AI and Automation Are Transforming Digital Out of Home Advertising

Technology Improves Addressability, Accountability, and Attribution

The convergence of machine vision and AI technology is solving what have historically been the Digital Out of Home (DOOH) industry’s biggest pain points: addressability, accountability and attribution.

The future of DOOH media will be predicated on our ability to help brands reach their target audiences. Today, thanks to IoT connectivity and AI, impressions can be precisely tracked, and audience engagement can be measured in real-time. This is enabling the development of new DOOH digital advertising channels, and helping to transition the DOOH industry from a one-to-many model to a one-to-a-custom audience vehicle.

Digital signage powered by Intel technology enables DOOH media providers to help advertisers get to market faster. AI-powered machine vision at the edge, in particular, facilitates advertising on DOOH screens that can be customized to adapt to specific demographic targets, and personalized based on anonymized data analysis.

The global DOOH market is projected to reach $31.7 billion annually by 2025. And the amount of screen real estate is expected to grow from about 38 million connected displays today to 87 million worldwide by 2021. This ranges from billboards and transit signs to screens on gas pumps and in taxi cabs.


Digital marketers have always wanted to target very specific audiences. These are demographic segments that are often based on location histories. For example, a retailer might want to target shoppers that frequent one of their competitors’ stores. This strategy uses location data history as the primary basis for defining the profile of a custom audience.

Historically, DOOH has been great for brand-building. But the reality is that Digital Out of Home has been a one-to-many media. There are a lot of spill impressions and inefficiencies when you buy media this way. For example, you may be targeting an audience composed of impressions that are of no interest to the buyer. Today, the challenge is to actually evolve DOOH to a one-to-select-target media channel by eliminating those spill impressions, and by using data to activate it.

What makes this transition possible is the investment that the DOOH industry is making in building programmatic and smart ad server platforms. Technology is enabling buyers to use real-time data to determine the best screens and times to reach a desired group of buyers. This moves us away from the traditional DOOH model, and toward a new geo-temporal, on-the-fly, ad-serving model.


While it’s really cool to talk about all this computer science and how to make DOOH smarter, the real question is: How do we target custom audiences, and prove that it actually works? That’s the point of accountability.

Lack of a trusted measurement tool to prove efficacy has historically been a deterrent to DOOH ad spending. But now, transparent attribution data goes way beyond reporting on the number of total impressions, a rather nebulous metric. This is where machine vision technology begins to shine. Camera-based technology, combined with edge compute capabilities, can be used to determine who was exposed to an ad, who engaged with that ad, and for how long. The data also helps ad buyers understand the anonymous demographics of those qualified impressions.

Intel has been working with a number of partners worldwide to enable camera-based solutions to address accountability. All of this is anchored by transparent data and privacy policies.


Lot of companies, specifically large digital marketing companies, have really been evolving their tech stack to be able to understand whether the online ad exposure would result in an offline visit in the store. So, to a marketer, this is called online-to-offline attribution, and that is very important work.

What the DOOH industry has been focusing on for the past year is being able to understand whether devices that have been exposed to out of home activation, such as digital billboards or DOOH screens, actually result in customers walking into a physical store. That is called offline- to-offline attribution. And there are a lot of advances being made by our industry, and we can start to measure lift and/or surge due to exposure to ads on the DOOH screen. Basically, we’re starting to see our media agency planners and agencies use attribution techniques to understand how DOOH exposure created in-store lift.

What’s really important moving forward is for the DOOH industry to better understand the nuances of another important metric: offline-to-online attribution. This is the key for assessing whether exposure to an ad in the DOOH industry is driving online conversions. If we can prove that, we’ll see a shift in digital ad budgets that further accelerates ad spending growth in the DOOH sector. That is going to transform digital out of home into a more powerful channel for advertisers.

Intel’s IoT technology is facilitating the evolution of the DOOH industry. In fact, Intel provides the bedrock infrastructure for about 70% of the world’s digital signage screens, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Digital Signage Tracker.

Computer vision and deep learning AI are helping turn what was once a world filled with millions of standalone screens into a data-rich source of connected and accountable devices. Enabling visually engaging solutions that target specific market segments promises to help brands grow by creating one-of-a-kind experiences for consumers.

Learn more about Intel’s digital signage solutions.

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Published on Categories Artificial intelligence, connected devices, Embedded, Internet of Things, RetailTags , , ,

About Maroun Ishac

Maroun Ishac is Director of Business Development in the Retail Solutions Division at Intel where he works closely with retail brands, media planning agencies and analytics providers to shape the future of new technology platforms that deliver richer, more engaging and more relevant customer experiences. Maroun has 25 years of experience in senior management positions at Intel. Maroun led Customer and Sales Development Worldwide for a number of start-ups at Intel including the Intel Personal Health Care and Consumer Electronics Groups, where he was responsible for developing and implementing OEM and sales development initiatives around the world. He has an extensive track record in designing and implementing new strategies and go-to-market models that deliver results and achieve revenue goals. In addition to his work at Intel, Maroun launched Cedrus Networks, a start-up focused on smart-grid mesh networks in the Middle East. Maroun is married with three children and enjoys farming and being a winemaker. He holds an MBA and Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from Northern Arizona University.

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