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Personalized Shopping Experiences: Billboards Recommend Products Based on Passerby Profiles

MARKETINGPersonalized Shopping Experiences: Billboards Recommend Products Based on Passerby Profiles

Outdoor advertising mediums such as billboards and city lights are increasingly making use of artificial intelligence. The goal is to revolutionize the way brands connect with audiences. A specific category of cars enters a parking lot? Customers receive personalized advertisements. It’s unsurprising then that this advertising segment is growing month by month. Moreover, the effect of billboards has been noticeable in video games.

In the pre-holiday hustle and bustle, we can overlook many things. Commercials on television and radio, barely anyone still looks into traditional press anymore. Therefore, marketers are constantly searching for new ways to reach their audience. Fresh, yet actually refreshed, old methods. That’s why before we even enter shops, we see billboards or other types of outdoor advertising which we simply cannot miss, a glance is all it takes to familiarize ourselves with their content.

Traditional billboards are still the foundation of this sector. According to the latest report published by the Chamber of Commerce for Outdoor Advertising, in the third quarter of 2023, the value of this market exceeded PLN 170 million. In the same period last year, the sector reported an income decreased by 25%. This shows impressive growth even when compared to the first quarter of this year. The outdoor advertising industry (OOH) then was valued at 115 million, but in the second, it has already reached the current threshold where it exceeded the value of PLN 160 million. According to the Chamber’s data, retail occupied the most space on outdoor mediums (18%), followed by social and political campaigns (14%), and telecommunications advertisements (13%).

“The growth was definitely spurred on by politicians who traditionally opted for this form of communication with voters,” says Katarzyna Kociubińska, a New Business Manager at, which offers comprehensive advertising campaign support.

She further adds that billboards are increasingly using technological achievements. It’s not just an interesting form or slogan that can go viral online. This is also an efficient way of delivering more information with the help of QR codes or NFC tags. Billboards themselves are also “learning” about their own audience.

AI enters our thoughts, billboards visualize them

Examples of “intelligent” advertisements on city streets are more frequent. An Australian company, Outdoor Media, is taking the lead in placing billboards near shopping centers.

According to Carlos Reyna, Chief Operating Officer of AOM, the new face of outdoor advertising will have a significant impact on the whole retail industry. “Smart billboards can revolutionize the way brands connect with shoppers in shopping centers, marking a new era in the industry,” he says.

How does this work? Marketers can now use artificial intelligence tools to utilize recipient data and context-based insights from real-world interactions to ensure that ads reach the right audience at the right time. Measuring the effectiveness of campaigns will be much easier as well.

What happens in practice? Outdoor ads created by AOM observe, learn, and adapt. The integrated AI technology turns billboards into information centers. They gather anonymous but valuable data about the billboard’s surrounding environment, including traffic intensity, dwell time at certain hours of the day, recognize patterns, analyze the impact of events, environmental conditions, and vehicle type.

“This data allows brands to strategically place intelligent billboards in high-impact areas for advertising purposes, increasing content effectiveness. Through this knowledge, companies can secure the best locations, ensuring that their message hits the target”, comments Oskar Kolmasiak, an expert from

Here’s how it works: if a parking lot fills up with a certain type of car, like family SUVs, digital advertising boards can adjust their displayed content quickly. They can also detect a large number of people within a certain age range. But it’s not just about selling. The ultimate goal is to create an experience that resonates well with consumers.

“These intelligent billboards aren’t pushy. Instead, they enhance the shopping experience. They function like dynamic focus groups, intelligently selecting content based on real-time observations. They help create content that caters to a diverse audience’s preferences,” assesses Kolmasiak from

Similar practices are not unique to Australia. Intelligent advertisements have been used in Great Britain, where a system scanning license plates has been put into use. After the system’s cameras spot a driver of a particular type of vehicle, a nearby advertisement dynamically changes its message. A family car driver sees something different from the driver of a sports car. Virgin Trains, a British railway operator, used real-time traffic data to show drivers how much faster their travel might be by train. The ad doesn’t show when city traffic is flowing smoothly. Hot weather? Billboards may display information about cooling drinks, and if the weather is unfavorable, they may remind passerby about a café worth visiting nearby.

A billboard in a game? It should be subtle

The outdoor advertising market is growing not only in Poland. The size of the global digital outdoor advertising market reached nearly $17 billion in 2022. IMARC analytical group expects by 2028, this market will reach about $36 billion, translating into an annual growth of around 12%.

Interestingly, we, as consumers, are beginning to see billboards not only in outdoor spaces but also in the virtual world. Revenue from these probably falls under the “digital advertising” category. However, they effectively utilize the medium in video games.

Modern games use various types of technology. Gamers may use a PC, console, and even augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) goggles. They can also play on a mobile phone or tablet. Therefore, ads in games can be displayed through consoles, videos, mobile devices, desktop computers, and so on.

Ads in games, of course, need to be contextually linked and tailored to the game environment. Many games take place in cityscapes, rendering virtual billboards perfect for showcasing ads.

What are the differences from traditional advertising? Developers must ensure the right contrast and remember that too many details will not work in this case. The most important elements are logo and product exposure.

“Games are much more dynamic than our everyday lives. The player’s attention focuses on the task, so it’s actually the opposite of ‘real life.’ Billboards or other outdoor ads gain significance when we travel by public transport, wait in traffic, or simply walk around. In these rather passive situations, there is a high chance of attracting customer’s attention. In video games, the goal is for the player to notice the ad, but it should not disrupt the immersion of the game, because a moment of distraction can cause defeat and irritation. We don’t want our ad to cause this,” emphasizes Katarzyna Kociubińska from

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