out on Fridays and Saturdays before going to a bar.

In other words, they used anonymous historic location data from mobile apps and social media to pinpoint hot spot areas for lads’ hangouts. Jameson Irish Whisky got the insight and instrument to target consumers before they do spontaneous catch-ups at their favourite bars and made ads hyper-local as possible. The campaign showed 225% uplift in reach and 40% increase in sales.

Location Is the Cookie of the Real World

The apps like Meitu and Uber offer three location-based settings: “Never”, “While Using the App”, and “Always”. When a user chooses to share location data, the phone will automatically and anonymously collect this data that can be used by brands and advertisers to reach customers in better places.

It is all about targeting users based on their offline interests (user’s affinity to real-world activities, as we are not always digital) and historical patterns of movements (simply put, their location data). Case in point: location data is a strong indicator of our affinity to everyday activities. Places people visit define their real life interests and preferences.

Playing Angry Birds or using effects on MSQRD in the cafe near the 5th Ave and E 8th St next to the Washington Square and then opening Uber app to get a taxi you can help brands to see where consumer segments with certain interests prefer to spend their time — simply predict consumer behaviour in the real world.

Taking this track, Locomizer has rolled out the technology AffinityBI that applies Biological Intelligence in branding and advertising. Literally, their technology helps brands find a perfect match with relevant audiences. The result: better targeting and ROI for brands, relevant messages and information for customers.

The technology was developed by watching cells’ behaviour and realising that systems have intelligence and a collective behaviour, even without a brain. “Therefore, instead of trying too hard to predict one consumer’s behaviour in isolation, BI can effectively crowdsource behaviour, and save a big computational headache,” says Poliakov.

Bringing Video Games To Your Doorstep

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To mark the return of video game Doom, out of home (OOH) advertising group Posterscope together with Locomizer searched for the right places of outdoor ads to reach their target audience — gamers. The algorithm found the places where followers of popular gamers or video game companies spend their time and post tweets related to the topic.

As it turned out, the gamers avoid crowded places in London, but sometimes they randomly appear nearby the Bank of England and Scotland Yard. Once the hotspots were identified, Posterscope chose the right bus and train routes to effectively reach the chosen segment.

Further Uses

Location-based insights have always interested companies, including Uber and MasterCard partnering with key players in the industry – Factual and PlaceIQ.

MasterCard aggregates purchase behaviour across the many billions of transactions the company processes every year across different categories like CPG, retail, dining, travel and automotive. This insightful data can definitely make digital and outdoor ads hyper-local and effective as possible.

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