Who would have guessed that George Orwell would foretell the future so accurately? The IoT (Internet of Things) is expanding at a rapid clip, so it was only a matter of time before marketers learned how to take advantage of the data to reach consumers with targeted messages. That’s why an article in today’s New York Times caught our eye.

Marketers with Clear Channel Outdoor America are currently trial-testing billboards across the country that can actually “see” the people who are moving past them, allowing for data capture on a scale most advertisers only dream of.

“By aggregating the trove of data from these companies, Clear Channel Outdoor hopes to provide advertisers with detailed information about the people who pass its billboards to help them plan more effective, targeted campaigns. With the data and analytics, Clear Channel Outdoor could determine the average age and gender of the people who are seeing a particular billboard in, say, Boston at a certain time and whether they subsequently visit a store.”

So what’s our take?

Well, for one thing, we understand that the smart phone is the driving force in allowing devices to share data. Data has become the new currency for marketers. Although there are privacy concerns, research tells us the consumers welcome and expect relevant and targeted advertising for products and services that they have interest in receiving.

Billboards are utilizing the technology and the data to make the old new again. The technology will not only allow for more targeting ads for customers based upon locations and demographics, but will give an opportunity for tracking advertiser results. The ability to track results helps billboard compete with traditional digital advertising by allow it to report ROI for ad spend.

Not being able to directly track the effectiveness of traditional advertising such as billboards has made it harder for those mediums to compete with the sexiness of trackable digital ads. This technology could possible revitalize the old to make is shiny and more attractive.

I guess you could say that billboards are getting a face lift.