Captivate’s Take on Schindler’s “Communication inside buildings” Whitepaper: Why Agencies and Building Owners Should Be Listening

Elevator leader, Schindler, recently posted a whitepaper, “Communication inside buildings. How to be efficient and effective. The role elevators play” to look at efficient communication trends in buildings, particularly in light of rapid urbanization.

The article discusses the need and value of modern communication and how buildings offer the ideal landscape for agencies to connect with targeted audiences and building owners to impress tenants. Why buildings? 

The article highlights the fact that as our global population swells, so does the need for housing. Most cities can only expand laterally so far, forcing developers, architects, engineers and builders to look to the skies. Vertical growth is, perhaps, an answer to urbanization. As buildings get taller, elevator use increases. What does all of this mean for ad agencies and brands?

As a preeminent digital media network, we at Captivate are intimately aware of the power of advertising in elevators and high-rise buildings. The article piqued my interest because it sheds light on how urbanization is influencing ad spend in digital-out-of-home (DOOH) channels.

The Return to Office Buildings and the Opportunities It Brings

As Schindler points out, workers are returning to offices post-pandemic. Whether by choice or by policy, office buildings are buzzing again, and that means more changes for agencies. 

Agencies have had to be flexible, adapting to shifts in audience purchasing behaviors and physical locations. During the pandemic, they had to shift focus nearly 100% on traditional TV, connected TV, eCommerce and in-app marketing, and social media ads to reach a stay-at-home audience. Now that people are back to work, DOOH is ramping back up, including digital advertising inside of buildings, typically in elevator bays, elevator cabs and lobbies. 

The whitepaper rightly explains how communication needs in buildings are different from that in homes, or even a shopping center, for example. “The most common use cases for building communication are advertising, informing and entertaining,” Schindler says. “Entertaining is about creating enjoyable experiences in a building through communication technology…The main argument for the use cases described is the higher efficiency of a one-to-many medium: messages here are relevant to many visitors within a building and the goal is to create awareness on topics…Unlike online media, where the main goal is direct interaction with one individual person, one-to-many media does not require obtaining an individual’s data, which is coming under increased regulation in most parts of the world.”

More than ever, content needs to connect with its intended audience, and that means being in the right place to reach them with content they can’t avoid. Communication typically occurs during times of waiting—at an elevator bank, in an elevator and in a lobby. Brands can publish ads on highly visible digital screens in these high-dwell-time locations to build awareness among typically hard-to-reach professionals who are making personal and professional purchasing decisions throughout their day at work. 

The ‘Elevator Pitch’ Takes on a New Meaning

The article quotes a consulting firm founder who explains the point, saying, “Elevators become a natural fit for placement of advertisements. In the small elevator space, there is limited audience per trip, mobile coverage is low and there is no distraction. An eye-level digital screen inside the elevator adds life to the ecosystem. The bright colors, smart images, weather indicator, and local news are all relevant for the audience using the elevator, and a welcome distraction. The screen not just intrigues but also informs the audience at the same time…It is a one-to-’highly targeted audience’ medium, and, with the availability of programmatic solutions, advertisers can now micro-target audiences by different parts of the day for various purposes.”

We couldn’t agree more. Our elevator and large-format displays engage hard-to-reach professionals in their places of work quite effectively. We have nearly 11k displays in more than 1,500 office high rises, with at least 53 million monthly impressions. The draw? Well, the location is primary—brands want to be where their valued audience is, and they want their content displayed where their audience can see and engage with it. 

Brands have a concentrated yet timely opportunity to make their pitch. When people spend their dwell time looking at relevant content on the displays, when there’s nothing else to look at, there is a higher likelihood of the content building brand awareness and influencing their purchase decisions.

DOOH Advertising Is Forecasted to Experience the Highest Growth Rate

Schindler contrasts digital advertising with traditional print advertising, showing the media growth forecast through 2025. Not surprisingly, print advertising is near-stagnant to declining, while digital media is trending upward. Its source, MAGNA 2020, forecasts DOOH advertising will increase by 14%, the largest increase of all media types. It’s not just the reach, frequency, targeting and relevance at play; it’s the economics. 

Print media is expensive, and in the context of advertising to professionals in buildings, it’s also labor-intensive, requiring someone to physically hang posters and remove them before they’re outdated. Add in the environmental impact, and some could argue print media in this aspect is obsolete.

Digital advertising removes those hurdles, being labor and energy efficient, cost-effective, and real-time—all while being a more powerful medium to drive awareness and retention. “Digitizing the process reduces the need for paper waste and logistics and enables a building to create multiple messages in the same space. Digital media is an extremely effective form of communication compared to other formats; retention of the message and willingness to view is higher than in online marketing or for traditional billboards,” says Schindler.

Building a Better Experience, One Floor at a Time

Communication isn’t always about pushing a specific brand; it’s also about elevating a building’s appeal with relevant content in an engaging way to create an uplifting experience. This perspective is what drives us. The whitepaper quotes two of our own, Nicolas Beaver, SVP of Real Estate Sales & Partnerships, and Alice Gogh, SVP of Strategy, Innovation & Content at Captivate. They both reiterate the value of effective communication and the power content has when it’s aligned with the right audience.

With people’s attention spans decreasing and the amount and types of content increasing, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to cut through the clutter. Our research consistently finds that “coupling messaging with curated content that is productive, timely, and tailored to the viewer enhances message retention and delivers an uplifting experience,” says Gogh.

What does that mean for an agency? It’s placing ads in brand-safe environments, where other types of content bring added value to the experience. Having the current and forecasted weather, news segments, sports and entertainment updates interspersed with ads and even calming images creates a “lean-in” experience. Viewers get information they can use and find valuable while they’re entertained and offered products and services that contextually relates to them personally or professionally. It truly is a holistic content experience, even if only for a few moments on their rides up and down the elevator. It’s why 95% of tenants we surveyed say Captivate’s elevator screens are an effective way to communicate building information.

Captivating Audiences and Elevating the Building Experience

Yes, people are back to work in buildings that create a canvas for agencies and brands, and an opportunity for building owners to impress their tenants and visitors. Digital elevator and lobby media is quickly becoming a mainstay in top-tier office and multifamily buildings because it’s a direct channel to connect with busy decision-makers during moments of lower distraction. By combining curated content with creative ads, message retention increases and a typically boring or awkward ride in an elevator becomes enjoyable.

There’s much to be gained for agencies and building owners alike, but in the end, it’s about creating a better environment and experience. Learn more at

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