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Blockchain Business News 8-14 March

This is the weekly wrap of blockchain business news for 8-14 March. Subscribe to get the blockchain news you need for your business!

An NFT Digital Artwork Just Sold For $69 Million

Last week, Christie’s sold the first purely digital artwork ever offered by an auction house.

The artwork is called Everydays: The first 5000 days and was created by digital artist Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple.

The piece is one massive image that contains every single everyday that he has done from May 1st 2007 to January 7th, 2021. ⠀

The NFT-based digital artwork sold for a whopping $69 million making Beeple the third most-valuable living artist in the world behind David Hockney and Jeff Koons.

 

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Thanks to NFTs, you can become the owner of a digital artwork, an NBA shot or a tweet.

Wait, a tweet?

Yes!

And not just any tweet, Jack Dorsey’s first tweet in 2006.

The auction is set to end on March 21. Jack announced he will donate the proceeds to Give Directly’s Africa Response fund for COVID-19 relief.

The highest bid for the tweet is currently $2.5 million.

Blockchain firm Ripple to end partnership with MoneyGram

In 2019, MoneyGram and blockchain firm Ripple announced a partnership where MoneyGram will distribute Ripple’s digital currency XRP across the world and Ripple will invest up to $50 million in MoneyGram. XRP, Ripple’s digital currency is the world’s third most valuable cryptocurrency after Bitcoin and Ethereum.

In its announcement, MoneyGram said it would use Ripple’s xRapid liquidity product to help process cross-border payments for an initial term of two years. As for Ripple, the main benefit of this deal is increased credibility for its digital currency.

Two years later, the companies have decided to end their partnership agreement.

In its statement, Ripple said:

We are proud of the work we were able to accomplish in a short amount of time, as well as the impact we were able to achieve in bringing this first-of-its-kind product to market. Together, we processed billions of dollars through RippleNet and On-Demand Liquidity (ODL).
We are both committed to revisiting our relationship in the future. We still believe in the promise of digital assets and blockchain technology to change the status quo in global payments for the benefit of billions of consumers around the world.

PayPal steps up crypto efforts with acquisition of blockchain security startup Curv

PayPal announced last week that it has agreed to acquire Curv to accelerate and expand its initiatives to support cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

Curv is a leading provider of cloud-based infrastructure for digital asset security based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

PayPal, now boasting 375 million consumers and $2.4 billion in profit for 2019, said in its statement that “The acquisition of Curv is part of our effort to invest in the talent and technology to realize our vision for a more inclusive financial system.”

Last year, PayPal announced its commitment to help shape the role that digital currencies will play in the future of financial services and commerce.

Blockchain.com Crypto Wallet outage affects ‘large number’ of users

On March 9, Blockchain.com, the world’s oldest crypto company, experienced an issue that prevented its users from accessing their wallets.

Upon investigation, the company reported that a fire at one of their many data centers had caused the outage. The issue was fixed eight hours later with wallet functionality being fully restored.

The demand for internet-based services has increased over the past few years. Businesses are now adopting cloud services and advanced technologies for operation, data storage and other related work. Blockchain technology is now a significant driver for data centre demand.

With data centres growing bigger and more powerful, the rate of fire incidents is also increasing. To prevent the type of outages that Blockchain.com experienced last week, data centers operators must adopt fire detection and suppression systems.

As this report mentions, the cost of IT equipment and downtime of the server room is much higher than the cost of the fire suppression system.

Blockchain.com to leverage the business experience and clout of Jim Messina, Obama’s former political and corporate adviser

Blockchain.com was launched in 2011. In the past decade, the company developed a popular cryptocurrency wallet as well as an exchange and an explorer.

According to the latest statistics, people have created 65 million wallets on the company’s website or using mobile apps. Since 2012, 28% of bitcoin transactions have been sent or received by a Blockchain.com-managed wallet. In February 2021, the company raised a $120 million funding round.

