Posted by Jon Salisbury Tech News

History of advertising, Outdoor advertising and interactive Smart City Kiosks


Digital Advertising History
Edited: June 18, 2018


The history of advertising and outdoor advertising

A solid definition of Advertising can be stated as an audio method or visual form of marketing (Wikipedia) communication type that employs a sponsored messages, which could be a message to promote or sell a product, service, concept or idea.  Sponsors of advertising are often organizations who are spending time, money and energy to promote their products or services. Advertising is much different than a public relations type engagement this is a paid form of communicating the message, idea, product specs, offer. Advertising is different than personal sales as the message is not spoken directly from the seller to the purchaser.   At the beginning of advertising Egyptians used papyrus to make sales messages and wall posters.     This was because in the Marketplaces the owner of the product would become too popular for 1 location and would decide to expand.  The best way to get his message to multiple locations was the create a written message that would properly represent his product, goods, and services to the consumer.   This was the beginning of advertising.   Today we have companies who specialize in the advertising space who know a lot about consumer behavior, profiles and the types of messages that will influence the market for your product.   The market for advertising is incredibly large in today’s global economy.  We know that in 2015, the entire planet spent close to 592.43 billion dollars on advertising.  Most of the advertising today takes place online but, in the physical world it uses the following methods.

  1. Billboard
    1. Static
      1. Printed on vinyl banners.  This can be a large format which you see on highways or smaller format that you may see in stores.  This problem with static billboards is that you do not get any solid analytics and it takes a human to remove and place the new banner once the outdoor advertising run has completed
    2. Digital
      1. With the introduction of digital communication billboards now have an electronic interface.  They can display multiple advertisements on the same billboard and can change the advertisement displayed once the outdoor advertisement run is complete without human interaction to put up a new vinyl print display.  This is much more convenient and even allows for video to play on the advertisement.
    3. Print
      1. Mail
        1. Mail advertising has matured much over the years.  In its first iteration mail advertisements were sent at bulk to addresses that were in a specific region.  Many advertisers did not know the exact people they were targeting the message was general and nonspecific.  Today the mail that you receive with an advertisement is personalized for you and normally offers value with something you will actually need.  This is done by hooking digital information systems into the marketing systems.   This feeds into outdoor advertising since most people are identified and understood meaning an outdoor display will be placed where the advertiser is trying to market.
      2. Event flyers
        1. Meeting people at events where potential consumers exist is tremendously important.  Printing flyers which are normally 3 to 20 inches in size and providing the consumer with a take away at no charge provides an in-person connection point between the seller of goods and the consumer.
      3. Posters
        1. The design of posters is part of History. The Poster was one of the earliest forms of advertisement and began to develop as a medium for visual communication in the early 19th century. The poster quickly spread around the world and became a staple of the graphic design trade.

History of Digital Advertising

 Smart City Transformation from online advertising

In 1994 the world was of advertising was transformed completely with the introduction of a banner ad which read “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? You will”.

Hotwired was the first to introduce this form of advertising and was used as a way to generate revenue to pay its writers.   The hotwire publication designed a plan to implement an online banner system for advertisements which mimicked what you find in newspapers or magazine.  This was considered revolutionary but I would say it was more evolutionary as the digital system invention itself was the revolutionary accomplishment.  One of the first banner advertisement contracts was AT&T purchasing a banner on Hotwire for three months for a grand total of $30,000.   This banner had a click-through rate of 44% which is grossly higher than what you would find today.  Today the click-through rate is roughly .06% showing the savviness of consumers has increased over time.

Targeted Display Ad:

In 1995, banner ads began to become used in higher frequency and advertisers wanted to become more targeted in their spend.   When demand appears normally, someone figures out a way to satisfy that demand. In this case a company called “Webconnect”, which was an Ad Agency that specialized in online ads, began helping to identify or profile sites that might be a fit for clients.  This enabled advertisers to find the audience through the noise of the growing internet.

Search Payment:

The competition was growing at an increasing pace and with competition comes innovation.   In the time between 1999 – 2002 most advertisers were turning to paid search and pay per click.  Pay per click can also be stated as pay per performance.  This is a great mechanism as you don’t have to pay unless someone clicks on the link/search result or banner you have placed.  Google's introduction of adwords in 2000 turned the market on its head.   So much junk was being displayed on a screen and pop-ups were becoming annoyingly popular that this simple interface became the go-to for search and paid search.  Googles unique quality score model helped tremendously by ensuring the ads displayed were the ones the consumer wanted to see by factoring click-through rates as well as the amount paid for an ad in its placement ranking.

