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Google & Yahoo Outdoor Kiosks and Advertising

ClickZ and Bill Slawski discuss Google patent filings related to local kioks and billboards (at malls). From the ClickZ article:

Google said the system would then generate an advertising campaign specifying where on the display devices the advertisement message will appear. “The output may consist of various forms, including video, audio, printed incentive, interactive data transfers and/or combinations of these,” the company said in the filing.

To put this in context, Outdoor advertising in the US is a roughly $6.2 billion dollar industry. This patent filing is part of a larger strategy to be a “one-stop” service or platform or agency (if you will) for all forms of on and offline advertising.

These electronic kiosk/billboards are a tremendous idea because:

  • They allow dynamic ad serving
  • Would tie together online and offline in a real-time way
  • Don’t require separate creative for the medium

I could write about 10,000 words on the use cases and possibilities. This is not “mobile” advertising but it combines the dynamic potential and location sensitivity of mobile with the richness and broad possibilities of the Internet.

Yahoo! about two years ago set up kiosks to demo Yahoo! Maps. Indeed, Kiosks are not a new idea and have been in existence for some time. But imagine the richness of the Internet experience in local malls (NearbyNow is trying to build this too) and elsewhere around town.

The location of the kiosk is definitively known so local ads (and offers) become viable in a way they aren’t online. Here’s a hypothetical use case:

I see a branded video ad on a mobile kiosk for apparel or appliances. I also learn where in the mall or local area I can buy the product and I’m invited to print a coupon to present at the store for a discount. You get the picture – so to speak.

There’s a search-based model when I can Interact with a kiosk or billboard (less likely) but also a huge “push”/branding opportunity for Google, where it has been trying to build relationships and inventory. (This was part of the motivation behind the YouTube acquisition.)

Yahoo! has a related, interesting user-generated content promotion going with ABC regarding its Times Square billboard in New York.

We’ll see if a “Google Outdoor” network gets built and what form it ultimately takes. But it will be a tremendous and potentially radical thing if it comes about.

Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.

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Google & Yahoo Outdoor Kiosks and Advertising

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