Jim Messina

Who is Jim Messina and why does Blockchain.com need his expertise?

Jim Messina is one of the world’s most successful political and corporate advisors.

He is the mastermind behind President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Before crafting the strategy that would get President Obama re-elected, he spent a month learning organizational growth, marketing and emerging technologies from the CEOs of some of the most successful companies in the US: Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Salesforce etc.

The press release announcing that Jim Messina will be joining the Blockchain.com Board of Directors also mentions the reason behind this decision:

“Jim’s experience and guidance will be invaluable as we navigate the process of bringing crypto to the first billion people.”

Australia’s Government Allocates $5.3M for Blockchain Pilot Projects

The government of Australia has allocated $5.3 million to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to study the role blockchain technology can play in regulation.

The money will be spent on two pilot projects intended to show how cost reductions in regulatory compliance are possible with the use of blockchain. The projects will focus on the supply chains of critical minerals and food and beverages.

This news is not surprising with Australia being one of the top leading countries in blockchain technology.

Last year, Australia released its 5-year National Blockchain Roadmap in which it said it was exploring the potential benefits of blockchain to create new economic growth and improve productivity.

The roadmap delves into three main industries which it believes would benefit from applying blockchain: the agricultural sector, the education sector and the financial services sector.

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3 Brands Leveraging Nostalgia In 2018

As marketers, nostalgia is one of the most creative tools we have at our disposal. Many reports have shown that successful brands are those which establish an emotional bond with their customers. Therefore nostalgia is a way to make surprising connections in order to elicit an emotional positive response from our audience.

brand-minds-2019-brands-leveraging-nostalgia (2)-min

Here is how 3 brands leveraged nostalgia in 2018:

1. Google Assistant: Home Alone Again

Home Alone is one of the most iconic movies of the 90’s; it turned 18 years in 2018 and its leading actor, Macaulay Culkin is 38. And still the movie has been broadcast by Romanian televisions around Christmas time for the past 11 years uninterruptedly.

Google uses this particular cultural reference to advertise its virtual assistant to the adults who grew up watching Home Alone.

2. Tourism Australia – Dundee 2018 Trailer

What is Australia known for? Kangaroos, the Aborigines and … Crocodile Dundee, the 1986 movie. The main character, Mick Dundee has everything going for him: character, charisma and a big knife. He also knows his way around ladies, sweeping Sue Charlton, the American journalist off her feet. At the time, the female audience was enchanted by Mick Dundee’s relaxed masculinity and the male audience was charmed by the gorgeous and voluptuous Miss Sue. The movie made a lasting impact on movie-goers and is still a good film today.

Tourism Australia was right to leverage this movie’s huge popularity. The commercial is designed as a movie trailer for a supposed sequel to the 1986 Crocodile Dundee. The ad features many famous Hollywood actors born down under such as Hugh Jackman, brothers Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, Russell Crowe and American Danny McBride in the role of Mick Dundee’s long lost son.

The commercial hit the sweet spot big time! The video has over 3 million views and many are expecting it to become a full-fledged movie!

3. Coca Cola – The Wonder of Us

Unlike Google and Tourism Australia, in this commercial for the 2018 Super Bowl, Coca Cola uses nostalgia in a very discreet manner – if you don’t pay attention, you can almost miss it.

Coca Cola talks to the Gen Xers through their favourite activities and games they were playing when growing up: spin the bottle, playing with colourful balloons, rope swinging above water with your best friend or going on rides in bumper cars.

In this ad, nostalgia doesn’t play a leading role. Nostalgia helps Coca Cola deliver its main message about inclusion, celebration of sexual and cultural diversity, uniqueness, freedom, courage.

Expert’s Statement

Bogdana Butnar, Head of Strategy @Poke (Publicis UK Group) and marketing expert with 17 years of experience shared with me her opinion on nostalgia marketing:

Nostalgia is definitely an interesting tactical territory.

