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Digital signage for elevators: A versatile tool for communications and advertising

Most elevator rides aren't especially memorable. They usually represent a forced pause in the midst of a busy day, and offer little besides mirrors or plain walls to look at for the duration of a ride. But time spent in an elevator shouldn’t be wasted—in fact, it’s the perfect opportunity to engage with a uniquely captive audience via in-elevator digital signage. 

From sharing real-time news and updates to running relevant advertising and entertainment, you can use digital displays in and around elevators to dramatically improve the tenant and guest experience in your building and enhance internal communication. Elevator advertising is also a great option for business marketers looking to target office workers or shoppers as they go about their daily lives, and can be a smart tool for promoting your brand.

Read on to learn about the benefits of implementing an elevator digital signage network as well as some of the different ways that digital screens in and around elevators can be used to improve communication and generate additional revenue through digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising.

Elevate your messaging and improve communication with  elevator digital signage 

Effective communication is all about delivering the right message, in the right place, and at the right time. An elevator is an excellent place to share targeted content such as news, entertainment, or advertising because it enables you to interact with a captive audience as they go about their day-to-day lives. And digital displays, which capture 400% more views than their static counterparts, are an excellent way to ensure your messaging is seen by elevator users. 

In addition to supporting motion graphics, video, and other attention-grabbing content formats, digital signage is far easier to update than static posters. And without the costs associated with repetitive print production and the labour required to manually change multiple and/or large printed signs, digital signage is a cost-effective messaging medium that can help you save money in the long run. Even more crucially, elevator digital signage can generate additional revenue for your business via third-party advertising (more on that later).

Want more proof that elevators are the perfect place to reach people via digital signage? According to the National Elevator Industry, the average elevator in the United States carries 20,000 people per year, with each elevator user making an average of 4 floor-to-floor trips per day. For business owners, that’s an average of 4 opportunities to engage these users with in-elevator digital signage every single day. Additionally, it’s an average of 4 opportunities to communicate an important message or upsell a service or product. In short, digital signage in elevators presents a fantastic opportunity for brands to connect with a large number of people—and advertisers will be happy to pay a premium to gain access to this space. 

Elevator digital signage system uses and applications

Elevator digital signage is an extremely versatile tool that lets you communicate with consumers in a uniquely captive setting. Display screens installed in elevators can be used to display building and safety messages, real-time news and weather updates, and creative ad campaigns—turning every ride into an informative and entertaining experience for elevator passengers. 

If you’re thinking of investing in an elevator digital signage system, here is a look at some top use cases that will help ensure you take full advantage of your investment. 

Display building-related information

Displaying helpful information on elevator screens helps building tenants and visitors alike. To help people—especially visitors—find what they’re looking for faster, an easy-to-understand building directory can be a powerful wayfinding tool. And you can even make your digital signage interactive by employing a touchscreen. Interactive kiosks in elevator halls and lobbies, for example, allow users to search the directory while they wait their turn to board.

In addition to general building information, you can also display emergency information to help put the minds of elevator passengers at ease. Provide emergency contact info on the digital screens inside your elevators and illustrate the pre-planned escape routes and location of the building’s nearest emergency exits. Knowing that there are protocols in place in case there’s an emergency will inspire confidence in visitors and tenants alike.

Improve internal communication

In today’s competitive commercial real estate market, savvy property owners and managers know that prioritizing tenant experience and communication is crucial for attracting new tenants and retaining existing ones. Elevator digital signage is the perfect medium for internal communications in the office or apartment block, enabling property owners to increase their tenants’ satisfaction, recruit new tenants, and command premium rental prices.

A transparent way to share information with everyone at the same time, digital signage is more engaging and less intrusive than email, and it replaces the old-school notice board with a dynamic digital messaging solution that lets you update content in real time. Elevator screens can be used to display the rules and guidelines that might apply to tenants and visitors. And you can use elevator digital signage to announce upcoming events for the building and let people know about service interruptions. 

Whether it’s a scheduled maintenance run for the elevators or a rooftop barbecue for the tenants, in-elevator signage is a much better alternative than going around handing out paper flyers.

Provide value-added entertainment/Create a new experience

With digital signage, you can transform every elevator ride into an informative and entertaining one. Whether you are installing screens inside the cabins or in the hallway next to the elevator doors, you can use digital signage to create a unique experience for all of the elevator users in your building. 

Picture this: you step into the elevator in your office building after a long day of work and encounter current weather reports, sports scores, and news headlines on a digital screen above the elevator buttons. Maybe you even see live traffic updates that will impact the route you take and save you time on your end-of-day commute. Not only does this digital content offer a welcome distraction for you and the other passengers as you travel between floors, it also provides you with relevant information that improves your elevator experience and is actually, genuinely helpful. 

