CA2854169A1 - Computer implemented transaction receipt advertising with scannable codes and real time advertisement selection - Google Patents

Computer implemented transaction receipt advertising with scannable codes and real time advertisement selection Download PDF

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Publication number
CA2854169A1
CA2854169A1 CA2854169A CA2854169A CA2854169A1 CA 2854169 A1 CA2854169 A1 CA 2854169A1 CA 2854169 A CA2854169 A CA 2854169A CA 2854169 A CA2854169 A CA 2854169A CA 2854169 A1 CA2854169 A1 CA 2854169A1
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advertisement
campaign
transaction
network address
distribution
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CA2854169A
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French (fr)
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Geoffry Fang
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Geoffry Fang
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • G06Q30/0241Advertisement

Abstract

Methods and systems for management of advertisement campaigns by an advertisement facilitator that distributes advertisement content from advertisers to point of sale/distribution (POS/POD) locations at which said advertisements are incorporated into transaction receipts. In response to an ad request from a POS/POD, criteria specified by the advertiser for each campaign is compared against the current POS/POD
transaction to determine suitable ad matches for the transaction, which are then ranked against one another to determine which ad(s) to print, all in real time. The advertiser may opt for scannable ads with QR-codes to lead consumers to a target website or other online resource. The QR-code is generated by the system as part of the real time transaction-responsive processing, and directs the consumer to a facilitator-hosted address used to confirm that a scan of the ad has occurred, from where the consumer is then redirected to the advertiser-specified target destination.

Description

COMPUTER IMPLEMENTED TRANSACTION RECEIPT ADVERTISING WITH
SCANNABLE CODES AND REAL TIME ADVERTISEMENT SELECTION
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to computer implemented methods and systems for incorporating advertisements into consumer transaction receipts at point of sale or distribution terminals, and more particularly to a transaction receipt advertisement solution that automatically monitors consumer-scanning of QR codes in the advertisements, and that also ranks available advertisements in real time for any given transaction in order to determine the optimum advertisement to display for that transaction.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
It has been previously proposed in the prior art to exploit a transaction receipt given to a consumer at a point of sale or distribution (POS/POD) as a medium for conveying advertising or promotional content to the consumer. Prior art in this field includes 'internal advertisement' systems in which the advertisement or promotion applied to the transaction receipt is that of the retailer or distributor that is operating the POS/POD
(i.e. the consumer receives an advertisement from the same entity it has just transacted with), and 'external advertisement systems' in which the transaction receipt incorporates one or more advertisements from an outside entity. Known examples of such prior art are briefly summarized as follows.
U.S. Patents 6,334,109 and 7,548,874 assigned to International Business Machines Corporation discloses a system in which advertisements are stored for conveyance to point of sale or transaction terminals in public locations, and the advertisement selected for a particular transaction is matched, at least in part, according to information about the consumer, for example as identified by a card reader, GPS system, or biometric sensor.
U.S. Patent Application Publications 2007/0221728 and 2008/0052158 assigned to Nutricate Corporation discloses a system that can manage multiple advertisers and POS locations at which advertisements can be incorporated into transaction receipts.
The system manages pre-existing contracts between particular entities and thus does not appear to expose an advertiser to a wide variety of different possible advertisement avenues unless the advertiser has already established their own relationships beforehand with several entities operating different POS locations.
2 U.S. Patent No. 7,188,154 assigned to the Seiko Epson Corporation teaches a system for printing advertisements on sales receipts. The POS operator or clerk enters customer information (e.g. age and sex) during the transaction, which is gauged against criteria entered by the advertiser to identify qualifying advertisements, the subjects of which are then displayed to the customer for selection of the type of advertisement to print on the receipt. U.S. Patent 7,424,443 assigned to the same entity outlines that the criteria set out by the advertiser for matching up the advertisement to a transaction may include windows of time during which the advertisement is to be printed, and that in the event of multiple transactions qualifying for a particular transaction, the selection may be made randomly or by a priority scheme based on how many times the ads have been previously printed.
U.S. Patent Application Publication 2005/0171845 discloses an internal system for conveying personalized messages from the retail entity operating the POS
terminal to their consumer. The system is thus not tailored to allow multiple outside advertisers to advertise on the retailer's transaction receipt.
In U.S. Patent Application Publication 2011/0231258 assigned to VISA U.S.A.
Inc., different merchants can bid for opportunities to present advertisements to consumers, for example on point of sale transaction receipts, and the advertisements are matched up to transactions based on comparison of advertisement criteria against spending patterns of the consumer concerned.
U.S. Patent Application Publication 2008/0221982 assigned to Instream Media Inc. discloses a system in which multiple advertisers bid on available advertisement opportunities during an auction process, and a winner with the highest bid in the auction process then has their advertisement image transferred to an advertising agent (POS
location) where it is incorporated into transaction receipts printed by that agent. The bid amount used to determine the winner may be the per-print cost (i.e. price the advertiser is willing to pay for each individual print of the advertisement), or the overall campaign cost the advertiser is willing to spend over a campaign run period (i.e. a 'maximum' cap the advertiser places on the accumulation of the specified pay-per-print cost).
Applicant proposes herein a similar 'bidding' based system in which multiple advertiser's compete for advertising space through the price they're willing to pay for each ad placement. However, a potential drawback of the prior art is that holding 'auctions' of available advertising opportunities limits the advertisers ability to freely interact with the system. That is, there must be an active 'auction' for the advertiser to vie for an
3 advertisement opportunity. As a result of this, an advertiser willing to bid a greater amount than the advertiser whose ads are currently being printed cannot obtain advertisement opportunity the POS location concerned until the run time of the current auction expires.
Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide a more 'real time' or 'live' solution whereby automated, computer-implemented selection of an advertisement for a particular transaction receipt is triggered by the transaction itself, and not based on a predetermined auction winner.
U.S. Patent No. 8,434,682 assigned to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. teaches a system for printing an advertising or promotional image such as a QR-code (quick response code) on a transaction receipt at a POS location, whereby the consumer can scan the QR-code with an intemet-enabled mobile electronic device (e.g. mobile phone or tablet computer) in order to be directed to a website URL containing additional information on the subject of the advertisement or promotion. However, this is an 'internal' system that does not appear to be equipped to handle competitive bidding for advertisement space by outside advertising entities.
Even if the QR code printing functionality of the Wal-Mart reference was incorporated into one of the competitive solutions for external advertisers, the modified system would lack the ability to financially capitalize on the extra scannable-ad functionality by an advertisement facilitating agency managing the ad campaigns of the competing advertisers.
Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide a solution for automatic, computer implemented tracking actual scans of the printed scannable-code advertisements, as providing the facilitator with the ability to track the number of advertisement scans may be put to useful purpose, for example to employ a 'pay-per-scan' pricing structure for the advertisers, and/or provide a way for the advertiser to track successful scans of the advertisement without having to use a dedicated target URL that is reachable only through that specific ad campaign.