From a big picture point of view, I don’t think building a brand on nostalgia is wise, but you can do some interesting activations with it because Millennials and Gen Z are two generations who actively engage with the past.

Both Millennials and Gen Z have been described as having “complicated” relationships with the present, the former because it’s not allowing them to self actuate, the latter because it’s not what they expect.

Both generations look back with fondness to safer, more solid times when things were clearer and more stable. Gen Zers are particularly known to look up to their grandparents more than their parents or peers. This means that brands that were solid back in the day can hark back to those times to speak to this trust and longing for stability.

On the other hand, on a smaller scale, most of us have fond childhood memories of one brand or the other. We remember the candy grandma used to sneak us when we were visiting, a specific container design that signified we were getting something nice, or simply something that was so common that it became iconic.

All of those can be interesting tactical ways to engage a new audience by appealing to this “madeleine effect” that objects or flavours can have on us. And nostalgia is very easy to “identify” if you’re a brand that’s looking. People tag images of memorabilia, they proactively ”signal” that they miss something so it’s surprising more examples of nostalgia in marketing, through comms, packaging design, special editions etc, are not widely seen.

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The digital out-of-home advertising is already blooming

The share of global advertising spend going to out-of-home (OOH) advertising remains stable at 6 percent, shows ‘Why Out Of Home Performs’, a joint study by Magna Intelligence and Rapport, IPG Mediabrand’s out-of-home agency, into OOH’s continued growth and impact. The report was based on findings from an analysis of the global OOH industry and OOH advertising in 70 countries. This is largely down to major investment in digital OOH (or DOOH), which is growing in every environment and has seen unit numbers jump 70,000 to 300,000 worldwide in two years, and revenue increase by 30 percent.

Digital OOH is boosting advertising revenues by creating more opportunities for marketers in premium locations like airports or malls, thus increasing the revenue per panel multiple times. Although digital units account for only 5% of the global OOH inventory, they already generate 14% of total advertising revenues. In fact, DOOH already accounts for 30% of revenues in some markets like the UK and Australia, and the global share is predicted to grow to 24% globally by 2021.

“With the explosive growth of digital-out-of-home (DOOH), the diversified lifestyle touch points it reaches, and the veritable mountain of mobile driven audience data, we are best positioned to accurately, and in real-time, track audiences and deliver contextually relevant messages through out-of-home media. OOH’s sustained growth on a global scale will further enable us to create engaging consumer experiences,” said Mike Cooper, Global CEO Rapport.

source: Campaign Asia

“The digital-out-of-home market is a return to advertising’s roots, quietly shifting the industry by way of re-imagining the classic advertising experience. Nearly $4.5 billion is expected to be spent on DOOH advertising in the U.S. by 2019, an increase of approximately $1.2 billion from 2016. Zenith forecasts that DOOH will grow faster globally than all other buying methods, and PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that DOOH advertising revenues will overtake traditional media spend in 2020, growing at a rate of 15% a year for the next four years,” writes AdAge.com.

According to MAGNA, OOH advertising is now a $29 billion market, responsible for approximately 6% of the $500 billion global advertising spending. However, OOH market share increases to 10% to 12% in some countries, including France and Russia, compared with other media categories including Internet, TV, print and radio. OOH market share has remained stable in the last five years, hovering around 6%. However, as part of its increasing importance in the media mix, OOH market share has increased from 8% to 10% of traditional media advertising spend, which includes TV, print, radio and out-of-home, among other categories.

MAGNA Intelligence, in partnership with Rapport, conducted an in-depth survey in 22 key markets including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States. The objective of the survey was to assess OOH advertising’s sustained growth and impact during a period where offline marketing budgets are stagnating and other media categories are struggling.

