An Adtech-Startup that transformed traditional billboards to digital screens with its state-of-art technology…
They are an integral part of our cityscape – on our way to work, when we are shopping, or just out for a stroll. We can’t miss the hoardings, from traditional billboards to flashy digital ones. Though they grab our eyeballs, how many of these do we actually find relevant? Probably, very few.
One startup is trying to address this gap, by using technology to make the messaging more effective and efficient for companies and relevant for audiences in a first-of-its-kind digital avenue for India.
Short for Advertising on smart digital screens at outdoor & indoor venues, SmartAdScreens was started in 2020 by Giri Sivala and Vijay Kattragadda. The duo is joined by Shiva Vakalapudi,Vara Prasad Vakalapudi, and Savith Desiraju , a passionate hardcore engineers as the additional directors.
Giri Sivala, who is the Co-Founder, says, “Online digital advertising has grown leaps and bounds in the last two decades. But, just look at outdoor advertising. Age-old hoardings and billboards are still used at a time when people are discussing Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Technology and Virtual Reality. We believe there is a lot of scope for tech intervention here, which is largely unexplored.”
The Hyderabad based startup provides intelligent outdoor advertising solutions by mounting digital screens at supermarkets and outdoor public utilities. Using a combination of hardware and patented software, the ads can be controlled by location, time, and multiple other factors, enabling SmartAdScreens to play contextual and relevant ads for their clients.
SmartAdScreens is not like other existing DOOH solutions. The difference is the integration of technology in outdoor advertising i.e Programmatic DOOH and when we say technology, it’s not limited to using high quality LED displays, but a combination of AdPlay control systems with CloudTech, hyperlocal intelligence systems, analytics and rich dashboards. By integrating these technologies, we enable real-time communication and data gathering, which is pivotal to making outdoor advertising contextual, relevant, and effective.
After starting up in January 2020, it took three months for the team to work on development of pDOOH software. They did their first on-field test with two screens at supermarkets in April 2020. After improving the solution, SmartAdscreens did an initial launch with 10 smart digital screens in Hyderabad’s various supermarkets, and increased to 25 smart digital screens by mid-2021. Giri Sivala says, “While we made significant progress on this front, there's still a lot of road to cover.” SmartAdScreens is aiming to hit 100 large size smart digital screens by end of 2022. They also want to begin engagement with pDOOH fixed screens, and expand to other cities in the next two years.
Giri Sivala leads strategy, operations and marketing at SmartAdScreens. He says, “With over 10 clients now, our revenue generation has been an upward curve. More clients are realising how an innovative medium like SmartAdScreens can make a difference in their brand promotion campaigns.” SmartAdScreens already has big names in their clientele – Tenali Double horse, South India, AHA,Big Boss and Zee Telugu, among others. The other Co-Founder Vijay Kattragadda, says, “For the last two quarters we have seen fast-paced growth. Our month-on-month revenue growth has been around 10 percent.”
Giri Sivala understands that providing flexibility in pricing is not just a good business decision but will also help smaller companies. He says, “Our solution costs only a fraction of traditional outdoor advertising avenues. Plus, the flexibility of changing ads by a single click is another USP that adds value for our clients.”
Once the businesses decide on the spend, target locations and time slots for the display, the SmartAdScreens team takes over and does the rest – from designing the creatives, to tracking the ads,steering the ads to the apt audience. Giri says, “With every engagement, we also suggest the best possible recommendations in terms of their ad design, locations, and times to advertise. But we let them have the final say and design their own flexible packages to suit their needs.”