IDG Capital Partners has invested in 18 Chinese e-commerce startups this year.
The same ads can appear on web sites, elevators and gas pumps.
A new buzz term in digital ads is “customer journey”—or showing consistent content to targeted consumers throughout the day as they move from viewing web sites on computers to viewing screens of all shapes and sizes: on smartphones, gym treadmills and gasoline pumps, and in taxi cabs, elevators and convenience stores, to name a few.
Now advertising network companies like Spafax Networks are working with Intel Corp. to deliver digital advertising content from retailers and other consumer-focused advertisers to all those screens, says Patrick Bonomo, chief operating officer of Spafax, an advertising distribution network of WPP, the multibillion-dollar advertising and marketing services conglomerate.
Spafax, which launched last year, is working with advertisers, including retailers in consumer electronics and over-the-counter drug store products, to distribute digital ads over dozens of broadband networks covering digital screens in venues ranging from office building elevators to taxi cabs to gym treadmills, Bonomo says. “It allows us to offer advertisers the complete customer journey, say from a taxi to a gym, a café and a convenience store,” he says. He declines to name the client retailers.
The biggest challenge, he adds, has been working with the widely varying technology of digital signage networks. Oftentimes it’s too difficult to distribute an ad campaign across networks covering convenience stores, for example, as well as across networked elevator screens and taxi cabs because of the different screen sizes and technical specifications of each network. “So I might have to skip the convenience stores from the advertising plan,” Bonomo says.
But a new technology system from Intel is beginning to change that, he adds. In recent months Spafax has been beta testing Intel’s new Retail Client Manager, a content management system designed with an administrative interface that lets marketers quickly develop ad campaigns to run with consistent content across multiple networks, screen sizes and technology formats, including HD video, Flash, static images and other web content. “We are working closely with Intel to integrate the Intel Retail Client Manager into our [ad network] buying platform to offer advertisers an efficient method of reaching on-the-go audiences,” he says.
Intel formally introduced the Retail Client Manager system this week. During the beta program, Intel has expanded the number of digital signage venues Spafax Networks can use,
Bonomo says. He declines to be more specific.
Intel also makes available with the Retail Client Manager system its Intel Audience Impression Metrics Suite, or AIM Suite, which uses digital cameras on digital advertising signs to anonymously record the number of ad viewers along with their gender, age group and the length of time they viewed an ad. The AIM Suite is designed to let marketers analyze how consumers of different types interact with their ads, Intel says.
Intel makes its Retail Client Manager technology available through system integrators including Avnet Embedded and Seneca Data Distributors Inc. Intel’s suggested pricing to marketers is $16.95 per month per media player, which typically covers two digital signs, according to Jose Avalos, director of retail and digital signage for Intel.