Moreover, MAGNA showed in another study launched in June, that in the USA, Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising is expected to grow +2% to $7.9 billion in 2017, including cinema. MAGNA reduces its 2017 growth forecast following weak first quarter advertising sales, which grew by just +0.3% in a sudden slowdown, as seven of the last eight quarters had shown year-over-year growth of +3% or more. The 1Q17 stagnation occurred as a result of several key verticals reducing spend, including both automotive and food & beverage, which both experienced double-digit declines. This offset the continued growth from tech brands (e.g. Google, Apple, Hulu and Netflix) that have driven OOH sales over the last two years.

The DOOH market encapsulates everything from digital billboards to screens in elevators to screens on jukeboxes. Unlike internet or mobile advertising, it allows advertisers to reach target audiences in a specific, real-world context. Instead of interrupting an internet user’s online experience with an ad, it’s focused on marketing to consumers when they are “on the go” in public places or in transit. Due to its specifications, the technology has the opportunity to give to its target the message in a format that’s automated, dynamic and interactive.

“The DOOH space presents a major opportunity for creatives, technologists and consumers alike. We see DOOH’s effectiveness in the numbers: the 2016 Nielsen OOH ad study found 91% of U.S. residents age 16 or older, who have traveled in a vehicle in the past month, noticed some form of OOH, and 79% noticed OOH in the past week. The same Nielsen digital billboards study found 71% of digital billboard viewers find those ads to stand out more than online ads. Ultimately, the emerging digital-out-of-home market is groundbreaking in its interactive technology, but it’s also a return to advertising’s roots and the original purpose around advertising: to provide an engaging and useful service to the public,” writes AdAge.

Globally, in 2016, the OOH market was worth $28 billion in net advertising, according to Magna’s report, and is predicted to grow by 4 percent per year to reach $33 billion by 2021. Behind this growth is an ever-more concentrated supply-side market, in which the top international OOH media owners are continuing to expand their influence: the six main global vendors (in order of 2016 revenue size, JCDecaux, Clear Channel, Outfront, Lamar, Stroer and Exterior) now control almost 40 percent of the whole market. By 2021, the report predicts small, but significant changes, in the environments most used for OOH. Use of billboards, currently the top revenue-generating segment and performing particularly well in India, Russia and the US, will drop 4 percent from 45 to 41 in the next five years. Street furniture and transit, meanwhile, are due to grow, respectively, from 31 to 34 percent and from 14 to 15 percent as local authorities become more willing to partner with OOH vendors. A series of major contracts—typically over 10 years long—in big cities are also in the process of renewal, the first time this has happened in the era of DOOH and programmatic opportunities, which partly explains DOOH’s recent giant revenue leap.

According to APAC, while the US is the largest OOH market, valued at $7.1 billion last year, APAC countries Japan ($4.7 billion) and China ($3.1 billion) come in at second and third position and per capita spending on OOH amounts to a record $38 per year in Japan, compared to $22 in the US. Singapore spends the second highest amount per capita at $36 a year. In the Philippines, meanwhile, OOH accounts for one of the highest percentage shares of overall ad spend in the world, at 15 percent compared to the global share of 6 percent. Singapore (12 percent) and Thailand (9 percent) also exceed the worldwide average.

Singapore’s OOH ads have the highest reach range of any other APAC market, with a penetration of 70 to 80 percent of the relevant population, due to its concentrated levels of urbanisation. Australia’s have the second highest, reaching 60 to 70 percent, but neither matches the reach of OOH ads in Argentina, which are considered seen by a huge 85 to 95 percent of the population.

In Australia, DOOH represents more than a third of total OOH spend, which the report attributes to a sophisticated advertising market and a population relatively concentrated in a few urban centers.

In China, the total OOH spend about matches other markets, it is one of the top five global markets in terms of penetration of digital, led by the transit segment. By 2021, MAGNA predicts that digital growth will have doubled, while OOH growth will be stagnating, partly due to lack of interest in non-digital inventory.

