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|Digital Technology Lets Ads Watch Viewers Watching Them
November 28, 2009 -Fani Barbopoulou
A monitor that sees its viewers stood out at the Web World Expo 2009 at Zappeio Exhibition Hall in late October.
The advanced form of digital signage includes viewer face recognition equipment, developed by NEC, which recognizes faces and can identify the gender, age and number of viewers gazing at an ad.
Depending on the audience that is watching, the displayed messages change in order to fit viewer interests.
“This way, a store can target very specific audiences and, at the same time, have the flexibility of ever-changing messages,” said Chris Loukopoulos, sales manager of Media Concept, one of the companies that distribute the who’s-watching-who software.
The fact that multiple messages can be combined in one medium makes it highly cost effective in the long run, since different audiences can be targeted through one medium, when they are closer to the purchase, Loukopoulos explained.
According to the Point of Purchase Advertising Institute, more than 70 percent of purchasing decisions take place in the store, and point-of-purchase advertising is becoming an increasingly important consideration for advertisers. Digital signage can replace traditional promotional stands or posters in retail stores and provide a more dynamic way of advertising.
This type of product marketing is not yet very popular in Greece. Multirama, an electronic goods retailer, is one of the few companies using interactive digital signage applications, though it doesn’t use it for face recognition. In other European countries, such as the UK, Germany and Spain, the technology is widely used in most market sectors. According to research conducted in 2007 by Jack Neff for the online magazine Advertising Age, the growth rate of investments in digital signage will be about 21 percent every year, until 2010.