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It is impossible to ignore the revolution of personal technology. Everyone has been keeping up to date on monthly smartphone sales. In the case of the iPhone, people stand in line overnight waiting to be the first to have a new phone. There is no other major consumer product (let alone any product, really) that makes people act this way.

The reason why people love phones so much is much deeper than any sort of aesthetic attraction. It is primarily because people love having access to everything when they want it, which almost always right now. This trend is an enormous opportunity for digital out-of-home.

Much has already been written via the mobile gurus about the technical ways to integrate mobile into DOOH networks via hardware such as Bluetooth signallers or Wi-Fi access; or through digital tags, such as QR codes, and Shazam audio tagging. But there are much more immediate ways to engage your viewers' telephones and get them to plug in the information you want them to receive.

For example, people take photos of everything now. They photograph announcement boards, documents, plates of food (both whole and devoured) and sometimes even advertisements that capture their attention. The latter happens for two reasons: either because the information is extremely relevant and needs to be stored, or because there is a reward, such as sharing something cool with friends or entering a contest.

One idea is to capitalize on the phone's camera and the viewer's desire to photograph. Create photo contests on the DOOH network. Show an image with a timer, and say that whoever takes a photo of this image and sends it to us will be entered to win something (like whatever the photo is, a product from a partner for example). It's possible that if someone sees the message but misses the opportunity, they might wait through the loop to try it again, or even tell their friends about it.

Another element to consider is that often times when working with a smaller client, they may not have a mobile version of their website. It serves little value to have a regular Web address that is not optimized for mobile displayed across most types of DOOH, because the immediacy of the moment requires that a viewer access the information right away, or risk having it be lost completely. "Visit our mobile site" invites instant action, especially if there is something useful on the mobile site too.

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User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Gabriela Dow
    Great article - we are seeing some impressive, creative applications of place-based media via San Diego startup Locbit. Truly is where the future is headed, and with some of the suggestions you make in this article, the future is now!
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