“OOH’s natural convergence with other digital media has hurt most other ad forms. OOH complements digital media by amplifying and enhancing it. This phenomenon has brought additional ad revenue to OOH, while most other media have experienced revenue losses as a result of the growth in digital.OOH has benefited from other new technologies, too, such as social media and mobile. Many OOH media campaigns are now picked up on social media, which greatly amplifies the total viewership. When consumers are on mobile devices, OOH is typically one of the last ad forms they’re exposed to just before important path-to-purchase decisions,” explained Steve Nicklin, Vice President of Marketing, OAAA, for  billboardinsider.com.

The innovative opportunities provided by the digital platform have provided the OOH industry with new thinking and new ideas. Moreover, in the USA, as shown by the  USA Touchpoints/RealityMine study, OOH and Today’s Mobile Consumer, consumers spend more time with OOH than any other form of advertising media except TV. The findings are supported by the  2016 Nielsen OOH ad study that found that 91% of US residents age 16 or older, who have traveled in a vehicle in the past month, noticed some form of OOH, and 79% have noticed OOH in the past week. Their research also discovered impressive levels of engagement, with 82% of billboard viewers reporting they look at the advertising message at least some of the time; and over one-third looking at the billboard ad each time or almost each time they noticed one. The  Nielsen digital billboards study found 71% of digital billboard viewers find them to stand out more than online ads.

OOH is expanding to brand new environments. Digital screens have allowed OOH advertising vendors to penetration niche environment allowing to reach young urban population that is otherwise hard to reach by traditional media: offices, elevators, taxi, gyms, bars, retail etc. The “Digital Place-Based” segment offers targeting capabilities and programmatic opportunities. Moreover, OOH becomes addressable and experiments with programmatic. Initially developed to automate the trading of online display ads, the programmatic technologies are now being used in to buy and optimize ad campaigns on connected DOOH units.

Programmatic techniques not only optimize the workflow of media-buying but help brands deliver the right ad in the right place and at the right time, using consumer data and mobile location data. Giving advertisers the ability to plan, buy, optimize and measure the effectiveness of their outdoor campaigns through an online platform represents the natural evolution of OOH’s technology-driven transformation with many vendors developing Private Marketplaces (PMP).

Besides that, DOOH is going social. “There are two main avenues DOOH is being used to complement social campaigns, either through integration or through content creation,” says Neil Morris, founder and CEO of UK-based creative production house Grand Visual.

Batteries, solar panels and the end of fossil fuels

study published in January in the Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment predicts that the combination of battery storage with renewable energy will make fossil fuels increasingly obsolete. The driving forces of this disruption include the “decline in retail renewable electricity prices,” along with plummeting costs of batteries. Fossil fuels are the most widely used source of energy because of base load power, which means they provide energy at all times, night and day. In contrast, renewables have faced the ‘intermittency’ challenge—the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow.

But authors Jemma Green and Peter Newman of Curtin University in Australia show that as storage gets cheaper, renewables will become more competitive with fossil fuels on costs and reliability. By 2050, these irresistible technological and market forces could make oil, gas and coal seem too costly and cumbersome, leading renewables to account for “100 percent of global energy demand.”

source: energyathaas.com

According to Vicente Lopez-Ibor Mayor, chairman of Lightsource—the biggest solar energy company in Europe—there will be an immediate impact within just three years. Moreover, Mayor told Motherboard that the speed of technological improvement means solar storage is “going to be massively disruptive to the business-as-usual processes of oil, gas and coal.”

In three years, he said, it will “begin to transform” the electricity infrastructure of major cities. “Solar storage is pitched to become so cheap it will make relying on natural gas peaker plants pointless…It will lead to rapid adoption of solar by businesses, local governments, and households—not because people are environmentally conscious, but simply because it will make more economic sense.”

More on their approach you can read here.

