Out-of-home advertising has been given a 21st century update over the last few years and one of the latest updates comes from the ride-sharing service, Lyft, in the form of digital rooftop screens, known as Halos. They are essentially the digital version of the NYC yellow cab roof-mounted billboards that you’ve likely seen in the background of too many movies to list.
What makes these screens so interesting is that they don’t just change based on the advertiser but based on time and vehicle location. The ads can change from neighborhood to neighborhood and even street to street because of the hyper-specific targeting capabilities. Specifically, “brands can reach mass audiences at the specific times and places most relevant to their business, and track the performance of their campaigns through our attribution partners.” Lyft hasn’t just introduced rooftop billboards. Inside the vehicle, tablets display dynamic brand content to riders.
While this is one of the newest iterations of personalized digital out-of-home advertising, it isn’t the first. Back in 2016, GMC created 30 possible ads for the same vehicle, all programmed into single digital, interactive billboards. The ad shown to a consumer standing in front of the machine would change based on metrics like gender, age, even facial expression. If the machine recognized a parent with kids, it would display an ad with a family in it, for example.
Out-of-home advertising has always been a solid option for advertisers looking to reach a large number of people, but the disadvantage has always been that they are more suited to brands with products or services that appeal to a wider population. However, as dynamic, digital out-of-home ads become more common, brands can get hyper-specific in their targeting.
Although Lyft Halos are only available in a few cities in the United States, this type of technology will surely become more widespread in years to come. Public transit has historically been a source for moving out-of-home advertising, and it is likely that as this tech becomes more accessible, we will see it being implemented on public transit vehicles like buses and subways, increasing reach even further.
Lyft Halos represent a promising opportunity for many brands because unlike many digital out-of-home ads, they’re always moving, and brands can reach a vast number of consumers from many different demographics. One car can display numerous ads, catered to the consumers who live in a particular neighborhood or on a particular street. Even those who will be on a particular street at a particular time, like morning commuters, can be targeted with hyper-relevant, dynamic ads.
Brands selling niche products or services that have historically veered away from out-of-home advertising for fear of being unable to reach specific consumers, will want to reconsider.