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By Alberto Jessurun / September 8, 2021 / Blog

How Are Advertisers Using Video Surveillance?

Facial recognition is now helping advertisers target specific people. Here’s how.

Key Takeaways
  • Facial recognition is a type of biometric that allows organizations to authenticate or identify individuals via video surveillance
  • Companies like Walgreens and fast food restaurants are using facial recognition to deliver more personalized experiences to customers
  • While facial recognition in advertising brings lots of new avenues to reach people with more relevant information, there are also some warnings to know about
Organizations are always looking for new ways to reach their customers, but also to understand them. Technology has made it easier than ever to track and analyze behaviors and thus personalize marketing messages to be more relevant to specific people.

Biometrics like facial recognition technology are commonly used for authentication or identification purposes, but they are increasingly being used in the world of advertising. Thus, video surveillance strategies are now going beyond simple security to help organizations detect, understand, and connect with people solely based on the digital signage interface.

So, how is facial recognition emerging in this realm, and what are the potential benefits and downsides? Here’s your guide to video surveillance and advertising.

What is facial recognition?

Biometric authentication is a rapidly emerging field in which people’s unique physical characteristics are analyzed to confirm their identity. Biometrics are most often used for access control and identification and may include fingerprinting, retina scanning, voice recognition, facial recognition, and others.

Facial recognition is becoming a more and more common form of biometrics, and it is being applied for many different uses across industries. The technology is often combined with an organization’s video surveillance strategy, wherein a camera detects someone’s face and the facial recognition technology can identify the person based on a set of digital information about their features. This information is then matched to another image of them. 

Facial recognition can also be used to market to consumers as they walk by digital signs. The more advertisers know about their audiences, the more effective their messages can be. Next, we’ll look at how video surveillance is being used for advertising.

Uses of video surveillance in advertising

Brands are most commonly using facial recognition to detect a person’s facial characteristics, including their age and gender, and shift the advertisement accordingly. This video technology can work in real-time and also pick up on other conditions, like the weather outside and how long someone is standing in the same place. Advanced technologies actually allow marketers to detect someone’s mood or emotional response based on their facial characteristics and contours.

One example is Walgreens, which introduced a technology that uses cameras and sensors placed on cooler doors in the company’s storefronts. These smart cameras detect the customer’s likely gender and age, along with environmental conditions, and can instantly change what image is displayed on the cooler door. This means brands can provide an ad that’s much more relevant to the person standing there.

Some fast-food restaurants are also using facial recognition to customize experiences. This typically works by a customer ordering from an interactive touchscreen kiosk. A user can decide whether they want to save their order or information for the future, and if they consent, their picture will be taken and saved. The next time they come in, the kiosk recognizes them and loads their last order to speed up the process. 

This is related to advertising because, when brands know what someone has shown interest in or purchased in the past, they learn a lot about this person’s behaviors and preferences. This allows them to market new products that those customers are likely to want or further personalize the messages they show. 

Some consumers will no doubt be a little hesitant for a restaurant to take and store their photo. However, many consumers have proven to enjoy the convenience this technology provides and the more relevant images and messages they receive from the brand.

Another way facial recognition is being used in marketing is as a way to test things out and assess an audience’s response. For example, companies can test trailers for movies or TV shows and assess how people react based on video monitoring of their facial expressions and body language.

Benefits and warnings

With any new technology comes a string of benefits and downsides. Some people are concerned that using video surveillance this way violates their privacy and may put their information at risk. In addition, because facial recognition is still a fairly new technology in the grand scheme of things, there are still hiccups that get in the way of the technology. For example, it doesn’t always read people’s expressions or demographic information correctly every single time. 

Another warning is that not everyone reacts the same way when expressing the same emotions, so there may be misinterpretations or even stereotypes at play.

However, the benefits are many for advertisers. Consumers expect personalization when interacting with today’s brands, and facial recognition helps companies deliver much more customized in-store on out-of-home experiences this way. When facial recognition can detect someone’s age, gender, and even mood, brands can alter their approach to make better, more relevant connections with these audiences.

While the technology still needs to be ironed out for widespread use, it’s clear that integrating video surveillance and advertising is a trend that will be here for a while. With the greater insistence on personalization, it makes sense that such a targeted approach would be the new focus for marketers.

Find the right surveillance solutions from Unisol International

Understanding the latest trends in surveillance and biometrics will help you make the right updates for your business when the time comes. Whether you’re looking for video surveillance solutions, security cameras, or video management software, we’re here to help at Unisol International. We assist many different industries with turnkey deployments of networking solutions and a wide variety of products, which are available anywhere in the world. 

Contact Unisol International today to learn more about how we can help with electronic security.

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