Accordingly, there remains room for improvement in the area of computer-implemented transaction-receipt advertising, and Applicant has developed a unique solution incorporating advantageous features not disclosed or suggested by the prior art.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
According to one aspect of the invention there is provided a method for management of advertisement campaigns by an advertisement facilitator that distributes
4 advertisement content from advertisers to point of sale or distribution locations at which said advertisements are to be incorporated into transaction receipts, the method comprising:
(a) transmitting advertisement data to a terminal at the point of sale or distribution, the advertisement data comprising machine readable code image data from which an optically scannable code image readable by a mobile electronic device can be incorporated into the transaction receipt as an advertisement element of said transaction receipt for communication of said optically scannable code image to a consumer, the optically readable image data comprising network address data by which reading of the optically scannable code image by the mobile electronic device will direct a network browsing application of the mobile electronic device to visit an initial network address; and (b) in response to visiting of said initial network address by the network browsing application of the mobile electronic device, (i) automatically incrementing a visit count indicative of a number of network address visits associated with said advertisement campaign and (ii) automatically redirecting the network browsing application of the mobile electronic device to a second network address that is distinct from the initial network address and associated with a subject of the advertisement campaign.
Preferably step (b)(i) comprises automatically incrementing a cost-incurred balance owed by the advertiser in response to the incrementation of the visit count.
Preferably step (b)(i) comprises automatically incrementing the cost-incurred balance by a pay-per-scan value specified by the advertiser.
Preferably before step (a), the method includes performing an automatic selection from among a plurality of advertisement campaigns managed by the facilitator in order to determine the advertisement campaign for which the advertisement data is transmitted in step (a), the automatic selection being based, at least in part, on the pay-per-scan value of the advertisement campaign.
Preferably the automatic selection is based partly on said pay-per-scan value of the advertisement campaign and partly on a pay-per-image value thereof, the pay-per-image value having been specified by the respective advertiser and incorporated into the cost-incurred balance in step (a) in response to communication of the optically scannable code image to the consumer.
Preferably the step of performing the automatic selection comprises performing a score calculation for each of the plurality of advertisement campaigns, and the score calculation comprises different weight factors applied to the pay-per-image value and the pay-per-scan value.
Preferably step (a) and the automatic selection performed before step (a) are performed in response to an advertisement request communication received from the point
5 of sale or distribution and triggered by a consumer transaction at said point of sale or distribution.
Preferably the method includes, after receipt of the advertisement request communication received from the point of sale or distribution, generating the machine readable code image data so as to include at least one query string to be passed to a resource at the first network address when visited by the network browsing application, the at least one query string comprising identifying information for the advertisement campaign.
Preferably the at least one query string also comprises transaction information concerning the consumer transaction.
Preferably the method includes, before step (a), receiving from one of the advertisers advertisement campaign information that includes identification of the second network address and then, in response to visiting of the initial network address in step (b), automatically looking up said second network address from said advertisement complain information received from said one of the advertisers for use in redirecting the network browsing application to said second network address in step (b)(ii).
Preferably the method includes, after receipt of the advertisement campaign information, automatically assigning a campaign identifier to said stored details of the advertisement campaign and storing said identifier in association with said stored details, and automatically generating the machine readable code image data so that the query string includes the campaign identifier for use by the resource to retrieve the second network address from the stored advertisement campaign information and redirect the network browsing application to said second network address.
Preferably the network addresses are URLs.
According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a system for management of advertisement campaigns by an advertisement facilitator that distributes advertisement content from advertisers to point of sale or distribution locations at which said advertisements are to be incorporated into transaction receipts, the system comprising:
(a) a first server that comprises a computer readable advertisement storage medium and is in communication with a terminal at a point of sale or distribution, the
6 computer readable storage medium storing advertisement data that comprises machine readable code image data for generating a optically scannable code image that is readable by a mobile electronic device in a manner directing a network browsing application of the mobile electronic device to visit a first network address associated with an advertisement campaign to which the advertisement data belongs;
(b) a second server that hosts a target destination of the first network address and is configured to (i) in response to visiting of said initial network address by the network browsing application of the mobile electronic device, increment a visit count indicative of a number of network address visits associated with said advertisement campaign and (ii) redirect the network browsing application of the mobile electronic device to a second network address that is distinct from the first network address and is associated with a subject of the advertisement campaign.
According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a method for management of advertisement campaigns by an advertisement facilitator that distributes advertisement content from advertisers to point of sale or distribution locations at which said advertisements are to be incorporated into transaction receipts, the method comprising:
(a) receiving advertisement campaign information from the advertisers for said advertisement campaigns;
(b) in response to an advertisement request communication received from the point of sale or distribution and triggered by a consumer transaction at said point of sale or distribution, automatically performing a ranking process among at least some of the advertisement campaigns and matching a highest-ranked one of said advertisement campaigns to said consumer transaction;
(c) automatically transmitting advertisement data of the highest-ranked one of said advertisement campaigns to the point of sale or distribution for use of said advertisement data to incorporate a visible advertisement element into a receipt for said consumer transaction.
Preferably step (b) comprises filtering out inactive advertisement campaigns before the ranking process, and then performing the ranking process only on remaining active advertisement campaigns.
Preferably step (b) comprises identifying qualifying advertisement campaigns before the ranking process as selected ones of the advertisement campaigns for which conditions set out in the advertisement campaign information are true of said consumer
7 transaction, and then performing the ranking process only on said qualifying advertisement campaigns.
According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a system for management of advertisement campaigns by an advertisement facilitator that distributes advertisement content from advertisers to point of sale or distribution locations at which said advertisements are to be incorporated into transaction receipts, the system comprising:
(a) an advertiser portal server configured to receive advertisement campaign information from the advertisers for said advertisement campaigns; and (b) an advertisement distribution server configured to, in response to an advertisement request communication received from the point of sale or distribution and triggered by a consumer transaction at said point of sale or distribution, (i) automatically perform a ranking process among at least some of the advertisement campaigns and match a highest-ranked one of said advertisement campaigns to said consumer transaction and (ii) automatically transmit advertisement data of the highest-ranked one of said advertisement campaigns to the point of sale or distribution for use of said advertisement data to incorporate a visible advertisement element into a receipt for said consumer transaction.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In the accompanying drawings, which illustrate one or more exemplary embodiments of the present invention:
Figure 1 is a schematic block diagram of an advertisement management system of the present invention for placing advertisements on transaction receipts at point of sale or point of distribution locations.
Figure 2 is a flow chart diagram illustrating a process by which a new advertisement campaign is entered into the system of Figure 1 by an advertiser.
Figure 3 is a flow chart diagram illustrating an advertisement selection process by which the system determines which advertisement to display on the receipt of a given transaction at a point of sale or distribution.
Figure 4 is a flow chart diagram illustrating an active advertisement determination algorithm by which inactive advertisements are removed from further consideration in subsequent steps of the advertisement selection process of Figure 3.
Figure 5 is a flow chart diagram illustrating a condition filtering algorithm by which the remaining active advertisements in the advertisement selection process of Figure
8 3 are filtered to identify advertisements with transaction criteria that match the current transaction.
Figure 6 is a flow chart diagram illustrating a scanning and redirection algorithm by which scanning of a QR-code on the transaction receipt by a mobile device of the consumer directs a browser of the mobile device first to a URL hosted by the system, at which a scan-count of the advertisement campaign is incremented and from which the browser is redirected to a final destination page previously specified by the advertiser during setup of the ad campaign.
