Download our
media kit
< Back

Digital-out-of home advertising traffic in residential and office towers during COVID-19

New insight into the magnitude of COVID-19’s impact on OOH traffic across Canada’s major markets.

May 14, 2020


  • Residential towers are the only out-of-home advertising segment that has retained significant traffic numbers throughout the pandemic
  • Office towers have followed similar traffic patterns to traditional channels like billboards and bus benches. There is very little audience currently.
  • Attention time for screens in our residential buildings is up, potentially because residents look to the screens for building news or updates on proper COVID-19 protocol

Of all the different types of marketing, the world of Out-Of-Home (OOH) marketing has perhaps been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Billboards and bus benches across the country are receiving a tiny fraction of the impressions they usually get as Canadians stay home in the effort to prevent the spread of the virus. But there is one segment of the OOH world that has retained audience during these chaotic times: residential elevator advertising. 

For the first time ever, we’re excited to share with you traffic data from our cross-Canada network. 

At the start of the pandemic, we wanted to investigate if people are actually staying in their homes and how the behaviour varies by city. “Given that the journey into OOH starts and ends with residential buildings, this data can be useful for media planning for brands that continue to invest in OOH during the pandemic,” said Brady Cassidy,  our VP of Growth. “Traditional OOH estimation techniques, which have always been low fidelity, are even less valid these days.” 

Let’s take a look at our residential findings first:

Residential and Office Traffic Data

Vertical Impression 1st Party Data

In this chart, you’ll see the change in traffic for residential high-rise buildings in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.

Initial traffic drops began around March 15th, as community-related transmissions passed 200 and began accelerating. 

Using our proprietary traffic measurement of elevators in high-rise buildings, we found that Toronto residents are staying home the most as it’s traffic has dropped 56%. Edmonton, on the other side of the spectrum, has only dropped 21% – meaning 79% of the traffic remains. For Vancouver, 70-80% of the traffic remains, whereas 62-70% of Calgary’s traffic remains. 

Using commercial buildings for contrast, traffic is down 83-87% – meaning only 13-17% of pre-COVID traffic remains. The interesting finding from commercial traffic is that all cities show a very similar pattern.

Reader note: the dips are the drop in traffic on weekends

As property managers struggle to be on-site to notify residents of building news and community notifications, Vertical Impression has reported seeing a significant increase in engagement with their elevator screens, as property managers are using the network to communicate with residents remotely. 

What does this mean for your marketing campaigns?

As marketers across the country scramble to connect with Canadians now that the traditional playbook has been thrown out the window, we recommend considering elevator advertising as a physical add-on to your digital campaigns. Vertical Impression is the only elevator advertising network in the world that can provide you digital-style analytics on who your campaign is reaching and how effective your ads are, thanks to our AI-powered targeting technology.

If this data interests you, we have much more we can share to help plan an effective marketing campaign during this difficult time. Contact us here to learn more.

For all media inquiries, please contact us at

Start planning a smarter campaign today.