June 30, 2008, Updated September 13, 2012

Looking at me, looking at you: TruMedia’s iCapture system measures the ROI of advertising dollars spent on billboards.It sounds like a scary concept for the public, but to ad agencies, Israel’s TruMedia is like a dream come true. Based on Israeli homeland security surveillance technology, the company has developed a camera-equipped technology that tracks ad retention in the public space.

Called iCapture, TruMedia is able to tell ad owners how many people their ad stopped on the street, in the subway or in the mall, how long they gazed at it, and the approximate age of the person.

The company now has its technology installed in about 30 sites across America, and in partnership with Adspace Networks is testing its system in shopping malls in Chesterfield, Missouri and Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

It is not the only company in the ad tracking business. Quividi from Paris is now running the software for a billboard on Eighth Avenue near Columbus Circle in New York City.

“How many people, how long, and what they looked at,” this is the sort of information Trumedia is collecting, Myra Cohen-Doukhan, marketing manager for TruMedia, tells ISRAEL21c. Companies, she explains, invest in “prime real estate” in supermarkets and shopping malls and they want to know if they can justify the money being spent there.

Making the right impression

“We just provide numbers,” Cohen-Doukhan assures. “You can’t go to look to see who watched. A company will just get numbers.”

This kind of ad tracking technology is useful for advertising purchasers, and can make sure that ad agencies and media partners that sell and produce their ads will be accountable for the high fees they charge.

TruMedia’s iCapture technology is based on a camera and computer algorithms to measure distances between facial features on a person to determine gender and age. TruMedia says its technology: “provides a true count of impressions with an accuracy that surpasses any other direct or indirect measurement technology.

“[It] provides more than just viewer counts. Demographics segmentation and face-towards time measurement allow better media planning and targeted advertising.”

Premium targeted advertising

But TruMedia is more than a research organization. For a premium fee, its technology can actually switch digital ads depending on the time of day and who is currently watching them. “We can provide targeted content,” says Cohen-Doukhan.

Ads that TruMedia can monitor include digital screens, TV monitors, posters, display windows and in-store product displays: “Our solutions make it possible to truly measure the effectiveness of your displays and understand consumer behavior,” says the company’s website.

TruMedia was started in Tel Aviv in 2006 and today is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. The 50-person company was founded to help advertisers get solid information about who is looking at their ads: “We wanted to be able to help advertisers and brands answer that question,” says Cohen-Doukhan who admits to “sleeping, breathing and dreaming” the world of advertising.

More on Innovation

Fighting for Israel's truth

We cover what makes life in Israel so special — it's people. A non-profit organization, ISRAEL21c's team of journalists are committed to telling stories that humanize Israelis and show their positive impact on our world. You can bring these stories to life by making a donation of $6/month. 

Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director