Figure 7 schematically illustrates a paper transaction receipt printed in accordance with the present invention to include a scannable QR-code and associated ad content in an available advertising space below the transaction details of the receipt.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
Figure 1 schematically illustrates a Real-Time Advertisement Distribution Platform (also referred to herein simply as the "Advertisement Platform") prints advertisements on receipts. The platform not only distributes advertisement content to point of sale or point of distribution (POS or POD) locations for printing of the advertisement on the transaction receipts issued to consumers at these locations, but also provides an automated solution by which independent advertisers (i.e. advertising entities that are independent of the POS or POD entity and of the administrative entity or facilitator that owns or operates the Advertisement Platform) can bid on and upload content for such potential advertisement opportunities. Accordingly, as the Advertisement Platform is not limited to just 'distribution', it may also be considered as an entire advertisement management or facilitation system 10 (also referred to herein in simply as the "system").
The system 10 features one or more servers operated directly or indirectly by the facilitator, which in the illustrated embodiment include advertiser web portal server 12, computational servers 14, data server 16, advertisement distribution server 18 and redirection server 20, which are collectively referred to herein as an Advertisement Cloud Server (ACS) 22. A plurality of advertisers 24 each interact with a web portal or website hosted by the web portal server 12 through a suitable client device 26 (e.g.
desktop/laptop personal computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.) capable of communicating with the web portal server 12 via the Internet.
Each POS/POD location 28 (e.g. restaurant or retail store establishment) features a POS/POD terminal 30 that, in a conventional manner, is configured to enable
9 financial transactions between the POD user 32 (e.g. restaurant or retail store personnel) and a consumer visiting the establishment to purchase goods and/or services from same.
Also in a conventional manner, the POS/POD terminal is coupled with a cooperating printer that generates a physical paper receipt that summarizes the financial transaction and is taken away by the consumer for their later referral thereto if required. The printer and/or terminal 30 differs from conventional POS/POD equipment in the incorporation of an advertisement embedding software program or algorithm that cooperates with the advertisement distribution server 18 to incorporate printed advertisement content therefrom into the receipt printout.
The system also involves the consumer 34 who possesses a mobile, preferably handheld, consumer electronics device 36 (e.g. smartphone, tablet computer, etc.) capable of communicating with the redirection server 20 via the Internet, and equipped with suitable image capture equipment and cooperating software to scan and decode Quick-Response Codes (QR-codes) in order to extra a Universal Resource Locator (URL) address from the machine-readable QR-code and direct a web-browsing application on the mobile device 36 to visit the URL. QR-code reader applications for mobile phones and tablets capable of such functionally through the on-board digital camera functionality of such devices are well known and readily available, and the consumer's mobile device thus requires no specialized hardware or software to benefit from the advertisement content distributed by the Advertisement Platform to the POD/POS terminal 30 and subsequently conveyed to the consumer by way of the printed POD/POS receipt.
Turning to Figure 2, a process 100 by which an advertiser creates an advertisement campaign is illustrated. The advertiser visits the web-portal on his/her client device 26, at which point the process begins at step 101 where the advertiser logs into the web portal with a user ID and password combination, which if the advertiser is a new user, are specified by the advertiser and stored by the cloud server 22 for authentication purposes during subsequent logins. Having confirmed the identity of the user through verification of the entered user ID, at step 102, the web portal presents the advertiser with a web form or the like to enable the user to enter basic information concerning the advertisement campaign to be initiated, for example including a campaign name by which the advertiser will be able to recognize the advertisement campaign from others that have been, or will be, entered by that same advertiser; and a daily budget maximum that denotes an advertising cost that the advertiser does not wish to exceed on a daily basis.

At step 103, the advertiser selects from two available options on the web form concerning the type of advertisement to be placed, particularly whether the advertisement is to take the form of a 'coupon' that the consumer can later present to the advertiser's business in order to obtain a discount on a product or service offered by same, or is to take 5 the form of a standard advertisement having no 'discount' or 'coupon' value. If the advertiser selects the coupon option, step 104 prompts the advertiser to enter a discount or savings amount (for example, in the form of a dollar amount or percentage) that the consumer will receive on the purchase price of a product or service offered by the advertiser's business upon redemption of the coupon at same.
10 At step 105 the advertiser is prompted to enter a type of business the advertiser would like their advertisements to be conveyed to in the subject campaign. This option may be presented in the form of a list of pre-defined selectable business types, for example populated from the business types of POD/POS users who have signed up with facilitator as wanting to offer available advertisement space on their transaction receipts.
This way, the web portal server 12 can pull the available business types from a database 38 that is stored by or linked to the data server 16 and contains the pertinent information concerning the registered POD/POS users and registered advertiser users.
The advertisement facilitator or system administrator may be in the business of selling/leasing and maintaining/servicing POD/POS equipment, in which case the POD/POS users are customers of the facilitator who may be offered a reduction in their POD/POS
equipment/service/maintenance costs in exchange for registering as advertisement locations in the system of the present invention.
At step 106, the advertiser 24 continues to specify details concerning the advertisement campaign in the web portal by optionally entering conditions or criteria that must be met in order for the system to distribute an ad from the subject campaign to one of the POD/POS locations 28. Examples of such conditions include a specified time-of-day window in which the ad is to be printed; a geographical area within which the advertiser wants to limit the ad campaign (e.g. by province/state, county, city, neighborhood, etc.); a dollar amount or range that a POS/POD transaction must fall above, below or within in order to qualify for printing of the ad; one or more select days of the week in which the ad is to be printed; a particular weather condition in which the ad is to be printed (e.g.
sunblock advertisements printed during sunny weather; umbrella, raincoat ads printed during rainy weather; shovel, snowblower, snowmobile, snowbrush/scraper ads printed during snowfall);
11 a temperature value or range that the outdoor temperature must exceed, fall below or fall within for the ad to be printed (e.g. waterpark, swimsuit, summer clothing advertisements during hot weather; winter accessories, outerwear during cold/cool weather); a number of printed ads after which the campaign should be paused; and/or a number of printed ads after which the campaign should be disabled or terminated.
At step 107, the web portal presents the advertiser with an option to take advantage of a 'Pay-Per-Scan' option under which the system will generate a OR-code to be incorporated into each printed advertisement in order to direct the consumer to a URL
specified by the advertiser if the QR code is scanned using the consumer's mobile device 36. The advertiser can thus use the printed advertisement to drive visitor traffic to their website, and/or direct the consumer to additional detailed information or further promotional content (e.g. video, photos, animation, etc.) concerning the advertised subject matter (product/service/event/etc.) that cannot be conveniently presented in the relatively-small sized, and typically black and white, printed receipt-based advertisement. If the advertiser selects this option, they are prompted at step 108 to enter the target URL of their advertisement, along with a bid value they are willing to pay for each QR-code that is actually scanned (e.g. by the consumer whose receipt the QR-code is printed on). The scan-tracking solution for enabling this Pay-Per-Scan functionality is disclosed herein further below.
At step 109, regardless of whether or not the user chooses to use the Pay-Per-Scan option, the web portal prompts the advertiser to enter a bid value they are willing to pay for each print of an ad, i.e. a Pay-Per-Print value. The web portal may be configured to allow a zero value for one of the Pay-Per-Scan and Pay-Per-Print bids if Pay-Per-Scan has been selected, but require a mandatory non-zero value for the Pay-Per-Print bid if the Pay-Per-Scan option is not selected. In another embodiment, the web portal may require the advertiser to specify a non-zero value for both bids when the Pay-Per-Scan options is selected.