The Powerwall system

While wind and solar power have made great strides in recent years, with renewables now accounting for  22% of electric energy generated, the issue that has held them back has been their transience.  But now, the renewable power billionaire Elon Musk has just blown away that final defence. In an event held in California he introduced to the world his sleek new Powerwall – a wall-mounted energy storage unit that can hold 10 kilowatt hours of electric energy, and deliver it at an average of 2 kilowatts, all for US 3,500. That represents an electricity price (taking into account installation costs and inverters) of  around US 500 per kWh – less than half current costs, as estimated by Deutsche Bank.

“That translates into delivered energy at around 6 cents per kWh for the householder, meaning that a domestic system plus storage would still come out ahead of coal-fired power delivered through the conventional grid,” explains iflscience.com.

Moreover, the reality is much closer than we might think as Musk is  going to manufacture the batteries in the United States, at the “gigafactory” he is building just over the border from California in Nevada. And that while not staying and waiting for some totally new technology, but scaling up the tried and tested lithium-ion battery that he is already using for his electric vehicles.

The Powerwall system offering 10 kWh is targeted at domestic users. It is complemented by a commercial system termed the Powerpack offering 100 kWh storage, and a stack of 100 such units to form a 10 megawatt hour storage unit that can be used at the scale of small electricity grids. Whole communities could build micro-grid power supply systems around such a 10 MWh energy storage system, fed by renewable energy generation (wind power or rooftop solar power), at costs that just became super-competitive.

More than that, Musk declared that the entire electric power grid of the US could be replicated with just 160 million of these utility-scale energy storage units. And two billion of the utility-scale units could provide storage of 20 trillion kWh – electric power for the world.

Solar panels have repaid their fossil fuel debt

At the same time, another study says that thanks to the growing solar power capacity around the world, solar power has reached the break even point. The study from the Netherlands, published in  Nature Communications, says that the power generated by solar photovoltaic panels over the last 40 years has offset the polluting energy used to produce them.

By the researchers’ calculations, for every doubling of global solar power capacity, the energy used to produce them fell by 12-13 percent and greenhouse gas emissions fell by 17-24 percent, depending on what material was used. Solar capacity has grown roughly 45 percent a year since 1975, reaching 230 gigawatts (GW) in 2015. By the end of 2016, there could be 300 GW installed.

“The researchers believe the break even point was likely hit about five years ago for both energy consumed and emissions meaning, at this point, global solar energy is having a net positive impact and will continue to increase that positive impact going forward. This feels like a major cause for celebration. If you’re a homeowner with solar panels, the researchers say that individual solar panels repay their fossil fuel debt several times over during their average 30-year lifespan,” wrote Megan Treacy for treehugger.com.

The ways the digital and the technology are changing the OOH

source: Screen Media Daily

Digital out-of-home is no longer standing by and being just a follower or a passenger.  It has changed the face of outdoor advertising – and the future’s looking bright for this medium. According to the Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report, quoted by Campaign, DOOH claimed a 31% share of total out-of-home adspend in 2015 – set to rise to 40% in 2017. And PwC predicts that DOOH advertising revenues will overtake traditional spend in 2020, growing at a rate of 15% a year for the next four years.

“It’s no surprise, then, that in a 2016 Ocean survey of executives from media agencies and outdoor specialists, 86.3% identified DOOH as having the biggest growth potential over mobile, video on demand and other media channels. That growth is being fuelled by a rapid expansion of DOOH inventory, new technologies and innovative creative that plays to the medium’s strengths,” added the famous advertising magazine.

Taking a look at the Romanian situation, several major industry specialists agree that the main international trends are around digital OOH media. More and more of the OOH trades will go programmatic, following the development of more advanced markets where programmatic OOH is already a norm. Moreover, it’s very likely that the virtual and hologram revolution which began this year, fueled by large international technology players like Google, Facebook and other mobile technology firms, will be the beginning of a significant new trend in OOH reality, overlapping with a virtual reality experience.

The advantage that digital OOH has over traditional OOH is that one can better control the programmatic process, granting more flexibility in everything, from planning to the display of ads at a specific moment, in a desired context, to a desired audience.

