Google has begun testing the ability to run advertisements on digital billboards through its DoubleClick advertising platform. The proof of concept, running in several markets in the United Kingdom, relies on data such as local weather, travel information and sporting events to determine which ads to serve.
The data supports ad serving, but it doesn't make merging digital with out-of-home (OOH) easy to serve the correct advertisement. Targeting passersby with digital out-of-home is even more complicated than with the Web. If it's a cold day, the ads may serve up information about a warm soup or beverage, for example, but it doesn't rely on local search data.
While the ads cannot target specific individuals, technically they could rely on aggregated data from local searches done via mobile devices and desktops to trigger the ads.
"If the passing audience isn't the right one to show an ad to, then the technology opts not to serve an ad," according to one report, which suggests that the billboards might rely on wireless signals from mobile devices that trigger specific advertisements.
The trial doesn't rely on data from wireless signals at this time, a Google spokesperson told Search Marketing Daily -- and it does not rely on search data. "OOH snap," per a Google spokesperson. "This is just an experiment with some media agencies in the U.K. No product is currently in development. Keep on driving."
The premium billboard ads, bought through a programmatic channel, rely on DoubleClick's automated processes, rather than manually placing the media order with an outdoor advertising company. Google bought the advertising placements upfront.
Tim Coller, mobile solutions lead for Google’s DoubleClick, told Business Insider that the test highlighted several areas that are fundamentally different that will require further development and integration before Google can take this to market. Those areas include serving dynamic creative, how Google views impressions versus credits, reporting, audience data, buying models, yield management, and latency.
Google has been using the billboard at the Old Street Roundabout to test this real-time concept, without programmatic ad buying, since March 2015.