Finally, the user is prompted at step 111 to upload an image that they wish to have printed as part or all of the advertisement. If Pay-Per-Scan is not selected, then the uploaded image may form the entire advertisement, whereas if Pay-Per-Scan is selected, then the uploaded image will be accompanied by a QR-code generated by the system 10.
In some embodiments, in addition to the image, the web portal may provide a text field in which the advertiser can enter text matter that forms part, or all, of the ad content (i.e. in
12 addition to, or in place of, an uploaded image). If the advertiser's uploaded image includes their own provided QR-code, then the advertiser can use the advertisement to direct consumer's to a target URL, but if the advertiser uses the same target URL in advertisements placed through means other than the Advertisement Platform 10 of the present invention, then the advertiser will lack the ability to determine how many visits to that URL were generated particularly from the Advertisement Platform 10 of the present invention. Accordingly, the advertiser obtains less feedback on the effectiveness of their current bid value(s) in generating successful QR-based advertisements if they upload their own QR-code image instead of using the Pay-Per-Scan option to have the system generate a QR-code for their advertisement. The facilitator may choose to adopt a policy that advertiser-provided QR-codes are not acceptable.
The software of the web portal server 12 may be configured to forward the entered information and selected options from the fields of the web form to the data server 16, where software running thereon creates an entry for this newly created advertisement campaign within the database 38. As shown at step 112, the advertisement campaign may initially be entered into the database with a 'pending' status that is used to prevent distribution of ads from that campaign until it is approved by the facilitator.
The web portal is also configured to allow the advertiser to later log in and make desired revisions to the advertisement campaign, which may include changing the type of business originally specified at step 105; changing one or more of the distribution conditions/criteria originally specified at step 106; change the Pay-Per-Scan and/ or Pay-Per-Print bid value originally entered at steps 108, 109; change the advertisement image originally uploaded at step 111; or switch from a non-scannable ad to a Pay-Per-Scan ad, and thus add a Pay-Per-Scan bid value. A single advertiser may enter more than one campaign, for example to advertise multiple products or services offered by the advertiser.
The software stored on computer readable memory of the POD/POS terminal and containing statements and instructions for execution by a processor thereof is configured so that at the completion of a financial transaction, instead of immediately initiating printing of a paper receipt by the connected printer in a conventional manner, first 30 sends a request to the advertisement distribution server 18 for an advertisement to incorporate into the receipt print job. The request may include transaction information/attributes such as the geographical location of the POD/POS
terminal (e.g.
street address, including city and province/state), business/industry type of the POD/POS
13 location, the total dollar amount of the transaction (which may be a tax-inclusive or tax-exclusive amount), and the time of day at which the transaction occurred.
Alternatively, instead of including the street address and business/industry type in the ad request, the POD/POS terminal may instead send a unique identifier (POD/POS UlD) that is associated with the POD/POS terminal or location, which the data server can compared against a listing of POD/POS UlDs in the database 38 so that the system can recognize the POD/POS
terminal or location that is requesting an advertisement, and can use the POD/POS UID to look up associated static information on the POD/POS terminal or location that does not change from transaction to transaction, such as the street address or business/industry type.
Figure 3 illustrates an ad selection process 200 executed by software on the advertisement distribution server 18 in response to such an advertisement request from the POD/POS terminal 30. At a first step 201, the process initiates an algorithm 300, shown in greater detail in Figure 4, for compiling a list of active advertisements that are potential candidates for the current print job.
Turning to Figure 4, the first step 301 of the active advertisement determination algorithm 300 requests all campaigns in database 38 from the data server 16, and compiles these campaigns into a list that therefore reflects all available ads that may be incorporated into the current print job. At step 302, an algorithm for filtering out non-active campaigns starts by checking if the end of the list has been reached. So long as the list isn't empty (i.e. so long as there is at least one campaign in the database) the following subsequent steps are performed. At step 303, a first one of the listed ad campaigns is loaded or selected, and is hereafter referred to as the Current Ad.
At step 304, a total of the advertising costs incurred for that campaign on the current date is checked against the daily budget maximum that was specified by the advertiser for that campaign at step 102. If the daily budget has not been exceeded, a status of the Current Ad is checked at step 305 to see whether it is still pending approval by the facilitator. If the ad has already been approved (i.e. is not still 'pending'), then at step 306, the algorithm checks if the Current Ad has been paused (i.e. determines whether the number of ads actually printed exceeds an ad-pause limit that may have been set at step 106). If the Current Ad has not been paused, at step 307, the algorithm checks if the Current Ad has been disabled (i.e. determines whether the number of ads actually printed exceeds an ad-disable/ad-termination limit that may have been set at step 106). If the
14 determination is that the daily budget has been exceeded or the Current Ad is pending, paused or disabled, it is removed from the Active List of campaigns at step 308.
Steps 302 to 307 are then repeated until every advertisement campaign from the database has been reviewed, whereby the Active List now represents all the ads that have not exceeded their daily budgets, are not still pending review by the facilitator, and are not currently paused or disabled. At step 309, this Active List is then sent back to the ad selection process 200 of Figure 3 for determining which ad is to be printed from among the ad campaigns of the Active List.
Turning back to Figure 3, at step 202, the ad selection process 200 takes the Active List returned from the Active Advertisement Determination Algorithm 300 and initiates a Condition Filtering Algorithm 400 to determine which of the advertisement campaigns in the Active List have distribution conditions/criteria (as specified by the advertiser at step 106) that match the conditions of the POD/POS transaction for which an ad is being requested.
Figure 5 shows the Condition Filtering Algorithm 400 that is performed on each ad campaign from the Active List. At step 401, the algorithm loads the values of the 'distribution conditions/criteria' specified by the advertiser in step 106 from their respective fields of the database entry for the currently selected ad campaign, along with the POS/POD
transaction attributes sent from the POS/POD terminal 30, and any POS/POD
terminal/location attributes looked up in the database 38 based on a POS/POD
terminal/location identifier (POS/POD UID) included in the ad request. At step 402, the algorithm checks whether the time of day of the current POS/POD transaction in question (for example, as reported from the POS/POD terminal 30; or as approximated by the arrival time of the ad request at the ad distribution server) falls within the time-of-day window specified by the advertiser.
At step 402, the algorithm checks whether the time of day of the current POS/POD transaction in question (for example, as reported from the POS/POD
terminal 30) falls within the time-of-day criteria specified by the advertiser. At step 403, the algorithm checks whether the geographical location of current POS/POD transaction is match for the geographical location criteria specified by the advertiser for the currently selected ad campaign, for example by checking whether the city and/or province/state of the POS/POD
street address matches the target city/province/state specified by the advertiser for the currently selected campaign. At step 404, the algorithm checks whether the totoal dollar amount of the transaction in question falls within the targeted range or above/below the threshold value specified by the advertiser for the currently selected campaign. At step 405, the algorithm checks whether the targeted business/industry type specified by the advertiser for the currently selected campaign matches that of the current POS/POD
transaction. At 5 step 406, the algorithm checks whether the day of the week of the transaction in questions matches the one more days of the week specified by the advertiser. The POS/POD
terminal may transmit the day of the week of the transaction as part of the ad request, or may transmit only date information, from which the advertisement distribution server can determine the day of the week.