Another big trend in the OOH industry nowadays is that OOH programming will help DOOH to grow faster than expected. Moreover, programmatic advertising doesn’t belong to only one media channel; it can be extended from online and mobile to other media, like TV, radio and OOH. And all media must be very well measured in order to be traded in a programmatic way.

More trends and influences that the marketers must watch for in DOOH are:

The number of digital screens will increase significantly due to several factors, including the significantly lower cost to produce LED screens.

source: Digital Signage

New developments in hyper-targeting. OOH planning systems are integrating with data sources including mobile carrier data, online browsing behavior and shopper purchase records. Marketers will be able to utilize OOH to target micro-specific segments on the move.

Real-Time OOH trading will steadily increase, as more OOH vendors integrate inventory into demand-side-platforms. The format’s ability to target consumers in real-time based on previous location histories has led to automotive, travel and retail advertisers dipping their toes in the water. Location-based mobile and digital out-of-home media are part of a larger multiscreen ecosystem that effectively amplifies brand messages to create a deeper level of engagement with active consumers.

source: Bell Media

OOH will become more intelligent as forward-thinking brands take advantage of developments in Internet-connected screens, facial/object recognition and external data feeds. A convergence of art and science will lead to OOH creative that self-optimizes based on how people react. Dynamic content triggered by data feeds already allows advertisers to change creative in real-time based on external conditions including CRM data, weather, sports scores, traffic and social media sentiment.

Beacon adoption will grow, focused on analytics. Smart marketers will utilize Bluetooth Low Energy Devices (beacons) for data collection to gain a better understanding of their customers’ in store behavior. Large retailers already have rolled out beacons across their network of stores; this provides a wealth of valuable data such as popular products and aisles, with the ability to track store promotions right to the register.

Targeting drivers. Car manufacturers are the early adopters of smart billboard technology. In partnership with OOH Media,  Porsche launched the world’s first interactive billboard campaign in Australia in January 2015. It used image recognition software to detect Porsches and display a company ad saying, “It’s so easy to pick you out in a crowd.”  Lexus followed suit later in the month with a similar but more sophisticated Australian ad campaign. It used an algorithm to match vehicle information with environmental information, such as local traffic and weather conditions, to generate 80 variations of the same ad.

Porsche is teaming up with video surveillance software manufacturer Milestone Systems and IBM Analytics to deliver targeted billboard ads to specific vehicle models on their way to Australia’s Melbourne airport. These smart billboard software applications do not yet identify specific drivers, but Sydney University of Technology professor Jim Macnamara says that is coming soon.

In the United States, some smart billboard ads are targeting drivers based on speed. For instance, in 2014,  Cisco used a billboard near San Francisco International Airport to promote its Cisco Live event by delivering messages of varying length, with faster drivers getting shorter messages.

OOH will be a core part of social and mobile strategies, and we will see more campaigns with OOH as a centerpiece.  Coca-Cola launched an integrated digital campaign in Times Square as an extension of its hugely successful “Share a Coke” campaign, incorporating large digital billboards, Google search data, mobile and a socially activated call to action.

OOH will start being recognized as a direct response medium. As cardless payments including mobile payments gain traction with merchants, consumer usage will increase beyond early adopters. This boom in contactless “card-free” mobile payments is forecast to more than double this year, and over the next five years, U.S. mobile payments alone are forecasted to grow from $52 billion in 2014 to $142 billion by 2019 (Forrester). OOH will increase its relevance along the consumer journey; a format perceived primarily as a brand-awareness driver can now become an instrument in driving real-time purchase.

“OOH offers audience reach opportunities unsurpassed in the media landscape, particularly reaching young and upmarket audiences. The blurring of media boundaries, epitomised by the digital OOH landscape and the rise of mobile, should offer smarter solutions to brands feeling the pinch or exploiting consumer sentiment opportunities, particularly those targeting millennial audiences and expecting an immediate response,” concludes talonoutdoor.com.

 

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