Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings’ radar tracking technology, which allows advertisers to access anonymized mobile phone data about people walking past billboards, will launch in Europe next month, on Financial Times reported. The outdoor ad tracking program has been around in the US for four years, but Clear Channel has waited for its launch in Europe to be able to meet more stringent EU privacy regulations.
William Eccleshare, CEO of Clear Channel’s international division, told FT that Radar, which he pointed out relied on “very well anonymized” data, can see and track the movements of people in a store, track what they buy and watch viewing habits if anyone, for example, example, was going through an outdoor advertisement for a Netflix show.
When Clear Channel launched Radar in the United States in 2016, Vice President of Research and Information Andy Stevens admitted the New York Times that the process “seemed a little scary,” but he noted that billboards were just using already available data that mobile advertisers have been using for some time. And Stevens noted at Time this ad targeting (showing certain ads to certain people based on demographics or purchasing habits) is not a new concept.
The process doesn’t sound much less scary in corporate talk; Clear Channel describes the process, which “measures the travel habits and actual behaviors of consumers throughout their day, analyzing data on direction of travel, visibility of billboards and visits to specific destinations”, then maps this movement against Clear Channel’s outdoor advertising. . Advertisers can then decide whether they want to buy ads to “reach specific behavioral audience segments”.
Remember that scene from Minority report where Tom Cruise is on the run, but billboards know what he likes?
We’re not quite there yet; Radar activated billboards do not make a sales pitch directly to customers. And it seems like an odd time to try out a new market for billboards: Outdoor advertising has been hit hard during the pandemic, with advertisers cutting budgets and becoming less willing to run physical ads in urban areas including employees had not been in the offices for months. . Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings reported a net loss of $ 137.2 million for the second quarter, with revenue falling 55%.
But Clear Channel plans to launch Radar in the UK and Spain from next month and expand to Sweden in the coming months, according to the FT.