Google has become known for their prominence in the ad industry, and for good reason. The majority of the Internet giant's revenue ends up coming from ads, and for a lot of businesses all over the world, Google can help put them on the map. Now, Google is trying something a little different, bringing some of what they've learnt about ads from the web to the 'real world'. Google is testing automated and programmatic ad displays on digital billboards in London, and have partnered with some of the biggest names in the UK to do it.
The Search Giant has partnered with JCDecaux, Ocean Outdoor, and Outdoor Plus to bring programmatic ad buying and automated timing to billboards. Google's trial has already started, and will run until November, where they will then evaluate their results and see whether or not DoubleClick can make it outside of the Internet. DoubleClick is an automated algorithm that Google uses to determine when and how is best to display a certain ad. It consults all sorts of different data, such as the weather, what time of day it is and so on to deliver a best guess of what type of audience would see an ad if it were displayed at that moment. Google is looking to bring this outside of the Internet into the real world, offering advertisers a way of ensuring that their ads are best seen at the right time, and it would also take away the hassle of forward-planning and having to purchase each individual ad on its own.
This is a big move for the billboard industry, as well as Google. For the former it represents a chance to smarten up a particularly dumb form of advertizing that hasn't changed for hundreds of years and for Google it represents more revenue from an existing and established part of their portfolio. Whether or not companies like JCDecaux will stick with Google and their automated ads remains to be seen, but this is a big shift in a market dominated by "pot luck" advertizing and this is one area where Google could make a name for themselves.