Big Canuck retail DOOH network turns on Bluetooth

December 20, 2010 by Dave Haynes

One of the larger pure-play digital out of home networks in Canada has done a deal to start offering proximity-based Bluetooth marketing aimed at c-stores shoppers.

Pinpoint Media Group has some 1,400 Couche-Tard and Macs convenience stores installed with screens around the store and at the point of sale, and has entered a new partnership with Toronto-based iSIGN Media Solutions.

Pinpoint has about 5,200 digital signs/faces in the stores, which see roughly 1.5 million customers each day. The Quebec-based c-store chain does about $8B in annual transations.

The partnership announcement suggests there is as much as $8 million out there to generate in promixity marketing ad revenues, as shoppers opt-in to have offers and promotions pushed to their phones.

The revenue amount is based on having all 5,200 engines embedded and activated to perform proximity messaging and various programmed data capture from consumer responses making the network advertising measurable and accountable, says Alex Romanov, iSIGN’s Chief Executive Officer. “In this case the fees will be paid by the brands or their agencies to extend their messaging reach to up to 45 million consumers a month. The iSIGN model is based on a set monthly fee of $100 to $160 per month depending on the App chosen regardless of messages sent and responses captured.”

Pinpoint President Enmanuel Rumbos says the existing hardware in the field will add a USB dongle while new hardware will ship with the Bluetooth stuff built-in. The network has been around for several years, already, and some of the gear in the field is getting old.

“In 2011 Pinpoint Media will be the largest digital signage footprint offering all brand and service advertisers our iSIGN powered interactive messaging to mobile phones in proximity of each location to increase consumer awareness and spontaneous purchases in the Mac’s/Couche-Tard chain,” adds Romanov in the press release. “This will increase sales and revenues for the stores, the advertisers and Pinpoint.”

“This will be a very unique ROI opportunity for our advertisers and will be instantly measurable as all signage is embedded and the IMS 3.0 software activated for advertisers,” said Enmanuel Rumbos, President of Pinpoint Media. “This is something that ad agencies and clients alike are constantly looking for in this emerging medium.”

“Advertisers on the Pinpoint signage network will be able to receive real-time feedback to each advertisement sent to shoppers’ phones from every sign in each location,” added Romanov. “Currently our IMS 3.0 software has demonstrated the ability to interact with 150,000 or more mobile devices per month from a single unit and we look forward to the volume of data we will capture in a chain with millions of customers monthly. Pinpoint’s advertisers will be the beneficiaries of large volumes of confirmed responses to each advertisement. This is a marketer’s dream.”

Opinions vary pretty wildly on the prospects for Bluetooth marketing. Proponents can rattle off a pile of reasons why marketers should get on board like cost, the opt-in dynamic and measurement. Detractors suggest smartphone apps are where it’s at, and wonder how many people make their phones discoverable via Bluetooth.

Romanov says “95% of new phones have Bluetooth and about 50% are usually enabled at all times. This can be increased with notices on signage to “enable your Bluetooth for Special offers NOW”. Unaided opt-in coupon acceptance starts at 5% to 7%, and grows steadily if campaign is maintained. We have stats as high as 50% acceptance with an average of 25%.”

“Regardless, any percentage immediately makes digital signage advertising measurable and accountable for the first time ever. We also have a set top box solution which allows us to broadcast from a TV STB making ads virtually measurable and distributing coupons and rich media synced with each ad.”

Brands and media planners are really the ones who’ll decide if a major deployment of Bluetooth marketing is a good move. Pinpoint, I understand, is making real money through its ad screens.

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