Toronto digital signage platform helping businesses monetize digital signs

AdStash, a digital signage platform, is helping small to medium-sized businesses monetize their existing digital screens through advertising with its easy-to-use technology.

The Toronto-based company provides businesses, from local shops and restaurants to healthcare facilities, with the technology they need to sell advertising on their digital signs without having to pay a monthly subscription fee.

Instead of paying the monthly fees demanded by other digital advertising companies, AdStash users pay a one-time charge of US$80 for the hardware. In return, the company splits the advertising revenue that its system generates with the user. According to chief executive officer Douglas Lusted, businesses will generally make back the money that they spent on the hardware in a few months. This business model has attracted customers; Lusted said AdStash has about 70,000 digital signs live on the platform across North America

Douglas Lusted, CEO of AdStash. Source: AdStash

Keeping it simple

The technology is simple, and only requires a digital screen plus three other components: power outlet, HDMI cable and internet connection.

AdStash’s hardware is connected to the user’s screen, which may, for example, be one used to display the menu at a restaurant. It will continue to perform its normal functions, but about 20 to 30 per cent of the time, for 15 seconds, a third-party ad will appear.

This ad would normally be something that does not compete with the business. If it is a restaurant, the owner chooses something that has nothing to do with food, such as an advertisement for Nike, a sports team or something related to COVID-19. The digital signage company gives organizations the freedom to accept or reject the ads that it places on their screen.

Some Greater Toronto Area spots using AdStash technology include Stag’s Head Bar & Grill, Boston Pizza, Every Woman Fitness and Oxford Properties on Bay Street.

Partnership with IDS Canada

AdStash does not just support small businesses. An announcement in early August revealed that the company is working with IDS Canada, which is a national healthcare digital signage network that operates 325 digital screens in medical clinics and is viewed by over 1 million consumers monthly.

IDS Canada screens. Source: IDS Canada Media Kit

The IDS screens are used to entertain and educate visitors while they wait.

According to Lusted, the new partnership between the two companies will enable IDS to leverage all of AdStash’s technology and show third-party advertising from AdStash’s programmatic advertisers.

“It gives IDS a way to not only educate and entertain but also improve their business model,” he said.

Collaboration with the healthcare industry is not new to the company. Lusted said AdStash was able to help hundreds of essential services such as pharmacies and medical facilities throughout Canada during the pandemic. The company helped pharmacies monetize foot traffic while people were shopping or visiting the doctor.

“While people were in their stores we had campaigns running on these screens… [such as] the Government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario, who were running campaigns to help spread awareness of COVID,” he said.

Advertising the right information

At the beginning of the pandemic, information about social distancing, vaccines and other COVID-19-related rules were all new, so COVID-19 related ads on screens in medical facilities were a great way to keep the public informed.

“Patient education has never been more vital,” Lusted said. “There’s so many things going around right now about COVID strains, rumours you’re hearing on the internet about vaccines. So patient education has proven to be an absolutely critical component of media, and just for health in general, and I think IDS does a great job at solving that problem,”


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Samira Balsara
Samira Balsara
Samira is a writer for IT World Canada. She is currently pursuing a journalism degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (formally known as Ryerson) and hopes to become a news anchor or write journalistic profiles. You can email her at [email protected]

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