10 At steps 407 and 408, the algorithm checks whether the weather and temperatures conditions at the POS/POD location are a match for those specified by the advertiser. To perform this function, the advertisement distribution server 18 queries an external weather service database resource for the geographic location of the POS/POD
location, and compares the received response from the weather resource against the
15 advertiser's target weather and temperature conditions/criteria. From this, it will be appreciated that the overall collection of transaction attributes against which the advertiser's conditions is not limited to information obtained directly from the POS/POD
terminal 30 or database 38, and may include data obtained by combining this directly received information with additional data from external resources.
Steps 403, 407 and 408 that involve the use of geographical information may employ external geocoding/reverse-geocoding resources in order to convert between geographic co-ordinates (i.e. longitude & latitude) and street addresses. For example, where a weather resource capable of responding to geo-coordinate queries is employed, greater accuracy in determining the weather conditions and/or outside temperature at the POS/POD location may be obtainable compared to looking up of such weather/temperature information using a city name from the street address of the POS/POD location.
Using a geocode conversion tool allows greater convenience to the advertisers by allowing them to enter their readily-known street address rather than the geographic coordinates of their location. In addition, the facilitator will likely need or want the street address of the POS/POD location anyway, for example for billing, POD/POS service/maintenance, or other purposes.
If any of steps 403-408 fails to result in a match of the advertiser-specified conditions/criteria against the transaction attributes, then the conditioning filtering algorithm
16 for the currently selected ad campaign is terminated at step 409, and the currently selected advertising campaign is returned to the ad selection process 200 as a non-match or mismatch for the transaction in question, whereby it is filteedr out from the list of active advertisements being considered. On the other hand, if a positive match is determined for each of steps 403-408, then the currently selected advertisement campaign is returned to the ad selection process 200 at step 410 as a candidate for printing on the transaction receipt. The Condition Filtering Algorithm 400 is repeated for each advertisement campaign in the Active List.
Turning back to Figure 3, having used the Condition Filtering Algorithm 400 to generate a list of candidate ads by filtering out non-candidate ads from the Active List, a score is calculated for each candidate ad campaign at step 203 by executing a Score Algorithm 500 for each candidate. For each candidate, this algorithm 500 calculates a numerical score by which the candidate is subsequently ranked among all the other candidates in step 204, whereby at least the first highest ranked candidate is selected for printing on the transaction receipt.
The Score algorithm 500 may employ any of a number of possible score calculations, which may vary significantly in complexity. For example, in one embodiment, a simplistic scoring method may be employed that simply assigns the Pay-Per-Print bid value specified by the advertiser in step 109 during creation of the ad campaign as the score for the candidate ad. However, a more preferable scoring method would take into consideration both the Pay-Per-Print bid value and the Pay-Per-Scan bid value.
To illustrate this preference, if a first advertiser did not select the Pay-Per-Scan option and thus has a default Pay-Per--Scan bid value of zero, and a second advertiser selected the Pay-Per-Scan option and entered Pay-Per-Print and Pay-Per-Scan values whose sum exceeds the Pay-Per-Print value of the first advertiser, then the facilitator's 'potential income value' for printing the second advertiser's ad exceeds the facilitator's 'actual income value' for printing the first advertiser's ad, even if the second advertiser's Pay-Per-Print value is less than that of the first advertiser.
However, the second advertiser's ad only achieves its 'potential value' if the QR-code of the ad is actually scanned, and it is only reasonable to expect that not every scannable ad will be scanned, as a consumer would not be expected to scan the QR code of an advertisement whose subject matter does not interest them.
17 Accordingly, a weighted score calculation may be employed that assigns a greater weight to the Pay-Per-Print value than to the Pay-Per-Scan value.
Another embodiment may employ one or more variable weighting factors, for example where the weight assigned to the Pay-Per-Scan value increases if tracking of the number of printed-but-unscanned versus printed-and-scanned occurrences within a scannable ad campaign reveals that a relatively high percentage of the running total number of printed ads have in fact been scanned. Accordingly, the system can employ adjustable weighting factors in the score calculation, where the system monitors and learns from the successful Pay-Per-Scan ads that have been scanned within a given campaign or within all campaigns of a particular advertiser. Accordingly, the system can employ different weighting of the factors in the score calculation for different ad campaigns and/or different advertisers. The system may employ a combination of manually adjustable weighting and automatic self-adjusting weighting, for example using static factors entered and editable by the facilitator, and variable factors that are self-adjusted by the system based on the tracked history of a campaign or advertiser.
In some embodiments, the score may be based on additional factors over and above the bid amount values, and may be thought of a Relevance Quality score that is not only taking into consideration the dollar value of the ad to the facilitator, but also a determination of how relevant (i.e. how suitable a match) the ad campaign is for the given transaction and/or POS/POD location. For example, the score algorithm may calculate a distance between the street address or geo-coordinates of the advertiser and that of the POD/POS location of the current transaction, whereby with all other factors being equal, the advertiser located closer to the POD/POS location will obtain a higher relevancy score.
At step 204, once the scores have been determined and assigned to all the candidate ad campaigns, the candidates are accordingly ranked from highest to lowest score. Step 205 optionally allows printing of multiple ads on a single transaction receipt.
The number of ads that can be printed on a receipt may be subject to approval or authorization of such a number by the POS/POD user. According an 'ad quantity' integer value may be associated with each POS/POD terminal 30, and may be either sent to the ad distribution server 18 as part of the ad request communication from the POS/POD terminal 30, or may be retrieved from the database 38 based on the POD/POS UID that is transmitted in the ad request. At step 205, if the ad quantity value is one, then only the ad of the first highest ranked candidate campaign is selected for printing on the receipt. If the ad
18 quantity value is two, then the ad of the first two highest ranked candidate campaigns are selected for printing on the receipt, for example with the first highest ranked candidate being printed in a more prominent position on the receipt than the second highest ranked candidate. For example, the print job may be configured to print the transactional details at the top of the paper receipt, followed by the first ranked ad immediately therebeneath, and the second ranked further down the receipt below the first ranked ad.
Accordingly, the 'ad quantity value' represents a number of available advertising spaces or spots on the transaction receipt, which are filled sequentially according to the rank of the advertisement campaigns.
At step 206, the final image(s) to be transmitted from the ad distribution server to the POS/POD terminal 30 is/are selected or compiled. In the event that the highest ranked candidate is a print-only (i.e. non-scannable) ad campaign and only one ad space is available for the receipts at the POS/POD terminal 30 in question, then step 206 merely involves selecting the advertisement image that was uploaded by the advertiser at step 111.
On the other hand, if the highest ranked candidate is a scannable ad campaign, then the advertiser-uploaded image needs to be accompanied by a OR¨code.
In such a case, at step 206, the ad distribution server looks up a unique identifier (ad UID) of the highest ranked ad campaign entry in the database 38 (if not previously retrieved) and generates a QR-code in which a URL is encoded that includes the domain name (or IP
address) and path of a resource hosted by the redirection server 20 and a query string that will pass the ad UID to the resource. This way, the QR-code is configured such that scanning of the OR-code of the printed ad by the consumer device 36 will automatically direct the intemet-browsing application of the consumer's device 36 to the resource, where the ad UID is automatically passed to the resource. So for example, if the resource is found at http://www.exampledomain.com/ad_redirect, and the ad UID for a particular ad campaign is 0001, then the QR-code for one ad campaign might feature an encoded URL
that reads http://www.exampledomain.com/ad_redirect?ad_uid=0001, while the encoded URL of another ad campaign might read http://www.exampledomain.com/ad_redirect?ad_uid=0002.
