At the height of the pandemic, many malls were closed or severely curtailed their traffic. In fact, malls in California didn’t even fully open again until June 15. But with case counts plummeting across the country, people feel ready to return to places with crowds.
A recent survey by Morning Consult, a consumer research company, found that almost two-thirds of consumers say they are comfortable visiting malls, a 7% jump in just a few weeks. Further, nearly half of respondents said they were excited to go back to the mall after relying more and more heavily on online shopping sites like Amazon during the pandemic.
What does this mean for brands? It’s time to re-investigate shopping mall advertising opportunities. A lot is the same as post-pandemic in terms of what’s available, but keep in mind that with shoppers returning to malls, high demand for advertising may squeeze inventory and boost pricing.
We’ve prepared a comprehensive guide to advertising in shopping malls. Learn more about what types of advertising is available, pricing and tips for getting the most out of your ad spend.
Benefits of Mall Advertising
Why is mall advertising an effective idea, and which brands benefit the most from it? The answer to this question certainly differs from what we might have said two years ago. Prior to the pandemic, the future of malls looked more questionable. Store vacancies were up, and foot traffic was down, thanks in part to the rise of online shopping.
But the pandemic changed things in two main ways:
- Since the pandemic began, people have largely avoided crowd situations. Shopping malls have started to buck that trend recently, offering a gathering place where people can social distance more easily than in a movie theater.
- People have tired of only online shopping. They want to see the things they buy in person.
Post-pandemic foot traffic to malls is thus surging. So who stands to gain the most? Brands whose products can be purchased inside the mall are the biggest beneficiaries. Advertising something a person can buy nearby ensures you don’t lose your customer between point A and point B, however far that is. Stores can also gain an advantage by advertising sales, which can entice people into their doors.
What Is Mall Advertising?
Mall advertising includes any kind of ad shown in a mall. They can appear on ceilings, tables, elevators, doors and more. Some of the most popular mall ads appear on kiosks next to the mall directory, since everyone needs to consult the map at some point.
The most common shopping mall ads include:
- Mall kiosks: Large backlit displays. Usually freestanding in the mall walkways.
- Escalator or elevator wraps: Pretty self-explanatory — wraps around the escalator or elevator.
- Sky banners: Hang from the ceiling and may be made from vinyl or other material.
- Small or large banners: Hang in other parts of the mall and are usually skinnier than sky banners.
- Spectaculars: Often located outside the wall and run 60 feet wide.
- Tabletops: Advertising on tables in the food court.
- Digital signage: Screens located throughout the mall that play video. A digital out of home sign may include entertainment content mixed with ads, or it may just play advertisements, which rotate through several advertisers.
How Much Does It Cost to Advertise in a Mall?
Mall advertising rates differ depending on what type of ad you want and where you are advertising. The price range can vary by thousands of dollars, but it generally costs less than transport shelter ads.
The media used in malls has wide price points, making it difficult to pinpoint an average cost. What do you get for your money? Most mall advertising buys last for four weeks. You can cherry-pick what you purchase. You don’t have to buy all the different types of ads, and you may find that some work better than others, depending on your goals. The cost for digital advertising in malls is about the same as traditional, or static, advertising.
Check in with the mall you want to advertise in to see what’s available. Some options are not universal across markets. For example, some malls don’t have escalators or may not carry sky banners.
Pricing obviously fluctuates based on location, and you will pay more for ads in bigger cities. Often malls in suburbs right outside the city have the most desirable inventory.
Shopping Mall Advertisement Do’s and Don’ts
Keep these guidelines in mind as you plan your mall advertising campaign:
- Do: Consider using banner ads at multiple locations. You may be able to bring it from one mall to another, which saves money on production costs. Check with the mall ahead of time to make sure you have the right size and lock in other essential details.
- Don’t: Advertise alcohol. Malls usually don’t allow ads for alcoholic beverages.
- Do: Target kids. Ads that appeal to children usually do well, so skip the subtlety and appeal directly to those under 12. Kids will see an ad for a toy store, for instance, and immediately beg their parents to bring them there.
- Don’t: Forget about brand awareness. Where mall advertising really excels is selling things that are in the mall. Plastering your message in several places throughout the mall ensures you target everyone who’s walking around and reinforces your messaging.
- Do: Consider the unique positioning of your ad as you come up with the creative. Something on a tabletop should carry a different message and focal point than something on an escalator. Think about where the eyes will go.
- Don’t: Neglect to walk the mall. See the location where your ad will go before you buy. Make sure it’s visible from multiple angles.
Getting in on mall advertising as soon as possible could shield you from price hikes as the pandemic wanes. We can help you with creative and placements, so reach out today to discuss your options.