Projection Mapping Is Now a $3B Segment of Digital Signage — But Its Future Is Advertising

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When we think of digital signage, we think drive-thru menu boards, retail store signage and even wayfinding on a college campus. But, the coolest part of the signage market (and the segment that the advertising industry is accelerating) is what’s commonly referred to by techies as Projection Mapping.

Of course, everyone reading this would immediately know what projection mapping is: the art of using multiple projectors to show an image on any surface (e.g. buildings, museums, football fields, hockey’s ice) and through it, tell stories. One of the first I ever saw in person was at the Lumiere festival in Lyon, France. I was hooked. Ever since, I have just loved this part of technology as it’s all about STORYTELLING.

That’s exactly what the advertising industry is all about — telling stories. Sometimes in 15-, 30- or even 60-second bites of information, sometimes in billboards and sometimes on social media. But, no other form of storytelling is more compelling to a creative director at an agency right now than projection mapping. It provides an endless canvas not limited by a 16×9 rectangle like a TV commercial is, or a 21×9 billboard or the vertical form of an Instagram ad. Projection mapping is completely amorphous and provides an infinite digital canvas.


And now it’s a $2.8 billion global market and one that’s been embraced by the entire advertising industry. Known as Experiential Marketing by ad execs, its form isn’t confined by space or time and can even integrate all forms of display technology — like Nike’s LED trackAmerican Express’ Rally On The RiverCentral Children’s StoreDaimler’s Self Driving Truck Drives Itself at Hoover Dam and the Southwest Airlines Debut. This is just the beginning.

What is now a $3B market will easily be $8B by 2026. And, what we call projection mapping will eventually just be known as advertising.