The QR-code image and advertiser-uploaded image may be compiled into a single image. If the ad quantity for the transaction is greater than one, then this image preparation step 206 is repeated for the next highest ranked campaign, until such image preparation is complete for all available ad spaces, at which time the collection of images (or
19 a compilation thereof into a single image) is transmitted to the POS/POD
terminal 30 at step 207 for printing of the image(s) together with the transaction details by the receipt printer connected to the terminal 30. If the ad content specified by the advertiser includes text matter entered into an available text field of the web portal, the text matter accompanies the image(s) transmitted to the terminal 30 for printing.
After step 207, having completed the ad selection process and having successfully communicated the ad content of the selected ad campaign(s) to the POS/POD
terminal 30, the ad distribution server or an associated billing server charges an account of the respective advertiser of each such printed ad campaign at step 208 for their respective Pay-Per-Print bid amount for that campaign. This amount is also added to a running daily total of incurred Pay-Per-Print and Pay-Per-Scan costs for use in step 304 of the active advertisement determination algorithm of Figure 4 in the event that another ad request is received by the ad distribution server later on in the same day. It should be appreciated that additional or alternative budget limit time frames may be employed other than a daily or 24-hour budget limit (e.g. weekly, monthly, etc.).
Figure 6 illustrates a sequence 500 of steps initiated by scanning of the OR-code of a scannable ad printed on a transaction receipt. At step 501, the consumer, or another person with access to the consumer's printed receipt, scans the QR-code with a suitably equipped internet browsing device, which in a conventional manner automatically opens an internet browsing application and directs the same to visit the web resource specified by the URL encoded within the QR-code, as seen at step 502. At step 503, the query string of the URL passes the ad UID of the ad campaign from which the scanned ad originated to the resource hosted on the redirection server, from which the ad UID is passed to the data server 16 and used to look up the ad campaign entry in the database 38 and retrieve the advertiser-specified URL therefrom. At step 504, the advertiser-specified URL is used by the resource to redirect the web browser application of the consumer's mobile device 36 to that URL, whereby the consumer reaches the intended target website specified by the advertiser.
When the resource at the redirection server receives a visit and checks the received ad UID of the query string against the database, the successful match of that received UID to an ad campaign in the database 38 provides confirmation that the QR-code of an ad from that campaign has been scanned. Accordingly, in response to this match, at step 505 the billing server charges the account of the advertiser for that campaign for the Pay-Per-Scan amount that was bid for that campaign by the advertiser. The redirection algorithm performed by the redirection server software thus provides a means by which the facilitator can monetize the scannable advertisement option offered by the system in order to increase revenues compared to use of a Pay-Per-Print model alone.
5 Each scan of the QR-code of an ad campaign confirmed by a visit to the resource hosted by the redirection server 20 is used not only used for billing purposes, but is also used to increment a visit counter that keeps a running total of the number of scans for that ad campaign, which the advertiser is able review by logging into the web portal. If the scan count is low, the advertiser may choose to increase one or both of their Pay-Per-Print 10 and Pay-Per-Scan bid amounts in order to try and achieve a higher ranking among the advertisers competing for available advertising space, and/or modify their condition settings to try and increase the number of transactions for which their ad campaign will qualify as a candidate for printing. The ad selection process 300 of Figure 3 may likewise increment a running print count for any advertisement campaign whose ad is printed, whereby the advertiser can access such information through the web portal to better appreciate the effectiveness of their current campaign settings. For example, comparison of the print count and scan count for a Pay-Per-Scan campaign provides feedback on the number of advertisement prints that are being successfully converted to scans, and thus resulting in traffic to the target URL specified by the advertiser for that campaign.
20 Using the URL (other network address) of a facilitator-hosted resource as an initial destination from which the ad-scanning consumers are redirected to the advertiser's target URL (or other network address) not only enables the facilitator to track the number of scans and charge the advertiser for same, but also allows the facilitator to capture other useful information that may be beneficial to the facilitator and/or the advertiser. For example, the URL encoded into the QR-code may include additional query strings other than the ad UID, such as a unique identifier for the transaction (transaction UID) in response to which the QR-codew as generated. The transaction UID may be generated by the advertisement distribution server in response to an ad request from a POS/POD
terminal 30, and then stored in the database 30 in an entry also containing one or more transaction attributes. Such transaction attributes may include those discussed above, and/or other transaction related information, including particular items/foodstuffs/services purchased in the transaction (as identified by the POS/POD terminal 30), or consumer related information
21 entered into the POS/POD terminal 30 by the POS/POD location personnel, such as the postal/zip code of the consumer's residence, the sex of the user, etc.
When a OR-encoded URL with multiple query strings including the ad UID
and the transaction UID is scanned, the redirection server 20 can pass the transaction UID
on to the data server 16 in order to look up the stored transaction attributes in the database 38, and therefore link these transaction attributes to a confirmed advertisement scan. The advertiser can access this linked information via the web portal, and use such information for statistical purpose, for example to attempt to identify any correlation between consumer QR-code use and industry/business types, industry/business locations, purchase types, consumer types, consumer residence locations, consumer sex (male vs. female), etc.
Accordingly, the system may employ static OR-codes, i.e. printed OR-codes that for a given ad campaign are the same for each and every transaction, or dynamic QR-codes, i.e. OR-codes that differ for every transaction, even for ads printed under the same ad campaign. The generation of the QR-codes at step 206 in the illustrated embodiment, i.e. only after the ad-request communication from the POS/POD terminal 30 has been received and the ad-campaign has been selected for printing, allows the use of either static or dynamic QR-codes. On the other hand, in another embodiment that is configured to only allow use of static OR-codes, the static QR code for a given ad campaign may optionally be generated prior to receipt of an ad-request communication by the ad distribution server, for example immediately upon completion of the ad campaign creation process by the advertiser, or upon approval of the ad campaign by the facilitator for activation. Advertiser's wanting to make use of the extra information that can be garnered from dynamic QR-codes may be charged an additional fee by the facilitator, whether on a flat-rate or per-scan basis, for example in the form of a surcharge added to the Pay-Per-Scan bid amount.
As the system and method of the disclosed embodiment performs a new determination of active ad campaigns, new filtering of candidate campaigns from non-qualifying campaigns, and new ranking of the candidate campaigns in real time in response to each and every ad-placement opportunity (i.e. every time a POS/POD terminal is set to print a receipt), new advertisement campaigns can be added at any time, and existing campaigns can be edited at any time, thus providing greater convenience and flexibility to advertisers who do not need to wait for an 'auctioning off' of available advertisement space in order to compete for advertisement opportunities.
22 A more generalized summary of the detailed embodiment above is provided as follows for further guidance on the general layout and operation of the system and the sequence of events carried out by same.
When the POD is required to print a receipt, it first contacts the ACS to provide it information, such as an address of the POD, industry type of the POD and more.
