Smart advertising, also alluded to as digital commercials, smart ads, or smart commercials, is a new way of advertising with the use of the latest digital technologies. Today, every company requires rapid growth through the promotion and advertisement of its products. Smart advertising is the way through which companies can reach their target audiences based on multiple attributes such as their interests, location, and age, thereby improving the level of engagement with their customers.
Smart advertising is still in its nascent stages, and new technologies and approaches are expected to mature in the next 5-10 years. Several players are still experimenting with their technologies and are expected to strengthen their position in the market by 2025, thereby increasing the level of competition. Top smart advertising companies globally are briefly discussed below, with an emphasis on their recent developments and acquisitions:
The U.S.-based Outfront Media, Inc. is a multinational outdoor smart advertising company that provides an integrated and targeted platform to help brands connect with their target audiences. The company holds a diverse portfolio of more than 42,000 billboards with its presence in Miami, New Jersey, Orlando, and Los Angeles, as well as over 450,000 public transit displays in cities like San Francisco, Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
Outfront Media, Inc. posted USD 1.6 billion in revenue in 2018, of which around 70% is generated by billboards and the rest 30% from transit franchises. The company’s largest revenue contributor is New York, which makes approximately 22% through its large transit business. Los Angeles has the largest number of billboards as well as substantial transit assets and is the second-largest revenue contributor.
JCDEcaux Group — a world leader in Out-of-Home (OOH) smart advertising — recorded USD 4.18 billion in revenue in FY2019, from USD 3.89 billion in FY2018, marking a marginal increase of 7.5%. The Group boasts over 1,074,113 advertising panels in more than 80 countries. The company is listed on the Eurolist of Euronext Paris and is a part of the Euronext 100 and Euronext Family Business indexes.
In 2018, the company launched Viewed Impressions for Out Of Home (VIOOH) —an automated planning and trading platform — to drive the growth of OOH and connect media sellers and buyers to the programmatic digital ecosystem. The platform provides independent automated trading, data management, exchange functionality, and content advertising. In October 2018, JCDecaux completed the acquisition of the OOH advertising company APN Outdoor to expand its presence in the Australian market.
CIVIQ Smartscapes is an industry leader when it comes to providing smart city communications structures and smart advertisement solutions. In 2017, the company announced that it would give exclusive hardware for communication devices for the LinkUK Initiative — replacing payphones with ‘Links’ that are engineered to benefit residents and visitors across the country. The ‘Links’ will offer free Wi-Fi, interactive communication solutions, and real-time information networks.
Captivate, LLC is an OOH smart advertising company, specializing in delivering content and advertising to businesses through wireless flat panel display technology. The company’s acquisition of The Wall Street Journal Office Network boosted the number of digital displays for Captivate from 10,000 to 12,000 in 2014. This acquisition helped the company to create a more seamless experience for media buyers interested in in-office display panels.
Intersection is a global leader in providing smart city technology, which is also an OOH smart advertising company. In June 2015, The Control Group Media Company and Titan merged to form Intersection. In December 2019, Intersection won a 5-year contract to sell static and digital advertising for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in the United States. Partners since 2017; they have already deployed hundreds of digital displays and urban panels across the U.S., making it one of the largest digital display networks in transit.
Exterion Media Limited is a global leader in OOH smart advertising that specializes in engaging valuable audiences for advertisers through a wide range of formats and environments like transport, billboards, and retail. The company has a strong presence in European countries like the U.K., France, Spain, Ireland, and the Netherlands. The company holds the Transport for London (TFL) advertising contract worth USD 1.4 billion for the London Underground and rail networks.
In June 2019, the company announced its partnership with Pulse Smart Hub and Euro Payphone to expand digital advertising screens networks across Belfast City, Ireland.
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. is a U.S.-based outdoor smart advertising company that specializes in making digital advertisements popular on the streets and at airports. The company maintains a portfolio consisting of approximately 450,000 print and digital screens in 31 countries across North America, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific.
In April 2009, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings announced its separation from iHeartMedia, Inc. to become an independent company, providing it with the mandate and stability to continue its investments in the transformation of OOH.
Lamar Advertising Company is a leading smart OOH advertising company that maintains a strong portfolio consisting of billboards, logos, and transit displays across Canada and the United States. In December 2018, the company acquired Fairway Outdoor Advertising’s billboard business for a staggering USD 418.5 million across to supplement its billboard operations. In August 2017, Lamar advertising brought all the assets of Steen Outdoor Advertising to expand its operations in Philadelphia and nearby areas.
IKE Smart City is an industry leader in providing OOH smart advertising to local and independent businesses, as well as non-profit organizations. The company specializes in two segments — Media and Technology — to deliver the best possible platform. The media business powers the company’s business model, whereas the technology business aims to continuously improve the platform and provide a seamless experience to customers.
Changing Environments, Inc is a scalable option for businesses’ smart advertising needs. It also provides smart city solutions through its novel technology. In 2017, the company raised USD 2.5 million seed round from local venture capital firms Accomplice, Pillar, and Underscore VC, to transform urban spaces, and is successfully putting a modern spin on city amenities.