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Are biometrics the next frontier for advertising?


By Justin Pearse | Managing Director, The Drum Works

July 2, 2015 | 3 min read

Wearables and biometrics are the most exciting new areas for brands in digital advertising, according to BlisMedia CEO Greg Isbister.

The growth and consumer uptake of such technologies are set to provide the next wave of data points marketers can harness to deliver relevant advertising experiences.

“There will be more and more biometric sensors such as heart rate and blood pressure in use by consumers with ever more developed. It's going to be very interesting to see how the data from these becomes available to advertisers," said Isbister.

One such example could be measuring the impact of out of home ads. For instance, measuring the effect on the heart rate of a consumer interacting with an immersive virtual reality ad.

The use of biometrics to target advertising could though potentially increase the focus on privacy issues.

“It’ll be crucial, more than it already is, for the industry to ensure consumers are aware of their data use and understand the value exchanged in their data being used,” said Isbister.

Isbister caught up with The Drum at last week’s Cannes Lions festival, where he was meeting brands and agencies to drive further understanding of the potential of location-aware advertising. Despite the huge technological advances in the ability to segment audiences based on location data, the industry still faces challenges in adoption.

“According to Emarketer, only 11 per cent of brands are using location,” he said. “Brands like Unilever were early adopters and are now very sophisticated. It’s up to the industry to continue to educate on how the technology works and, crucially, use branding metrics to validate it.”

BlisMedia is currently investing heavily in developing the range of data points that can be used in mobile advertising. It believes altitude could be the next valuable data point for advertisers, having recently launched a trial of technology that uses barometric sensors in smartphones to target people depending on their altitude.

“In New York or Singapore, for instance, advertisers will be able to send different messages to people on the ground floor, likely to be in the shopping mall, to office workers on upper floors," said Isbister.

The technology is due to come out of testing for commercial launch early next year.


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