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Reaching a Captive Audience: The 8 Dos and Don'ts of Place-Based Advertising

Looking to make a lasting impact on your audience? Follow our place-based advertising guide to maximize the value of your ad placements

April 18, 2024

When it comes to advertising, getting the attention of a captive audience can be a game-changer for brands. One effective way to do this is through place-based advertising, such as elevator ads, digital screens in waiting rooms, or interactive displays in shopping malls. With these options, you have a captive audience who can't easily ignore your message. But with that attention comes responsibility, and advertisers must be strategic to make the most of this opportunity.

Here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind:

Do: Keep it Snappy

Time is of the essence when it comes to place-based advertising. You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of your captive audience, so focus on one clear message or call-to-action, like a sale or event.

Don't: Overload with Information

Resist the urge to overload your audience with information. Too much text or too many images will be quickly forgotten or ignored. Keep it simple and focused.


Do: Design for Distraction

Your captive audience is likely bored or restless, so use eye-catching visuals, humor, or thought-provoking questions to engage them. Make your message pop to break through the daily grind going through their heads

Do: Target the Right Audience

Before designing your ad, learn about the area and audience. Are you targeting busy professionals in an office building or families in a shopping mall? Tailor your messaging to the type of people regularly encountering your ad. Use data on the location and its occupants to refine your ads to the right viewers.

Do: Focus on Placement

When it comes to indoor place-based advertising with a captive audience, placement is key to maximizing visibility and impact. Consider where your ad will be displayed, whether it's on a screen in a waiting room or on elevator doors, and ensure that it's visible and not blocked by other objects. Pay attention to the viewing angle and sightlines to make sure that your ad is seen by as many people as possible. By strategically placing your ad, you can increase its effectiveness and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Do: Reflect Your Brand

An effective ad still needs to reflect your brand. Use similar fonts, colors, messaging, logos and imaging as in your other ads to build familiarity and brand recall in the eyes of your audience. Every ad, no matter the medium, should strengthen a consistent brand identity.

Don't: Distract or Annoy

Avoid using startling noises, flashing lights or invasive content that may make people uncomfortable in the confined space. Your audience needs to be captured through interest in your message, not discomfort with the medium.

Do: Analyze for Improvement

Use data and feedback to regularly analyze how your ad is performing. See which versions or placements resonate most with viewers so you can improve weak areas and better target future ads. With data, every campaign can get better over time through an iterative process of testing and refining.


In today's crowded advertising landscape place-based advertising can give you a direct line to a captive audience that can't avoid your message. But with a strategic, targeted approach, that captive audience can become loyal customers. Elevator ads in particular present a unique and powerful opportunity to reach a truly captive audience. With people confined in a small space with little to divert their attention, elevator screens offer unparalleled visibility and engagement potential.

The key advantages of elevator advertising include:

  • Unavoidable impressions - Passengers have no choice but to be exposed to your messaging during their ride. This delivers impressions in a way few other ad mediums can match.
  • High Attentiveness - With limited distractions, riders are highly likely to take notice of well-designed elevator ads, increasing the chances of your message being absorbed.
  • Targeted Reach - Elevator ads allow you to laser-focus your campaigns by building/location to reach specific demographics aligned with your ideal customers

When done right, eye-catching elevator ads can make a lasting brand impression and drive meaningful engagement. By following best practices like keeping your ads quick, engaging and tailored, you can maximize the impact of this unique advertising channel.

Start planning a smarter campaign today.