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How Emerging Tech is Disrupting Digital Advertising

13 March 2019

The distinction between our digital and physical world is blurring with the evolution of digital technology and technologies such as AR, machine learning and haptics. Advertising is no longer limited to static displays but extends to dynamic, interactive experiences. Let's take a look:

Eye tracking

In Australia, a digital billboard embedded with eye tracking capabilities was used to promote destinations from Jetstar's Christmas Sale, unique ways to gain the analytics of passersby. The advertisement featured a range of cities including Ho Chi Minh City,  Honolulu, and Perth.

As people looked at their dream location, the eye-tracking technology registered their eye movement. Then the Innovate panels either told people the sale price for a flight to that destination, or dispensed a $500 Jetstar Gift Card.

Voice Interactive Mirror

Fashion chain H&M worked with Microsoft, Ombori and Visual Art to combine interactive mirrors, QR codes and voice technology in its New York Times Square store last year. When customers stood in front of a mirror they could use voice commands to get their picture taken. The picture could then be shared with their phone via a QR code. The mirror also offered clothing suggestions based on verbal commands. The clothing featured could be purchased directly via QR code.

Shoppers were then encouraged to share the image on their social networks and sign up for the H&M newsletter and were offered 20% off their next purchase for engaging with the technology in store.

Data and metrics

The issue of how to track and measure the efficacy of OOH advertising has been an issue for a number of years. However, the deluge of the Internet of Things, machine learning and advanced analytics have made digital billboards a rich source of analytical data.

Accretive Media have created the Accretive Data Lake (ADL) which combines location and geotemporal information with people-based profiles and deterministic attributes to develop a comprehensive view of a consumer’s digital and physical footprint. The data facilitates strategic not only consumer targeting within the Accretive platform, but also builds actionable analytics into the campaign audience.


Bluetooth beacon technology means that digital signage and mobile phones can communicate directly. In Malaysia, McDonald's created a ‘Save the Sundae’ campaign where a digital billboard displayed a sundae slowly melting. The melting could be slowed down by viewers turning on a digital fan using their mobile phone in return for free coupons which could be exchanged at a nearby restaurant.

In the UK, a bus shelter sign utilised gesture recognition, machine learning, and a touchscreen to create an interactive campaign. As part of the campaign, created by AMV BBDO  and Grand Visual, people were encouraged to make shapes on the screens in various letters with their bodies that spell out a destination to award points towards the prize of a holiday.

Augmented Reality

In London, augmented reality and a digital billboard was used to promote blood donations. When viewers placed an iPhone in front of the digital billboard, augmented reality replicated the process of a needle going into their flesh when a smartphone was moved over a sticker placed where an injection would usually occur.

As the iPhone virtually took their blood, the ad screen’s empty blood bag also fills up and a message is displayed thanking the participant for “seeing the power of a blood donation”. The real-life patient on the screen went from looking unhealthy to healthy as the blood bag fills up, and participants were asked to register as donors.

Augmented reality is also being increasingly used to good effect to create an interactive experience at conferences. As part of the Global Account Planning Summit, All Things Media (ATM)  developed a series of augmented reality billboards for Cognizant to help drive attention and awareness to their rebranding. Attendees could download a free app and use their tablet or mobile device to scan large format prints that automatically triggered videos from their rebranding campaign.

Haptic Technology

Taking a leap out of the world of gaming, haptic technology is being used in digital signage to create location-based, interactive entertainment. Haptic company Ultrahaptics utilizes patented algorithms that  modulate ultrasound waves to create haptic sensations in mid-air: their “virtual touch” technology uses ultrasonic transducers to project complex, detailed shapes and textures directly onto the user’s hands.

Digital signage installations typically include an array of ultrasonic transducers mounted under a durable protective fascia and combined with a hand-tracking system. They can provide the sense of touch up to a metre away from the surface and can accommodate multiple points of interaction.

In one campaign Ultrahaptics worked with BARCO to create an interactive gaming poster for the film Ready Player One

With the use of hand gestures, the movie logo turned into a maze. Players were challenged to guide their avatar through the maze using hand gestures in front of the screen, to reach the “Easter egg” at the end. The game also included QR codes and a call to action. (fast forward to 25 seconds to view the interaction).

HYGH Is Democratizing Advertising

It's worth noting that digital advertising is only in its relative infancy having been around a mere two decades. With the growth of exponential technology what will be possible in the future is likely to be far more interactive and far more creative.

This article features some pretty innovative campaigns and tech applications. What you might not know is that currently, the Digital Out of Home (DOOH) advertising market is slow-moving, centralized and inflexible with advertising opportunities limited only to organizations with large budgets.

We are changing this by creating a decentralized system that empowers companies, of all sizes, to reach the benefits of outdoor advertising in real time regardless of budget. Plus, any business can power up a screen to earn passive income by running advertisements in their shop, restaurant or hotel.  

HYGH is democratising the outdoor advertising industry so that everyone can advertise their business. Secure a 9% Revenue Share.

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