APN Outdoor and Ngage increase the options with next round of Auckland digital billboards

Five huge interactive digital billboards will reign in Auckland’s CBD by the end of July, bringing a little bit more of Times Square to little old New Zealand.

The existing single digital billboard in Queen St will soon link up with a network of four others that will be installed in Newmarket, Newton, Eden Terrace and Grafton. The network will run Aerva, second generation software that allows the audience to interact with billboards through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, RSS feeds, pic-to-screen, or text-to-screen (the first generation technology involves simply pushing an ad out to a screen). 

“For us, the platform offers us leading edge technology,” says Phil Clemas, APN Outdoor general manager. “There were two key drawcards: APN Outdoor was very focused on leading innovation in the market. Secondly, the technology allows us to provide options to advertisers when using the digital billboard.”

He says these options include the ability to change out content according to parts of day and the local market. One advertiser’s message could be customised for different parts of a city, and viewers in each location can interact with the brand though social media platforms.

“We can provide anything from really basic activity through to the sophisticated,” he says. “We can also deliver the content quickly, which is a big advantage of digital. Ten minutes after receiving an ad we can have it uploaded from here.” 

APN Outdoor already has digital screens in Christchurch Airport that are in the process of being brought online with the Aerva software, and it plans to set up digital billboards inside and outside the Auckland domestic and international airports towards the end of the year.

This week it set up a web portal Pulse, to get agencies and advertisers inspired to use the new digital billboards. It shows examples of interactive campaigns drawn from around the world, and case studies will be added over time to “continually inspire advertisers to make use of the various attributes of the billboards”.

“It is an education process, we need to go out to advertisers and their agencies and we need to educate them about the capabilities of the technology. We don’t want them to use just basic digital ads. There are so many more features available, and most of them are not hard to pull off.” 

In New Zealand and Australia, Aerva technology is exclusively licensed to Ngage, which sits inside Image Centre Group.

“Digital-out-of-home is the fastest growing medium after mobile,” says Ngage director Alan Nicholas (it’s currently growing at 23 percent per annum, and it’s currently a $15 billion industry). 

“Digital signage, mobile and WiFi combined will be the key ways advertisers communicate to the market. The future of billboards will involve billboards feeding you personalised information. Billboards will make decisions on what to display according to who is looking at it. And it will know who you are because the mobile in your pocket will tell it.”

He says the US market is fast-paced, and there’s change in that market. 

“Every 48 hours there’s a new update or product and we get to be on the edge of that change and bring it to New Zealand through Aerva. Marketers want flexibility, speed, change, instead of putting a regular billboard up for a whole month.”

Image Centre Group executive director Craig Polley says all Aerva’s widgets make it quite unique among other digital signage in the market.

“The key selling benefit of Aerva for APN Outdoor is this integrated campaign ability, rather than just selling space on a screen. The technology also enables them to measure response rate of an audience to get an idea of the campaign’s effectiveness – and that’s the big reason why we went for the license of Aerva in New Zealand and Australia,” says Polley.

Advertising slots are already sold out for the launch. 

  • StopPress is part of the Image Centre Group

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