Start-up Smartify Switches Up Place-Based Ad Model With Two-Sided Displays In Windows

September 27, 2021 by Dave Haynes

A start-up called Smartify Media is taking an age-old, largely unproven place-based ad formula for retail and trying it out in what may be a more opportune location – store and services businesses windows.

Smartify says it works directly with retailers, commercial landlords, and manufacturers “to assess the media value of physical space and implement a customized, fully integrated digital signage and content network that extracts maximum value from the property. The company’s digital solutions can also enhance the attractiveness of vacancies, monetizing the space and making it more appealing to potential new tenants.”

The company has installs going in New York, LA, Tampa and Boston, in locations like shops, gyms, restaurants, spas and vacant spaces.

“In many cases, retailers and property owners do not recognize the potential media value inherent in their locations, particularly street-level locations in major cities like New York and Los Angeles,” suggests Joe Kunigonis, CEO, Smartify Media. “After assessing the value of real estate, we implement an end-to-end solution that ultimately digitizes, modernizes, and beautifies the location, using both the storefront and interior spaces, with the option of generating revenue from advertising.”

The company puts in two-sided displays that run custom content for in-store shopping audiences, and booked advertising on the street-facing side, fed from programmatic ad platforms. Smartify designs, builds, monetizes, and manages private-labeled digital display networks for retail and real estate companies, and partners with Samsung for infrastructure (those two-sided displays) and network management (presumably MagicINFO).

This is interesting. Industry vets know putting screens in stores at the mediaco/network operator expense and hoping to make money back through ad sales goes back 20-plus years, to the days of the original Walmart in-store screens (TVs from ceilings) and the Next Generation Network (NGN). Countless others have done the build-it-and-hope-the-advertising-comes thing, and most have failed (the main exception being in health care environments).

But this is a bit different.

By using double-sided screens (with the Samsung ones, the outdoor-facing side is a high nits unit), this means the venue operator gets a marketing vehicle facing into the store or salon at zero cost, and maybe with an ad revenue share), while Smartify gets the high traffic/high indexing audience walking on by.

The programmatic ad thing would make me a little nervous if that’s the ONLY ad channel. The straight-talking programmatic guys tend to say they can sell a chunk of the time, but advocate networks having direct sales, as well.

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