The Most Effective Ways for Airports to Use Digital Signage

Samantha Brault | May 2, 2019

As the global middle class continues to grow, so too does the proportion of people taking to the skies in search of adventure and opportunity. In 2018, the International Air Transport Association announced that annual passenger numbers exceeded 4 billion in 2017, with Asia, Europe, and North America representing the top three markets for flights, respectively. This number is likely to increase.
With this increasing volume of travellers, there are both new opportunities to generate more revenue and greater challenges for delivering a good experience to travellers. By making extensive use of digital signage installations throughout the airport, airports can take an important step toward addressing both.

Improve the travel experience with digital signage

According to Finavia, the biggest sources of stress for most fliers are travellers feeling unsure about what to do at the airport, travellers feeling rushed, and the crowds and noise at busy airports. While digital signage can’t do much about crowds, it does offer a good tool for helping to deal with the other two stressors.
In answer to both, airports can incorporate digital directional signs, signs offering helpful tips and reminders, or even interactive kiosks with wayfinding or other on-demand services. Particularly in large airports where trams, buses, and other forms of transportation are required to ferry passengers from one end to another, these kinds of installations can be a great help in getting people on their way.
Example: Hamburg airport adopted a digital wayfinding system that includes personalized directions, a directory of shops and restaurants, and other useful features. The installations resulted in a better user experience and increased sales at the airport’s stores.

Even for those signs that are meant to be non-interactive, there is real benefit to going with a digital option over static signage. Digital is brighter, and can be more colourful or even incorporate animations to better highlight the information that is being delivered. They are also more easily adaptable to changing circumstances. In an emergency, for example, digital displays can be made to display directions to emergency exits or other special messaging that travellers need.

Go big with advertising across the airport

Fliers are often adventurous, eager to find great new experiences or products that speak to their needs or interests. This makes them ideal candidates for a range of advertisers. What better place to reach them than in the airports they have to travel through?
Watch: This video from JCDecaux is a nice, quick runthrough of some of the opportunities that digital signage advertising can offer in airports. Take a look!

The transitory nature of airports makes for truly diverse opportunities for media sales. In the short term, passengers might be moved to buy snacks or drinks available in one of the airport’s shops or restaurants. Ads for longer-term products or experiences, like tours, attractions, or even destinations for future trips, might also appeal.
Whatever the buyer’s needs or desires, airports also make it easy to use advertising to specific purposes. For a highly targeted buy, such as for specific activities or destinations, it’s easy to automatically place ads on screens near gates serving particular destinations. Why not put an ad up for a Jamaican snorkeling trip on a screen right near where fliers heading to Jamaica are gathered? For broader buys by big, popular brands that want to make a splash, it’s also easy to do takeover campaigns that deliver the same ad all across a terminal or airport all at once.
Example: This campaign for Schweppes ran on several digital screens owned by MMD Media in Eindhoven Airport, including one huge one, concurrently, making a big impact.

Entertain and inform with onscreen content

Being bored in an airport is almost as much a part of the experience of flying as actually being in the air. Travellers often find themselves waiting for hours without much to do and nothing to hold their attention, just hoping their flight home won’t be delayed.
Digital signage content can make a world of difference. Content providers like Screenfeed are ideal tools for putting news, weather, sports, and all kinds of infotainment right in front of audiences who will likely appreciate it.
Here again, an airport can use its unique position to go beyond the basic and deliver truly engaging content. It would be a simple thing, for instance, to deliver news and infotainment relating not just to the area in which the airport is found, but to the eventual destination. On screens located in a waiting area for passengers headed to Madrid, for instance, the airport could display images of popular tourist sites, weather updates for Madrid, or even useful Spanish phrases that travellers might like to know.
Every destination offers its own unique mix of attractions that can inspire content, meaning there are virtually no limits to the creative content ideas that can be shared here.

Explore new horizons with programmatic

The big story in digital out-of-home advertising today is programmatic transactions. With programmatic, buyers are able to purchase advertising based on external data triggers. This does a great job of maximizing relevance and impact.
Once again, airports offer many tantalizing opportunities for leveraging this capability. Rainy weather outside? Airlines might want to put up ads for tropical island vacations. Flight just pulling in? They might want to have an ad for a destination similar to the flight’s origin go up on the  screens when the passengers are entering the terminal.
Programmatic digital signage advertising is often a part of a larger omnichannel campaign that includes web, social media, and mobile advertising, and is quickly becoming popular with larger brands. Choosing a digital signage platform that enables programmatic could help airports get a piece of that growing omnichannel pie.

Programmatic transactions can create exciting new demand for airport ad inventory


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