Amscreen’s OptimEyes system offers brands a means to analyse the faces of people viewing their advertising displays in order to assess how much attention they are paying to the ad and the potential impact of the brand’s commercial publicity.
Physical advertising – posters, pictures, magazine ads – is an integral, perhaps central part of marketing communications, but it is one of the most difficult areas of publicity to get a handle on. Although brands can target specific places, city neighbourhoods and types of publications in which to place the advertising, it is still extremely difficult to measure the impact of a given campaign. This uncertainty is even more marked in shops and large retail outlets, where high footfall rates mean that sales investigators find it difficult to make a quantitative and/or qualitative analysis. Now Europe-wide digital media provider Amscreen has come up with its OptimEyes facial detection software, designed to give brands a more accurate picture of the return on investment of their physical communication.
Amscreen has close to 6,000 advertising screens installed in large retail chains and other commercial outlets throughout the UK. It is now offering a way to obtain visual feedback on the way target audiences react to the various campaigns. Amscreen will embed a camera in each of its screens to detect and categorise potential customers. The OptimEyes system OptimEyes system, which was developed in partnership with the Paris-based audience measurement company Quividi, is able to provide quantitative feedback – putting a figure on how many people have viewed the ad, compared with the total number of people who could have stopped in front of it – and qualitative data on age, sex or place viewed, to help firms target their advertising more efficiently. Company marketing departments or advertising agencies will be able to follow in real time the effect of their campaigns on the general public. This will help target publicity more efficiently and enable greater flexibility – responding rapidly and tailoring advertising to the customer. In the UK around 450 stores belonging to British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer Tesco are expected to be using these screens in the near future.
This system of face detection technology coupled with standardised digital communication materials inside stores and in public places could well prove to be very popular with sales and marketing departments. In addition to providing sales intelligence to management, this kind of system could also drive development of more interactive approaches to advertising. For instance, if a potential customer stops to looks at the advertising screen, the system could be programmed to change the display in line with the person’s gender, age, or specific sociological or economic features. However, this type of potential personalised marketing campaign is not without its problems. If a camera records this type of information and relays it to the campaign managers, this might well constitute an infringement of data privacy and/or image rights and end up damaging the image of the brand in question. However, it is undeniable that this type of system, if it can be linked to the purchase record of specific customers or customer groups, could turn out to be extremely beneficial for optimising advertising campaigns.