Monday 10 August 2020 2:37 pm

Clear Channel to track mobile data for advertising billboards

Outdoor advertising giant Clear Channel today announced the launch of a new platform that will use mobile data technology to track the behaviour of people who walk past its billboards.

The company’s Radar platform uses anonymised mobile data to give advertisers better insights into consumer behaviour around its portfolio of billboards, bus shelters and street furniture.

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The technology will help brands decide where to place their ads, as well as provide insights into whether consumers who see their campaigns go on to buy their products.

Clear Channel will roll out Radar in the UK and Spain in September, followed by Sweden in the coming months.

Justin Cochrane, chief executive of Clear Channel Europe, told City A.M. the platform was aimed at providing “more granular data” about where people go at different times of the day.

He added that this was particularly relevant amid shifting behaviour during the coronavirus crisis, with crowds moving away from city centres and towards places such as parks and beaches.

The technology, which complies with EU data laws, could also be used to help brands adapt quickly to local lockdowns such as those rolled out in Leicester and Preston.

The launch comes at a torrid time for the outdoor advertising sector, which has suffered a collapse in revenue as brands scrapped campaigns and footfall plummeted during the lockdown.

Clear Channel last week reported a second-quarter loss of $143m (£110m), compared to a loss of $11.4m in the same period last year, as overall revenue plunged 55 per cent.

But the group will be hoping the more targeted service offered by its new technology will attract brands as lockdown restrictions are eased and ad spend begins to recover.

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Clear Channel’s Radar platform is the latest example of outdoor advertising firms incorporating digital technology in traditional billboards.

London-based Ocean Outdoor, which operates sites including Piccadilly Lights, has developed facial detection technology that enables passers-by to be targeted according to features including gender, age, facial hair, eyewear and mood.