Manchester Council launches real-time interactive OOH network

Google, O2 and Vodafone are the first brands to advertise on a new Manchester City Council-backed ad platform that lets advertisers target specific outdoor audiences by location and trade outdoor media in real-time. 

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The three brand campaigns are poised to go live on 4 November, and are set to run over the course of next month. They also mark the launch of CityLive – an outdoor advertising joint venture between Manchester City Council and MediaCo Outdoor.

The new ad units, located across 20 “high footfall” sites throughout Greater Manchester, can feature live news feeds and contain various interactive technologies, including facial recognition, NFC, touchscreen, and WiFi.

MediaCo claims CityLive lets outdoor advertisers target specific audience types – as opposed to just locations – through its proprietary planning tool that uses third-party data to better assess the passing footfall, such as the catchment area of the location.

Richard Blackburn, commercial director of MediCo Outdoor also says the new system means advertisers can both track and update campaigns in real-time, meaning advertisers can up the volume (in terms of impressions), or change the creative of their campaigns.

Advertisers can also tailor their campaign costs by submitting the maximum amount of money they are prepared to pay for an impression, similar to how media is traded in a Google AdWord auction, or online ad exchange.

The announcement of CityLive comes the same week as Amscreen, the Lord Sugar-backed out of home media network, announced a tie-up with Tesco to roll-out its interactive advertising screens in the retailer’s 450 petrol stations across the UK.

Amscreen’s network of interactive screens is able to assess basic demographic data of passing audiences, such as gender, age and volume, via its OptimEyes system, and the deal with Tesco marks its first nationwide roll-out.

Both launches reflect moves within the wider outdoor advertising industry to use digital technology to better contextualise how brands can communicate with audiences while on the move, plus improve the accountability of their outdoor advertising budgets.  

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