Cittadino introduces forecasting tool for advertising at airports

In the past, when advertising customers booked space on screens in waiting areas at departure gates, they could not plan which passengers they would reach. After all, the boarding areas for individual flights are not determined until 30 minutes before departure. The new product, Addressable Gate TV, uses an application based on predictive analytics to convert airport departure data into a forecast of the personal profiles of waiting passengers in real time so that appropriate advertising can be played.

The customer

Cittadino is one of Germany’s leading providers of digital out-of-home (DOOH) media. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tank & Rast Entwicklungs GmbH that operates 9,000 digital advertising spaces at airports, on freeways, in shopping malls and in city centers, including digital City Light Posters, columns, outdoor digital TravelBoards, and digital and analog advertising media at SANIFAIR locations. The media provider generates more than 250 million advertising contacts with highly attractive target groups, such as business travelers, throughout Germany each month.

Cittadino is an innovator in the industry and connects advertising media with technologies including Wi-Fi tracking and programmatic advertising. The company’s ecosystems allow it to offer its customers a one-stop-shop for digital advertising, further propelling the development of technology-driven DOOH solutions.

The Düsseldorf-based company is a pilot partner for the new tracking currency developed by the Digital Media Institute (DMI). Its aim is to expand the reach of the Public & Private Screens media market study with real-time frequency data for each advertising medium.

The challenge

Digital out-of-home advertising is an up-and-coming industry and, like online advertising, relies on the data-driven optimization of advertising messages. In the age of Facebook and Google, getting the right advertising message to individuals with the right profile at the right time is decisive for success. Airports offer very attractive target groups – but they have to be made appropriately reachable.

Automated advertising delivery is carried out in real time. For advertising customers, the optimum management of measures depends on knowing how many people may have noticed the message at the exact moment it was broadcast. Reliably proving how many potential contacts an advertising customer receives when they pay for a commercial to be aired is a key factor in successful media marketing. Advertisers also want to increase the effectiveness of their message by using data about the contact situation to make communication more individual and relevant through the tailoring of themes based on factors such as the time of day, season, weather, location or the viewer’s situation.

For example, when advertising at airports, the proportion of waiting passengers who understand a German advertising slogan can vary considerably depending on the destination and airline. Flights may be delayed, and gates and baggage carousels may change at very short notice. That makes it very important to have precise frequency data and estimated personal profiles if an advertiser wants to address passengers according to their destination, to name just one example.

Airports are a particularly popular media market for premium brands with primarily male users. Cittadino wants to make its programmatic advertising at airports even more efficient, thereby creating new opportunities. The aim is to allow the targeted selection of those departures and arrivals with the highest proportions of advertisers’ target groups.

When the project began, Cittadino was already developing a programmatic booking system for airport advertising screens. As a further step, it needed to implement data-driven broadcasting of advertising to allow for the optimization of target groups and the billing of advertising customers based on real-time data. Achieving that goal required the development of a cloud-based application to predict contact volumes and target group features by screen for the Gate-TV advertising medium.

The solution

The tool used to forecast the passenger situation at airports had to incorporate a range of highly dynamic data, such as flight schedules, passenger surveys and event calendars. It allows the new programmatic supply-side platform (SSP) to automatically select the screens that fit the advertising customers’ target group requirements in real time – depending on the day’s flight schedule.

To meet the customer’s requirements, Lufthansa Industry Solutions created a distributed infrastructure of decoupled microsevices based on Amazon Web Services (AWS). They periodically access the data sources and transform, combine and process the data in a number of stages to generate the final forecasts. A standardized interface allows the easy integration of new data sources. There was a particular focus on AWS Lambada functions to allow for maximum parallel data processing and scalability.

Technologies and tools used

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) – the cloud platform the entire system runs on
  • AWS Lambda – the AWS platform service allows for scalable data analysis and further processing
  • Amazon S3 (Amazon Simple Storage Service) makes it possible to save large quantities of data in the cloud and access them at any time
  • Amazon DynamoDB is a NoSQL database service that supports and stores key-value and document data structures, and saves forecast data for rapid access
  • Amazon AppSync offers a simple interface for standardized data access
  • Amazon CloudWatch monitors the AWS resources used
  • Amazon RDS (Amazon Relational Database Service) provides a PostgreSQL database for the historical saving of data
  • AWS CodePipeline automates the software provision process for rapid, reliable updates to applications and infrastructure
  • AWS CodeCommit saves all data securely, from the source code to documentation, and offers version management
  • AWS CodeDeploy for the easy, rapid approval of new functions
  • AWS CloudFormation models the AWS and third-party application resources in the cloud environment and makes them available
  • GraphQL (Open Source) allows for standardized access to the real-time data from DynamoDB in combination with AWS AppSync
  • Golang – open-source programming language used to connect the data sources
  • Python – open-source programming language used in the statistical settlement module

The client benefits

The system extension allows Cittadino to offer its advertising customers innovative, significantly optimized booking options. That strengthens the company’s position as a driver of innovation and provides its customers with attractive advertising environments while considerably reducing scatter loss. Because target-group optimized broadcasting of advertising allows it to share in the value created for its advertising customers, the forecasting system also lets the customer rent out its screens at higher prices. Predicting the situation at airports also means contact volumes can be determined in real time and used when billing for the advertising medium. During the implementation of the project, it also emerged that the provision of forecasts and statistically analyzed data to third parties represents an additional business opportunity for the client.

“Our goal was to get to know our airport audience even better. The new forecasting tool from Lufthansa Industry Solutions helps us make programmatic advertising at airports even more efficient, opening up new advertising markets. This new type of programmatic campaign allows us to precisely target bookings to departures and arrivals with the highest proportions of target groups.”

Jaroslav Zajicek
Business Development Manager, Cittadino

At a glance: The LHIND solution gives media provider Cittadino the following benefits:

  • The forecasting tool allows the optimization of target groups and billing based on real-time data.
  • Advertising screens can be rented at higher prices.
  • Controlling, sales and marketing can work more efficiently.
  • Comprehensive marketing analysis creates new potential.
  • The provision of analyzed data to third parties results in additional business opportunities.
  • Using cloud technology means data is managed cost-effectively and flexibly.

Lufthansa Industry Solutions worked closely with Cittadino from the outset to develop the new forecasting tool for airports and supported the company with regard to fundamental decisions such as the choice of system architecture, the AWS services used and programing languages. That process took into account further technical questions, such as the choice of flight data provider. There was also direct dialogue with AdPack, the company responsible for the advertising server, to implement an interface between the forecasting system and SSP.