The ACS then uses the information provided by the POD to look up other information stored on the ACS. Once the detailed profile is retrieved, the ACS generates a list of advertisements for which the advertiser-specified transaction critera yields true, and calculates a ranking Score to determine which advertisement should be printed at the given POD. Once the ACS determines the advertisement for a given POD, it sends a list of advertisements to the POD to format and print. Once the printing is done, the POD may then send the confirmation message to the ACS that the provided advertisement has been printed. At this point, the ACS will then charge the advertiser at the specified pay per print (PPP) rate.
With more particular reference to the process from the viewpoint of the POD, when the POD terminal prints a receipt, it establishes a connection to the ACS
through any one or more various types of available communications means, including a simple Internet connection, VPN connection, phone connection, cellular network connection, etc. The method of connection is not a limitation of the present invention, thus being generalized simply as a connection. Once the POD successfully establishes a connection to the ACS
through an agreed protocol (of which there are various types, and thus does not limit the present invention), the POD presents its identity, which is transmitted through an open secured or non-secured connection (of which a secured connection is preferable, without limiting the present invention) to the ACS and waits for a response from the ACS. Once data is received from the ACS, the POD obtains the advertisement schema in an agreed format (for example well-known data-passing formats such as XML, clear text, serialized data, JSON, and others, which are not detailed further herein since they are not a limitation of the present invention) and starts downloading the advertisement image via an active connection. Once advertisements are downloaded, the POD prints them on the given receipt media. Once advertisements are printed, the POD may start communicating with the ACS to indicate that the advertisements are printed.
With more particular reference to the process from the viewpoint of the ACS, the ACS remains in hibernation mode until there's an incoming packet on a specific port via
23 a communication connection. Once the ACS verifies that the connection is valid, it will validate the protocol to ensure it is an agreed protocol. Once the ACS
validates the connection, it will accept the POD identity and authenticate the POD. Once the POD is authenticated, the ACS will look up the POD's identity in a database of pre-registered information. The ACS will then compile the POD identity and begin looking for all advertisements that meet all conditions of the POD. The ACS will then calculate a Score for each advertisement that matches the attributes of the given POD transaction.
The ACS will then choose advertisements starting from the highest Score and compile a list of advertisement schema which will be sent back to the POD.
Furthermore, after the POD prints advertisements, the ACS may receive acknowledgment that the advertisement has been printed. The ACS then disconnects the communication connection and charges the advertiser based on the bidding Pay-Per-Print rate. Finally, it will log all necessary information into the database, which is used herein in a generalized manner to encompass all suitable forms of data storage, and should not be limited to a particular database type or structure.
The advertisement may include or consist of a QR-code, which will allow the user (the person reading the advertisement, which may be the consumer involved in the POD transaction, but may alternatively be another party) to use their device to scan the code. The advertiser is charged based on a bidding model for the Pay-Per-Scan (PPS) option. The advertisement to be printed is determined by the ACS based on its calculated Score. The advertisement with the highest Score will have the highest probability of being displayed.
Advertisement criteria can be specified as conditions that will be used to determine whether the advertisement is printed for a given transaction. For example:
1. An advertiser can specify when to print the advertisement based on the time, date, and day of the week.
2. The geographical location where the advertiser wants to print the advertisement can be a condition. Location is determined using postal codes, cities, country, communities, etc.
3. The type of industry that the advertiser wants to target can be a condition. For example, a Japanese restaurant, a clothing store, pubs, a computer store, etc.
24 4. The value of the receipt can be a condition. The advertiser can specify that they only want to appear on receipts that are greater than, less than, equal to, greater than or equal to, or less than or equal to value X, which is defined by the advertiser.
5. The weather at the POD can be a condition. For example, advertisements may only display when it's raining since the advertiser is selling umbrellas.
6. The temperature at the POD can be a condition.
7. Purchasing behavior for a target audience at the POD that is printing the advertisement can be a condition.
8. Through facial recognitions at POD, advertisers can specify personal characteristics or conditions under which the advertisement should appear. These personal characteristics can include gender, age group, hair style, etc.
Although the detailed embodiment outlines the performance of certain tasks, processes or algorithms by certain server units within the advertisement cloud server or ACS, it will be appreciate the distribution of these steps of the overall method among multiple servers may vary, or even potentially be handled by a single server of sufficient capability. Likewise, steps described as being performed by the POS/POD
terminal may be performed by a suitably equipped printing device coupled thereto, or other auxiliary or peripheral device having, or being connected to, a suitable processor for execution of statements and instructions on a machine readable memory or medium of that device. The software or algorithms referred to herein are stored on computer or machine readable memory and features statements and instructions for execution by a processor in order to enable a computer to perform the steps, processes, tasks and algorithms described herein.
While the word "print" is used throughout the forgoing description, the scope of the present invention is not limited to printed receipts in particular.
That is, the same general process for incorporating an advertisement into a transaction receipt can likewise be employed for an electronic receipt displayed on a video screen, contained in or attached to an email, embedded within another form of digital media, etc. Accordingly, advertisements that can be distributed on this platform are not limited to printable 2-dimensional images or text, and for example may include 2-dimensional/3-dimensional videos, etc.
Accordingly, for scannable ads for which a QR-code is transmitted from the ACS to the POS/POD
terminal, the Pay-Per-Print value may instead be referred to as a Pay-Per-Image value, i.e. referring to the fee charged for conveyance of a QR-code image to the POS/POD terminal, regardless of whether that QR-code image is subsequently printed on a physical medium, or simply displayed in a scannable manner (for example, on an electronic display screen such as that of a desktop, laptop or tablet computer or mobile phone). Although the detailed embodiments are described in terms of employing QR-codes, other machine readable 5 codes may be used if similarly capable of containing an encoded URL or other network address that can be decoded and used to direct a web browser or other network browsing application to that URL or network address.
The functionality of the present invention can be achieved by independent software performing printing jobs, or can be fully integrated into the software, such as the 10 main software of an overall point of sale (POS) system, which offers the ability to print the receipt. The foregoing embodiments do not detail all possible kinds of software or platforms that can provide the functionality, but rather employs generalize devices, software, and web-based technology that can provide receipts as the point of sale (POS) or Point of Distribution (POD), as available options for implementing the described systems and methods will be 15 apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
Since various modifications can be made in my invention as herein above described, it is intended that all matter contained in the accompanying specification shall be interpreted as illustrative only and not in a limiting sense.

Claims (20)

CLAIMS:
1. A method for management of advertisement campaigns by an advertisement facilitator that distributes advertisement content from advertisers to point of sale or distribution locations at which said advertisements are to be incorporated into transaction receipts, the method comprising:
(a) transmitting advertisement data to a terminal at the point of sale or distribution, the advertisement data comprising machine readable code image data from which an optically scannable code image readable by a mobile electronic device can be incorporated into the transaction receipt as an advertisement element of said transaction receipt for communication of said optically scannable code image to a consumer, the optically readable image data comprising network address data by which reading of the optically scannable code image by the mobile electronic device will direct a network browsing application of the mobile electronic device to visit an initial network address; and (b) in response to visiting of said initial network address by the network browsing application of the mobile electronic device, (i) automatically incrementing a visit count indicative of a number of network address visits associated with said advertisement campaign and (ii) automatically redirecting the network browsing application of the mobile electronic device to a second network address that is distinct from the initial network address and associated with a subject of the advertisement campaign.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein step (b)(i) comprises automatically incrementing a cost-incurred balance owed by the advertiser in response to the incrementation of the visit count.
