Blogs/  Artificial Intelligence in Out of Home

Artificial Intelligence in Out of Home

As technology changes, marketers and advertisers have an increased responsibility to adopt these changes. One trend in technology which has brought much change to the marketing landscape is artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial intelligence can be defined as “The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision making and translation between languages.” (Source: Oxford Dictionary).

Broadly speaking many refer to artificial intelligence as the “future of marketing”, but why is this?

The average human relies on artificial intelligence more than one might realise. Have you ever asked Siri what time it is in New York? What about selecting the Spotify run feature whereby it matches the tempo of your run to the beat of the music?  These are both examples of how AI is used regularly.

Artificial Intelligence is the technology behind all of the below systems:

  • Machine learning- deep learning or predictive analytics

  • Natural language processing- translation, classification & clustering, info. extraction

  • Speech- speech to text and text to speech

  • Vision- image recognition, machine vision

  • Expert systems and robotics

  • Planning, scheduling and optimization- Programmatic

As the consumers’ AI interaction increases in their day to day life, brands and advertisers alike are starting to use artificial intelligence to ignite a deeper connection with their consumer. Hotel chain Marriot will begin testing out Google Alexa in many of their hotel properties in hopes to increase personalisation and improved guest services. With an increase of 130% of voice activation use in 1-year (source: emarketer, April 2017), this seems like it will be a well-received change for both the company and the guests.  

How can AI and OOH align together?

As an OOH agency our mission is to connect with audiences on the move and to achieve this we encourage clients to use dynamic copy in DOOH. AI can take dynamic scheduling to the next level by letting machine-led technology determine the copy. Essentially there is no more guessing which copy will be most successful on street, as the creative relies on a genetic algorithm to compare the locations of DOOH signage and their hourly audiences. The benefits of this is that a brand is always serving copy that is most liked by an audience during the most relevant times of the day, in turn maximising return on investment.

Some artificially intelligent posters are already being used in the global market. M&C Saatchi rolled out the first AI OOH campaign on Oxford St in the UK. The objective of the campaign was to let the campaign write itself. Think survival of the fittest, in that the poster has DNA and the stronger strands are constantly paired together to create the “perfect” copy. There were several pre-written fonts, images, backgrounds created for a fake coffee brand Bahio and with facial recognition the poster used algorithms to detect how much a person likes an ad by facial expression, gender, age and updated itself accordingly in real time.

 Watch video here

AI can also identify other factors other than facial recognition that will determine the DOOH creative to be served. For example, Dentsu, Cloudian Inc. and QCT worked together to create the first ever smart data driven billboard in Japan. Traffic data was collected to determine what version of a creative the roadside billboard would show. The large billboard used a camera to take photos of the passing cars at which stage AI would identify the type of car/year/model approaching. AI then turned this data into insights and served a copy that was relevant to the type of audience most likely to be driving that car. For example, AI would serve a golfing ad to a luxury car yet for a family car the ad would change to something more suitable.

A similar billboard is the newest addition to Piccadilly Circus in London, the digital LED screen will be equipped with built in cameras and merges both examples mentioned above.  It will analyse the approaching vehicles make, model and colour as well as the facial recognition of the passing audiences to serve pre-programmed ads aimed to the target audience.

Read more here

In Ireland we’ve started to see the shift from normal OOH buying to more programmatic buying, Adshel Live in NI is now bought by impressions and audiences as opposed to by site.

Over time I’d imagine that more DOOH inventory will be bought this way and that artificial intelligence will be implemented, ultimately giving us humans a chance to be able to use big data purposefully where it might have otherwise been stagnant.

If you’re still curious about AI and how it works I invite you to head over to and try some AI experiments for yourself!