For decades, airport advertising has been one of the most reliable and effective forms of out of home advertising. From reach to audience to receptivity, the medium ranks near the top of nearly every measure. The only problem has been that the past 13 months haven’t been conducive to air travel, with the pandemic sending airport traffic tumbling.
But that appears to be in the past. The COVID threat is beginning to ease, and we’re inching back to travel as usual. That means finding inventory in airports may become very competitive very quickly. Understanding the options and the benefits of airport advertising can help you determine how it should fit into your plans.
What Is Airport Advertising?
Airport advertising encompasses all types of out of home advertising placed in airports to reach travelers. It includes everything from digital displays on a terminal wall to static ads inside an airport shuttle bus to spectaculars on a concourse.
Types of Airport Advertising
The best form of airport advertising for your product depends on your budget and what you want to sell. These are the six most popular options.
1. Backlit Dioramas
You can buy these in the gate or terminal area or in baggage claim, which will be less expensive. Backlit displays light up your ad for people passing by. They come freestanding or on a wall, in all different sizes.
Spectaculars are lightbox static ads that are generally big, measuring up to 15 feet wide. You can buy them in many areas, including near rental cars, at taxi lines and more.
3. Mini Spectaculars
This format is just like a regular spectacular but smaller. They are often placed in arrival areas or concourses.
Airport banners reach across a big portion airport walls between the ceiling and the top of a door or gateway. You encounter many big-name advertisers on these displays because they carry a bigger price tag and capture people’s attention.
5. Digital Video Screens
Just as you see digital video screens in a mall when you walk between stores, such setups also dot concourses and entryways in an airport. Advertisers can film video spots to play on a loop with other advertisers.
6. Airport Shuttles
Shuttles ferry passengers between terminals and include ads inside, which tend to perform well because of the long dwell time.
Wondering about the CNN Airport Network? Up until recently, that would have been an option, but CNN grounded the long-running channel in March 2021, citing decreasing airplane passenger numbers due to COVID and the ubiquity of personal electronic devices. You don’t need a special airport channel when you can stream CNN from your phone.
Why Use Airport Advertising?
Airport advertising reaches an affluent audience of travelers and has been proven effective at delivering branded messages. According to research, most travelers are aware of ads at airports, and they view brands that advertise there as prestigious.
The benefits of airport advertising include:
- Receptive audience: The majority of people traveling are in a happy, excited mindset, making them more receptive to messaging.
- Captive audience: People in an airport have nowhere else to go and nowhere else to look. They need to keep an eye on their surroundings to ensure they make their flight, so they have to see your messaging.
- Affluent audience: Those who travel on airplanes are wealthier than the general population. Luxury brands do well in airports, but so do other categories, including music and entertainment.
OK, But What About COVID?
Of course, airports were almost empty when the COVID-19 pandemic began and for months after. According to a United Nations report, seating capacity for flights fell by half in 2020.
But with the vaccine rollout well underway, and people nursing the pent-up urge to travel and the desire to see faraway family after so many months, the airline industry is poised to rebound. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent announcement that those with the vaccine can travel safely within the United States will undoubtedly spark a mass migration to the airports.
And what will be waiting there? Advertising.
Airport Advertising Costs
In airports, as in just about every type of outdoor advertising, the key to pricing is location. That works twofold. First, advertising in bigger airports is more expensive than smaller ones. And second, the most desirable advertising locations within the airport cost more.
The costliest airports to advertise at are the really big ones, such as LAX in Los Angeles, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and JFK in New York. You can find better bargains at smaller airports, but you won’t reach as many people.
As for pricing for different options, it can vary widely, but it’s mostly based on demand and how many people will see your ad. The most expensive areas are departure areas and gates, where people gather to wait to board the plane. The higher the dwell time, the higher the price.
The least-desirable, and thus cheapest, place to buy airport advertising is baggage claims—here’s why:
- Fewer people check their bags these days because you have to pay a fee. They pack light to limit themselves to a carry-on, so they don’t even need to go to baggage claim. Fewer people = lower advertising price.
- The people who do go to the baggage claim are laser-focused on getting their bags and getting out of the airport. They don’t want to be distracted while they play suitcase rodeo. You can float an ad on a digital screen nearby, but they’re less likely to notice.
How Long Is a Standard Airport Advertising Buy?
Larger airports generally match the standard billboard buy time of four weeks. You face a high demand for the space, so you generally can’t buy a longer period. The competition for the space drives up prices.
At smaller airports where fewer advertisers are jockeying for position, you can find longer durations for ad runs. You may be able to negotiate a two- or three-month stay at a reasonable price. It looks better for the airport if its advertising spaces stay full, so they’re eager for vendors to sell whatever it takes.
Are you interested in learning more about airport advertising? Get in touch with us today to discuss your questions or plan a new campaign.