Social Feed and video advertising:

In comes Facebook the social media giant and king of hyper-targeted advertisement.   Facebook knows a lot about its users and can help advertisers get in front of exactly the person they are looking for.  This is done by placing ads in the news feed of social media platform.   This began in 2007 – 2008 and the world was forever connected socially through the Facebook social media platform. Youtube and other video sites began around the same time and offered a tremendous value exchange for advertising “Killer Content”.   Just like TV with its commercials Youtube could provide you strong content and have you then watch and advertisement which fit with the video you were about to watch.  Youtube knows a lot about its audience and continues to grow in popularity and availability.  Youtube can be found on home tv sets today as well as on every smartphone.

Ad Blocking:

This is where we get into one of the biggest challenges the digital marketing world is and will be facing going forward.  With the pop-up appearance and quick demise, people found that they could avoid the pop-up ads with pop-up blockers.  This began the new companies which would feed the world of advertisement blocking online.   One advertisement blocking software on the market is  Ad Blocker Plus.  This software will block video ad’s Facebook ad’s, banners, and tracking information.  This technology could stop all users from seeing all ad’s.  This is a major threat to all companies that get the majority of the revenue from advertisements.  Facebook has recently announced a major spend to fight against this type of technology.

But this leads to a deeper question.  Are the advertisers still getting charged for the impression even though no one saw the ad?  Well, the answer is yes and no.  It really depends on the ad network delivery system for the website and the type of ad blocking software deployed.   So if the circumstances are right you pay for an AD which no one is seeing and that is just unfair.   This hopefully will work itself out over time but for right now it is definitely the wild west.


Today’s Outdoor Advertising Kiosks leading to intelligent smart city laboratories

Today we need to think of an advertisement as a value exchange.  We need to think of Ad’s as only applied if someone is offered something.  Ad’s need to be provided after a customer has been given something.  This is a normal case online with discounts and other promotions applied to the consumer as or before they even see the ad.  This is the future and is part of the outdoor advertising Strategy at my company SMARLINK.  In the past and even today, you will need to pay a toll to cross a bridge or ride on a nicer low traffic highway.   This tole is part of the fee to get access to the value you want.  That is a symbiotic relationship and not a one-way benefit that the old advertising models presented.  The smart city kiosk offers a way in which to create an ecosystem that inherently offers value to many which benefits the advertiser.

Multiple parties are set to get value from these new smart city kiosks.

Value to the Citizen:

  • Free FAST WIFI internet
  • USB charging for cellular devices
  • Tablet interfaces for secure internet browsing
  • Phone calls
  • Wayfinding
  • News / Widgets updated for citizens.
  • Weather monitoring and air quality applications with temperature sensors and pollution detectors (CO2, NO2, CO, O3)
  • 20 percent of gross profits from the advertising back to the city which indirectly benefits the citizen.

Value to the Advertisers:

  • Meet the citizen in the real world with a guarantee of no ad blocking.
  • Get measurable results from display ad’s, banner ad, and click-through rates.
  • Present in front of a targeted audience
    • Measure Demographics, Gender, and Age.
    • Measure Mood of your audience for split testing.
  • Get Social Data from WIFI social toll
  • Get tracked click data from landing pages on WIFI engagement and tablet homepage.
  • Last and most importantly track dwell time.  This means you will record the eye’s and how long they have looked at your AD along with mood.

Value to City:

  • The city gets advanced controllable wayfinding.
  • People Counting
  • Communication availability to citizens with smart widgets on kiosk
  • City gets community page
  • City gets community APP
  • The city gets revenue from KIOSK’s that can help it improve its digital offerings focused on smart city solutions.
  • The city gets access to data about citizens which help them track events, retail needs, and more.
  • Environmental tracking data
  • Can take cash earned to work on projects to increase competitiveness such as:
    • Smart Parking
    • Smart Lighting
    • Smart Grid
    • Waste Management
    • Safety
    • More all without tax dollars being required

Value to regional economic

  • Many cities work with third parties to try and attract companies to the region.  When companies are looking to make a move they will want qualitative and quantitative data.  With sensors for the environment, people counting, demographics and traffic availability on demand the third party can provide more informed data to its potential organizations looking at the prospective city.

Value to University:

  • Local universities can now encourage the study of the growing IOT space and the cities will provide the problems that need to be solved.  With university backing, new ways to analyze and shape this data will come to life encouraging increased economic activity.  With the amount of data being collected universities should find it a treasure trove for studies and program development to help solve the challenges of the future.

Smart City Kiosks are the foundation for this entire smart city process to occur and take advertising from a one-way value exchange to a one to many value exchange that impacts the local municipality, citizen, universities and on to counties, states, and eventually the entire country.

With these types of offerings, the citizen benefited by the new type of ad-based ecosystem which brings your brand into alignment with the citizens you are marketing towards.

To read the entire article or to find out more information on smart city Kiosks and outdoor advertising please visit Smartlink the Smart City Company

Smart City Nodes:

Smart Parking