JCDecaux Finland’s first step in the field of AI has been a partnership with a Finnish startup Visualmind, whose advanced image recognition software is used to analyze outdoor ads’ image materials. 

The subject is naturally very important, as the content of an ad plays a lead role in the success of an outdoor ad campaign. 


VisualMind: Machine Learning from Images

VisualMind tool aims to expose the feelings and thoughts that an image raises in its audience. In the case of outdoor ads, which are usually simple, clean and headline dominant, the tool can be used to predict the first impression a viewer might have when observing the poster.

The operating principle behind VisualMind is quite straightforward:

1. VisualMind has collected a database of thousands of pictures 

2. Said pictures have been presented to a panel of thousands of people, who have evaluated the thoughts and feelings each image raised. 

3.The machine learning tool is then able to analyze new images, by comparing them to previous, already “learned” materials.

Like this, machine intelligence is able to take advantage of previously learned information, in order to analyze new pictures, all without intervention by humans.



Machine learning in Ad design 

VisualMind provides an interesting taste of what artificial intelligence can provide to outdoor advertisement.

The method of quantifying the thoughts raised by an image enable a more mechanical approach to analyzing images. This can in turn assist in creative design, as it becomes easier to receive immediate feedback and thoughts on the content.

A more measurable comparison of visuals opens a novel approach towards designing outdoor ads. In the future, it might be common to optimize the chosen image material based on the campaign objectives and brand attributes, even before beginning the design process.

That said, artificial intelligence still falls short in evaluating whether an image will become a good outdoor ad. As such, human touch is still needed to design an effective campaign, as machine learning is unable to replace creativity and design experience.  


Artificial Intelligence Offers a Fresh Perspective

A concrete way to take advantage of VisualMind could be to analyze the visual materials before assembling the final ad.

Like this, it becomes possible to choose the photographs and models that best fit the theme and objectives of the campaign. By also analyzing auxiliary elements like backgrounds, typefaces and color sets, makes it becomes possible to take hone the first impression of an outdoor ad to perfection.

Comparing alternative materials or forming suggestions for revision become easier, when you have access to immediate feedback from a consumer panel that artificial intelligence represents.


AI and the Future of Outdoor Advertisement

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning will keep growing their role in most fields, and outdoor advertisement industry is no exception.

We can observe this in the various new tools available to us, but also in the ongoing evolution of outdoor ads. Data, programmatic buying and dynamic feeds will be the main themes in the industry for 2018. The question is, will artificial intelligence join this list earlier than we could hope to expect?

VisualMind is an exciting first step towards the future of digitalizing outdoor advertisement industry. If you are further interested in the capabilities of the tool, we have a follow up article coming which showcases results from some of the more interesting outdoor ads run during the turn of the year.