Advertising is all about getting attention. Often by any means necessary. Which portends for several different methods to approach getting the word out. Enterprising advertising agencies should be thinking that along with the stalwarts radio, television and now the behemoth that is the internet (digital) they should encourage their clients to look into place-based advertising as a nice way to use their budget to reach their prospective clientele. Especially as certain restrictions, brought on by the Covid pandemic have been relaxed or permanently rescinded, there will be more and more people outside – for some having the first proper summer outside in two years. As a result of the pandemic, many businesses have been disrupted, some irrevocably, while some – who have shifted their business online – have flourished. While there is no turning back with how people are now utilizing the internet for almost everything consumer related, there is certainly hope to capture the attention of consumers when they are out of their homes and especially when they are at certain locations. Place-based advertising, allows for targeting of high intent audiences. Visually sending across marketing messages to prospective buying audiences when they are within a certain geographic distance. Because it is targeting specific groups of people, a place-based advertising campaign should be extremely specialized and tailored based on the locations of the stores, foot traffic and automobile routes, weather, and of course, behavioral patterns of their local customers. 

History Of Digital Display

What is currently referred to as place-based advertising would not be possible without the ability of advertising agencies to make full use of digital displays. Actually the term digital signage was coined in 1992 in reference to a network of video walls in United Kingdom (UK) shopping centers. From then retailers and marketing companies began using flat panel displays, replacing the older cathode ray tube (CRT) television sets and monitors which were used to display advertising content. This new form of place-based advertising was a shock – albeit a pleasant one – to most consumers used to the typical paper posters and banners. As time went on light emitting diodes (LED), plasma, projection screens and organic LED (OLED) displays became normal fare and thus the image display improved to the delight of the advertising industry and the marketplace. Digital displays became more and more advanced delivering more dynamic content that was centrally controlled and easily updated by the advertisers. Place-based advertising digital displays were ready for further innovation to make these displays more than just an advertisement on a screen; therefore, a new advancement came along in the form of interactive display technology. Brands and organizations in all industries aspire to capture attention through more engaging, memorable and useful digital display solutions using place-based advertising. 

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In addition to the varying locations, place-based advertising can be placed such as gyms, fitness centers, healthcare facilities, hospitals, sports stadiums, shopping malls, airports, movie theaters, pharmacies, gas stations and bars. Modern place-based advertising can also catch the eye by the type of formats they appear in. There are responsive gif adverts – whose responsiveness to surrounding events reminds of the wizarding newspaper The Daily Prophet in the Harry Potter movie franchise. For example, if it was raining in a particular location, an advertiser using a bus shelter might want to show a scene from a rainy movie along with a funny joke about how the viewer of the gif could be warm and cozy watching a movie at home. There are also real-time digital billboards that use a billboard ad to pick up on popular patterns emerging from the runway collections, showing the styles and colors that would be popular in the upcoming season for a particular fashion retail store. 

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Technological Advancements Of Place-based Advertising 

There are a couple of place-based advertising options that require active data from the smartphones owned by the visitors to the advertising placement. One such model has companies using mobile location technologies to promote their new offerings to potential consumers near the physical location of their store. They used the relevant messaging tactics through proximity and conquest targeting – a tactic used to target competitors’ customers through search engine marketing (SEM), display ads, and paid social using keywords and data segments – to build awareness of locations. Another specific type of interactive place-based advertising sees billboards being used to redirect people to where the product, or where a service, is available. These billboards work by being attached to a network which collects and tabulates data on how busy each location is by counting the number of phones present in each place. When a venue becomes full, the posters are simply able to redirect people to the next best option to pick up the product or patronize the service. 

Most of this is made possible by beacon technology, for reference beacons are small, wireless transmitters that use low-energy Bluetooth technology to send signals to other smart devices – read billboards and other digital display signage – nearby. This technology is one of the latest developments in location technology and proximity marketing. Put simply, they connect and transmit information to smart devices making location-based searching and interaction easier and much more accurate. Advertisers could send messages related to discounts, loyalty programs, and competitions that they are running. The brands themselves can also push individual product discounts using in-store beacons within the network using place-based advertising to display these interactions. Place-based advertisements provide a natural opportunity for targeting because people in different geographical locations behave differently, or at least have their own unique tastes. Or on a more specific scale, whether someone is at a beach resort, whether they’re out shopping on a Saturday afternoon or out with friends on a Friday night, will determine what type of ad they would be more inclined to pay attention to when walking by or driving by an advertising display. Better advertising targeting means less time and money wasted on sending a message to people who literally couldn’t care less about it. 

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Which Companies Should Use Place-based Advertising? 

So the next question should be which companies would place-based advertising be most effective for. Companies with multiple physical storefronts, companies with physical storefronts that are using their website to sell directly to consumers and online businesses with a global audience would be the ones best placed to maximize what place-based advertising has to offer. In fact any targeted and personalized advert would help customers deepen the relationship they have with a brand. Which should be paramount for any advertiser, to speak directly to their audience. 

The future for place-based advertising contains three significant elements: regulation, a proliferation of new data sources, and attribution. The end goal is a uniform framework that both consumers and businesses should willingly embrace, and one that provides more transparency and control over data practices across the entire data ecosystem. Because place-based advertising is a powerful tool for any business that decides to try it to build awareness and trust with customers or increase conversions and revenue. Not only does it help to deliver personalized messages to potential customers, but it also helps countless brands to compete and create effective place-based advertising campaigns. And that is literally all that a business owner or advertising agency could ask for. 

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