They don’t represent the most dynamic form of advertising, of course, but they’ve always had two things in their favor: Major visibility and a broad, captive audience receptive to any new stimuli.
Soon, however, modern billboards may be unrecognizable to our great-grandparents’ generation. Technology has given them an interactive upgrade, allowing them to deliver a more customized, personal experience.
The new age of billboard advertising
Static billboards have a problem — they simply aren’t relevant to a large number of people who view them. Advertisers have historically tackled this problem in a variety of ways; they placed billboards in strategic locations where they believed consumer interest was higher, and they also created billboards capable of rotating through multiple ads.
Truly interactive billboards were the next step in this evolution. McDonald’s, for example, created a massive interactive billboard that allowed by passers to use their smartphones to play ping-pong on the face of the billboard. Another well-known example of the form was the Times Square “Dunk Tank” interactive billboard, which allowed people to dunk live models by batting a ball projected on the screen. Or, consider the case of the interactive Coca-Cola billboard that used facial recognition technology to watch and mimic the expressions and emotions of pedestrians.
Why this approach is good for marketers and consumers
It’s no secret that personalized approaches are more effective in marketing contexts. In terms of attribution, interactive billboards play a key role in moving consumers toward a desired outcome. Interactive billboards interrupt the normal flow of daily life in outdoor environments; people are jolted out of their typical routine by the appearance of the unexpected.
Ultimately, this deepens engagement with the marketing message to an extraordinary degree. Most billboards are simply part of the landscape; we don’t even make a conscious decision to ignore them. Interactive billboards break this pattern. If they are cleverly designed, they prompt an unexpected burst of delight.
This, in turn, creates a memorable experience — and in the realm of marketing, few things are more valuable.
Thanks to interactive technology, billboards are no longer dull, static and easily ignored parts of the landscape. Companies that use interactive billboard technology effectively can reap significant benefits in the form of deeper engagement with audiences.
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