3. The method of claim 2 wherein step (b)(i) comprises automatically incrementing the cost-incurred balance by a pay-per-scan value specified by the advertiser.
4. The method of claim 3 comprising, before step (a), performing an automatic selection from among a plurality of advertisement campaigns managed by the facilitator in order to determine the advertisement campaign for which the advertisement data is transmitted in step (a), the automatic selection being based, at least in part, on the pay-per-scan value of the advertisement campaign.
5. The method of claim 4 wherein the automatic selection is based partly on said pay-per-scan value of the advertisement campaign and partly on a pay-per-image value thereof, the pay-per-image value having been specified by the respective advertiser and incorporated into the cost-incurred balance in step (a) in response to communication of the optically scannable code image to the consumer.
6. The method of claim 6 wherein performing the automatic selection comprises performing a score calculation for each of the plurality of advertisement campaigns, and the score calculation comprises different weight factors applied to the pay-per-image value and the pay-per-scan value.
7. The method of any one of claims 4 to 6 wherein step (a) and the automatic selection performed before step (a) are performed in response to an advertisement request communication received from the point of sale or distribution and triggered by a consumer transaction at said point of sale or distribution.
8. The method of any one of claims 1 to 3 wherein step (a) is performed in response to an advertisement request communication received from the point of sale or distribution and triggered by a consumer transaction at said point of sale or distribution.
9. The method of claim 8 comprising, before step (a), in response to the advertisement request communication, automatically selecting from among a plurality of advertisement campaigns managed by the facilitator in order to determine the advertisement campaign for which the advertisement data is transmitted in step (a).
10. The method of claim 8 or 9 comprising, after receipt of the advertisement request communication received from the point of sale or distribution, generating the machine readable code image data so as to include at least one query string to be passed to a resource at the first network address when visited by the network browsing application, the at least one query string comprising identifying information for the advertisement campaign.
11. The method of claim 10 wherein the at least one query string also comprises transaction information concerning the consumer transaction.
12. The method of claim 1 comprising, before step (a), receiving from one of the advertisers advertisement campaign information that includes identification of the second network address and then, in response to visiting of the initial network address in step (b), automatically looking up said second network address from said advertisement complain information received from said one of the advertisers for use in redirecting the network browsing application to said second network address in step (b)(ii).
13. The method of claim 12 comprising, before step (a) and after receipt of the advertisement campaign information, automatically assigning a campaign identifier to said stored details of the advertisement campaign and storing said identifier in association with said stored details, and automatically generating the machine readable code image data so as to include a query string to be passed to a resource at the first network address when visited by the network browsing application, the query string including the campaign identifier for use by the resource to retrieve the second network address from the stored advertisement campaign information and redirect the network browsing application to said second network address.
14. The method of claim 1 comprising, before step (a), receiving and storing advertisement campaign information from one of the advertisers that includes identification of the second network address, automatically assigning a campaign identifier to said stored details of the advertisement campaign and storing said identifier in association with said stored details, and automatically generating the machine readable code image data so as to include a query string to be passed to a resource at the first network address when visited by the network browsing application, the query string including the campaign identifier for use by the resource to retrieve the second network address from the stored advertisement campaign information and redirect the network browsing application to said second network address.
15. The method of any one of claims 1 to 15 wherein the network addresses are URLs.
16. A system for management of advertisement campaigns by an advertisement facilitator that distributes advertisement content from advertisers to point of sale or distribution locations at which said advertisements are to be incorporated into transaction receipts, the system comprising:
(a) a first server that comprises a computer readable advertisement storage medium and is in communication with a terminal at a point of sale or distribution, the computer readable storage medium storing advertisement data that comprises machine readable code image data for generating a optically scannable code image that is readable by a mobile electronic device in a manner directing a network browsing application of the mobile electronic device to visit a first network address associated with an advertisement campaign to which the advertisement data belongs;
(b) a second server that hosts a target destination of the first network address and is configured to (i) in response to visiting of said initial network address by the network browsing application of the mobile electronic device, increment a visit count indicative of a number of network address visits associated with said advertisement campaign and (ii) redirect the network browsing application of the mobile electronic device to a second network address that is distinct from the first network address and is associated with a subject of the advertisement campaign.
17. A method for management of advertisement campaigns by an advertisement facilitator that distributes advertisement content from advertisers to point of sale or distribution locations at which said advertisements are to be incorporated into transaction receipts, the method comprising:
(a) receiving advertisement campaign information from the advertisers for said advertisement campaigns;
(b) in response to an advertisement request communication received from the point of sale or distribution and triggered by a consumer transaction at said point of sale or distribution, automatically performing a ranking process among at least some of the advertisement campaigns and matching a highest-ranked one of said advertisement campaigns to said consumer transaction;
(c) automatically transmitting advertisement data of the highest-ranked one of said advertisement campaigns to the point of sale or distribution for use of said advertisement data to incorporate a visible advertisement element into a receipt for said consumer transaction.
18. The method of claim 17 wherein step (b) comprises filtering out inactive advertisement campaigns before the ranking process, and then performing the ranking process only on remaining active advertisement campaigns.
19. The method of claim 17 or 18 wherein step (b) comprises identifying qualifying advertisement campaigns before the ranking process as selected ones of the advertisement campaigns for which conditions set out in the advertisement campaign information are true of said consumer transaction, and then performing the ranking process only on said qualifying advertisement campaigns.
20. A system for management of advertisement campaigns by an advertisement facilitator that distributes advertisement content from advertisers to point of sale or distribution locations at which said advertisements are to be incorporated into transaction receipts, the system comprising:
(a) an advertiser portal server configured to receive advertisement campaign information from the advertisers for said advertisement campaigns; and (b) an advertisement distribution server configured to, in response to an advertisement request communication received from the point of sale or distribution and triggered by a consumer transaction at said point of sale or distribution, (i) automatically perform a ranking process among at least some of the advertisement campaigns and match a highest-ranked one of said advertisement campaigns to said consumer transaction and (ii) automatically transmit advertisement data of the highest-ranked one of said advertisement campaigns to the point of sale or distribution for use of said advertisement data to incorporate a visible advertisement element into a receipt for said consumer transaction.
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Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
CN107392651A (en) * 2017-06-30 2017-11-24 广州市中崎商业机器股份有限公司 A kind of system and method that advertisement is carried out by the cash register paper back side
CN107392650A (en) * 2017-06-30 2017-11-24 广州市中崎商业机器股份有限公司 The big data ad system and method for advertisement are carried out by the cash register paper back side
WO2019000500A1 (en) * 2017-06-30 2019-01-03 广州市中崎商业机器股份有限公司 Cash register paper back-based targeted advertisement releasing system and method

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
CN107392651A (en) * 2017-06-30 2017-11-24 广州市中崎商业机器股份有限公司 A kind of system and method that advertisement is carried out by the cash register paper back side
CN107392650A (en) * 2017-06-30 2017-11-24 广州市中崎商业机器股份有限公司 The big data ad system and method for advertisement are carried out by the cash register paper back side
WO2019000500A1 (en) * 2017-06-30 2019-01-03 广州市中崎商业机器股份有限公司 Cash register paper back-based targeted advertisement releasing system and method
WO2019000502A1 (en) * 2017-06-30 2019-01-03 广州市中崎商业机器股份有限公司 System and method for advertising by means of back of cash register paper

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