Pass a billboard while driving in the next few months, and there is a good chance the company that owns it will know you were there and what you did afterward.
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:16,17 (KJV)
In 2002, Tom Cruise starred in a movie called ‘Minority Report‘ which featured the state of Mark of the Beast style technology in the year 2054. Some of the most amazing scenes in the movie where the ones where ‘talking technology’ followed Tom Cruise’s character wherever he went. In 2016, Clear Channel Outdoor has just rolled out that technology on a global scale, and it works through the device nearly every has in their pockets and purses – your mobile device.
Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, which has tens of thousands of billboards across the United States, will announce on Monday that it has partnered with several companies, including AT&T, to track people’s travel patterns and behaviors through their mobile phones.
Clear Channel Outdoor Mobile Connect:
Clear Channel Outdoor launches ‘Connect,’ the first global out-of-home mobile interactive advertising platform. Platform will initially reach 175 million consumers monthly across 23 countries on 5 continents — creating the largest network of its kind. 75,000 sites worldwide will be equipped with NFC, QR code and/or SMS capabilities. San Francisco and Washington, D.C. are first U.S. markets to be launched, with more to follow.
By aggregating the trove of data from these companies, Clear Channel Outdoor hopes to provide advertisers with detailed information about the people who pass its billboards to help them plan more effective, targeted campaigns. With the data and analytics, Clear Channel Outdoor could determine the average age and gender of the people who are seeing a particular billboard in, say, Boston at a certain time and whether they subsequently visit a store.
“In aggregate, that data can then tell you information about what the average viewer of that billboard looks like,” said Andy Stevens, senior vice president for research and insights at Clear Channel Outdoor. “Obviously that’s very valuable to an advertiser.”
Clear Channel and its partners — AT&T Data Patterns, a unit of AT&T that collects location data from its subscribers; PlaceIQ, which uses location data collected from other apps to help determine consumer behavior; and Placed, which pays consumers for the right to track their movements and is able to link exposure to ads to in-store visits — all insist that they protect the privacy of consumers. All data is anonymous and aggregated, they say, meaning individual consumers cannot be identified.
Still, Mr. Stevens acknowledged that the company’s new offering “does sound a bit creepy.”
But, he added, the company was using the same data that mobile advertisers have been using for years, and showing certain ads to a specific group of consumers was not a new idea. “It’s easy to forget that we’re just tapping into an existing data ecosystem,” he said.
In many ways, billboards are still stuck in the old-media world, where companies tried to determine how many people saw billboards by counting the cars that drove by. But in recent years, billboard companies have made more of an effort to step into the digital age. Some billboards, for example, have been equipped with small cameras that collect information about the people walking by. Clear Channel Outdoor’s move is yet another attempt to modernize billboards and enable the kind of audience measurements that advertisers have come to expect.
Geomarketing: ‘Minority Report’ Style Advertising:
Privacy advocates, however, have long raised questions about mobile device tracking, particularly as companies have melded this location information with consumers’ online behavior to form detailed audience profiles. Opponents contend that people often do not realize their location and behavior are being tracked, even if they have agreed at some point to allow companies to monitor them. And while nearly all of these companies claim that the data they collect is anonymous and aggregated — and that consumers can opt out of tracking at any time — privacy advocates are skeptical. source