Google engages holiday travelers via airport Wi-Fi ads
By Chantal Tode
December 21, 2011
Google has teamed up with NORAD and a new Wi-Fi advertising network to let travelers at the Charlotte, NC, airport track Santa this holiday season.
Cloud Nine Media is a new advertising network available through over 6,000 Wi-Fi hotspots inside retail, hotel and airport locations. Mobile and laptop users connecting to Wi-Fi in the Charlotte airport see an ad from Google and NORAD promoting the Santa tracking service before being granted free, unlimited Internet access.
“Wi-Fi sponsorships make sense for brands because they can take advantage of a captive, full-screen format that triggers a customer's full attention before they start their Internet session,” said Sebastian Tonkin, cofounder/CEO of Cloud Nine Media, San Francisco.
“By sponsoring Wi-Fi, brands become part of a positive brand experience,” he said. “It's great for a brand to be related to something everybody appreciates.”
Mobile Wi-Fi use
Cloud Nine Media recently concluded a 12-month pilot during which time the advertising network was tested by a small group of brand advertisers, including Google, Old Spice, Aer Lingus and others.
The advertising network was available at Wi-Fi hotspots at Westin Hotels, Hilton Garden Inns, Radisson, Holiday Inn and several airports.
Advertisers participating in the pilot included Google, smartUSA, Old Spice, and Aer Lingus.
Network traffic during the pilot averaged 32 percent for smartphones, 16 percent for tablets and 52 percent for laptop.
Average results across devices included an 11 percent click-through rate, a 55 percent view-to-completion on 30-second spots and over 10 percent email captures for some campaigns.
Cloud Nine Media lets advertisers take advantage of a captive, full-screen format and guaranteed engagement.
The advertising network addresses the growing demand for public Wi-Fi access as smartphone and tablet penetration grows.
Cloud Nine points to recent research from In-Sat that estimates global hot spot sessions will number 11 billion by 2014.
The network also addresses the need for advertisers to find creative new ways to reach consumers in digital outlets as they grow tired of banner ads.
Advertisers can choose between 15 second and 30 second interstitial, and also have the ability to add a direct-response action.
Ads can be tailored by venue, geography, device and other demographics.
“Partnering with Cloud Nine Media allows Wi-Fi hotspots to offset some of the costs needed to provide fast and secure free broadband access to their customers,” Mr. Tonkin said. “Cloud Nine's clean, simple and appealing solution helps hotspots to generate revenue while maintaining a user-friendly customer/guest/passenger experience.”
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