Digital Outdoor – The XML feed that time forgot

A little known fact; digital outdoor screens, at least on the London Underground system, are connected to the internet and their ads can be updated by XML feeds. Back in 2007 this capability was enabled and it is still live today, so what sort of opportunity does this present to marketers and media agency planners?

Being able to feed data into screens is relevent so long as other data considerations are taken into account:

1) Current affairs

The XML enabled digital outdoor screen is a link to a world above the underground. Here out of the sunlight, any new information which would appeal to the masses can be used to inform creative optimization. An example might be the score of a major tennis final going on at Wimbledon (watch out for the spoiler complaints) or even something as simple as the current weather above ground. As with any piece of dynamic creative, the XML feed can trigger a creative event such as a video or the display of a new image, price point on line of written content. new bulletins mean that the Advertiser becomes the commuters lifeline to the surface in that single moment that their device has no internet connection to check the news.

2) Time of Day, Day of week

An XML feed can be used to check the exact time and pass that information into the creative. Where media is bought through the outdoor screen system in bulk with no set time in mind, the fact that it is lunchtime for many commuters can mean tailored creative messages that will appeal to states of mind such as hunger just as the XML feed of temperature could dictate thirst.

3) Shifting Commuter audience

Outdoor advertisers such as Viacom have long know that at different times of the day or in different locations, the demographic will sway in favor of a particular audience. Therefore the display boards shown to the masses are really catered for the majority audience passing by. Digital outdoor gives the marketer the chance to customize the message using XML to check the time to know when commuters are heading to work or heading home. Relevant messaging means noticing these ads over the noise of other ads on the tube.


To learn more about Dynamic Creative and Dynamic Creative optimization, read my book: Ad Serving Technology – Understand the Marketing revelation that commercialized the Internet – available now from Amazon:

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