Airport Advertising vs. Shopping Mall Advertising

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Airport Advertising vs. Shopping Mall Advertising

Airport Advertising vs. Shopping Mall Advertising: Which Is Right for Your Business?

Did you know that there are around 5,000 public airports and over 100,000 shopping malls in America now? That’s a lot of advertising opportunities. In addition, both shopping malls and airports receive a steady stream of people seeking retail entertainment in shopping malls or a weekend getaway at the airport. So while the pandemic has certainly reshaped the future of shopping mall advertising and airport advertising, it’s clear that both are here to stay. 

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, retail and clothing lovers were concerned that shopping malls would become obsolete. However, in June 2020, only about 1,000 of America’s shopping malls were actively operating. Fortunately, the retail industry seems to have recovered to a certain degree. It seems that after almost two years of the pandemic, people became eager for face-to-face interaction and the nostalgic in-person experience of the shopping mall. 

While domestic and international travel was never in danger of becoming obsolete, airports faced a similar plight in 2020 with travel bans. Fortunately, it seems that the world has an even greater appreciation for travel now that they can do so safely.

The question remains, however. Shopping malls and airports are prime locations to target your clients, so where should you advertise first? 

Evaluating Your Target Audience

While the audiences that frequent airports and shopping malls can be similar or even the same, there are important key differences. Think about your target audience. Given their ages and other demographics, would they be more likely to travel for work or leisure? In a given month, is your target audience more likely to frequent a shopping mall or airport? Which one will they visit out of necessity, and which will they visit for enjoyment? These are important questions to ask. 

Benefits and Types of Airport Advertising

Airport advertising is a unique, highly-coveted form because business travelers tend to be more affluent. If you have noticed that luxury goods are popular at airports, their target audience tends to be frequent flyers. Additionally, studies have shown that people traveling for pleasure rather than business are more open to new experiences, such as browsing a new store or clicking a link to a new app. Between security, bathroom lines, and waiting at the gate, airports also provide more downtime for travelers to look around at ads or explore websites on their phones.

There are numerous types of airport advertising at your disposal, including banners on airport walls, digital screens at baggage claims, airport shuttles, backlit dioramas, and even large spectacular ads that can measure up to 15 feet wide. The price of an airport ad can vary based on size and location. Ads near high-visibility areas like gates tend to cost more, for example.

Understanding Shopping Mall Advertising

According to this fascinating case study, three types of people shop at the mall. The first group is the “lovers,” or shopping mall addicts who frequent the mall once a week. This customer group loves to shop and window shop. They enjoy shopping with their friends and likely have a favorite mall. The second group is the “white rabbits” who visit the mall out of necessity and prioritize convenience. Finally, the third group, the “flip-floppers,” can act as lovers and white rabbits. 

If your target audience spends time at a shopping mall, they likely fall into one of these three groups. The differing expectations of these groups might incite you to create campaigns with images and text that caters to their values. This can be successful even if your company does not have a physical retail store. For example, “lovers” may be positively influenced by loyalty programs, in-store events, and opportunities for self-expression. 

If your target audience’s demographics seem to align with this group, think about unique phrases and slogans that will encourage brand loyalty and self-expression. For example, it may be easier to target this group if your company has a physical retail store since lovers enjoy the experience of shopping in person. If you are targeting white rabbits, on the other hand, you might consider using branding that references saving time and money. 

Benefits and Types of Shopping Mall Advertising

Shopping mall ads can include signs placed on digital displays, in kiosks, or above escalators, as well as spectaculars hanging inside the mall or placed just outside of it. In addition, you may have seen static images that rotate in addition to more dynamic or interactive digital displays in malls. 

The benefits of shopping mall advertising include that your target audience is already prepared to spend money in this location. Even if your company does not have a physical location in the mall, shoppers are more prepared to make a purchase. In addition, mall shoppers tend to spend more than a few hours in the mall and navigate solely on foot, leaving plenty of opportunities for ad exposure.


In choosing whether to begin a new ad campaign at the shopping mall or the airport, it’s important to evaluate the needs and values of your target audience. Setting attainable goals for yourself and your team throughout the campaign is vital. What do you want to accomplish targeting your audience at this specific location? Talk to your creative team about which phrases and images might resonate with this audience. Whichever location you choose, both shopping malls and airports have the potential to generate millions of new client impressions.

Airport Advertising vs. Shopping Mall Advertising

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