By creating and uploading the right content, you can inform and entertain your elevator users via digital signage. In the end, though, it’s all about adding real value to the user. Truly effective elevator digital signage content will grab passengers’ attention at the same time as it adds value by providing meaningful insights.

Harness place-based advertising

In-elevator digital signage is a powerful advertising tool that opens the door to exciting new opportunities for digital media placements. Why? Because digital displays allow you to create immersive, memorable, and sometimes even interactive advertising campaigns that reach highly targeted audiences where they already spend their time throughout the day.

Depending on the passenger demographic of your elevators, these unique ad campaigns can reach a wide range of people, from affluent office workers to consumers inside a shopping mall. And as mentioned earlier, the average elevator user takes the elevator multiple times per day; this makes elevators excellent advertising spaces because the repeated exposure will lead to greater recall. And with the elevator serving as a liminal space with minimal outside distractions, there’s a greater chance that elevator passengers will actually look at an advertisement. Similarly, without any distractions, the target audience can more easily and readily digest the content of your ad.

Monetize your elevator screens with DOOH advertising

While you certainly can (and definitely should!) harness your new digital channel to display your own promotional materials, elevator digital signage can also be used to generate additional revenue through the sale of third-party ad placements. That’s right, we’re talking about turning your elevators into vehicles for digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising. 

With the impending end of third-party cookies forcing marketers to rethink their digital engagement strategies, demand for place-based DOOH advertising opportunities is only growing: DOOH ad spend in the US grew 19.1% in 2021 and is predicted to reach $10.3 billion USD globally by 2023. And with the advent of programmatic DOOH (pDOOH)—an automated form of buying and selling that enables better, data-driven targeting—many brands that were previously unfamiliar with DOOH are now incorporating it in their multichannel ad campaigns. In short, a growing number of brands are willing to pay a premium for highly visible and effective DOOH ad placements, and your elevators—with their captive audience, minimal distractions, and large number of daily passengers—are uniquely positioned to meet this demand. 

Elevator advertising has the potential to be one of the most impactful forms of DOOH advertising because it helps combine the reach of traditional OOH advertising with the targeting and technology of digital advertising—all while enabling brands to reach audiences in a unique space that sees a lot of traffic. So if you have digital signage in your elevators and haven’t thought about how to incorporate DOOH advertising yet, you’re leaving potential money on the table. DOOH elevator advertising is a huge opportunity, both for you and for third-party brands, so capitalize on elevator advertising’s growing demand!

How elevator digital signage works: Setup and software requirements

There are multiple different options and placements when it comes to implementing elevator digital signage. You’ll definitely want to place your signage in high-traffic areas to increase the potential audience and number of impressions, but the right height and size of your screen placements will depend on the desired outcome and the specifications of the space itself. For example, if you’re looking to really “wow” your passengers, then large-format digital signage placed prominently in the back of the elevator is a great choice. If you want more visibility, then signage placed near the elevator buttons is another highly-effective placement option.

The types of screens and corresponding hardware components will depend on your chosen installation location (i.e., inside the cabin of the elevator or in the hall near the elevators), but an elevator digital signage system typically consists of:

  • A high-res digital display or screen
  • A digital signage media player 
  • A digital signage content management software (CMS) 
  • The content itself

Whatever setup (or setups) you decide to install in and around your elevators, one thing you’ll definitely want to prioritize investing in is a powerful CMS that’s purpose-made for digital signage. With an automated DOOH CMS like Broadsign’s, you can make real-time content updates, manage display content remotely, and distribute content and ads across a network of any size with automated content scheduling. 

READ ALSO: Choosing the best digital signage software: Top features to look for in 2022


Beyond the necessary components outlined above, there’s digital signage software available on the market today that covers a range of roles in the management of your digital signage network—many of which include powerful tools to optimize effectiveness and efficiency. For example, a supply-side platform (SSP) built for DOOH will enable you to generate new revenue programmatically. And intelligent sales and campaign management tools specifically designed for OOH can help maximize your revenue with smarter sales. 

Why Broadsign’s digital signage software is your best choice for elevator signage 

Broadsign’s industry-leading DOOH platform of integrated tools can help you unlock the full value of your elevator digital signage network through automation, business optimization, and support for programmatic transactions. 

Leave content scheduling and delivery to an intelligent, automated CMS built specifically for digital out-of-home, so you can focus on the bigger picture of running your business.

Connect your elevator digital signage network with whatever sensors, data feeds, analytics platforms, or other software you need to drive your business forward.

Open your elevator digital signage network up to targeted campaigns from around the world—and generate new revenue programmatically—with a self-serve platform for programmatic DOOH advertising.

Optimize your direct ad sales with real-time inventory availability and intelligent campaign management tools specifically designed for out-of-home.

Facilitate local content creation with an HTML5 template-based tool that’s easy enough for anyone to use and keeps content in line with your brand.

Want to learn more about elevator digital signage software?
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