Commercial Real Estate & Digital Advertising



Everyone is always vying for the attention of consumers in a world that has a shrinking attention span. Retailers, malls, and even corporate buildings work on finding ways to capture people’s attention. Some have figured out a way of not only using their real estate wisely to win attention of consumers, but to also earn additional revenue.

Out of home advertising has been big business for decades. Everyone is familiar with larger-than-life images on billboards. And, we have all witnessed the transition from traditional billboards, to digital billboards. The latest evolution has been that of full-motion digital spectaculars & wrap-around billboards. Along with these oversized presentations, smaller digital displays have found their way into malls and other commercial buildings.

Studies have shown that consumption is highly dependent on mood. With this in mind, strategic use of billboards can help set the right mood. Researchers have shown that the emotional response of consumers has a far greater impact on their reported intention to make a purchase than does the content of the advertisement. Which means that shoppers are no necessarily driven to purchase by offers and benefits, as much as they are by how a product or service makes them feel.

Brand likability is the most important measure, claims the Advertising Research Foundation, of whether an advertisement will increase the sale of a product/brand. So, what does all this have to do with commercial real estate?

Malls and shopping centers (and the stores in them) are increasingly in competition with online retailers. Office buildings are in competition with work-from-home opportunities, and companies like We Work which offer not just a place to work, but a lifestyle, and feeling of community. To counter the competitive advantage, commercial real estate, and traditional retail is having to come up with creative ways to lure in customers, and tenants. One approach that has proven to work well is the use of digital screens, and billboards (both on the exterior and interior of buildings).

It is not enough to just slap a digital billboard on the side of a building and expect shoppers to flock in. The effectiveness of the digital screens and billboards is amplified by how well they are architecturally integrated, and how well the ‘programming’ is. When expertly executed the digital screens and billboards provide the opportunity for delivering a shopping experience that is conducive to buying.

The Arden Fair Mall located in Sacramento, California has used a combination of digital screens to cover three sides of its central court elevator. This provides them the ability to not only deliver timely advertisements, but to also set a variety of moods depending on the content being delivered through the screens.

It’s important to reiterate that it is not the digital screens themselves, but the delivery of the content that they make possible that is the key to revolutionizing the shopping experience.

Commercial real estate companies, as well as developers can both benefit from looking into how these types of new architectural elements can be integrated into their properties. By taking a measured approach and ensuring the availability of right content is important to the success of such project. There are specialized digital billboard companies which can help advise on the best approach to taking advantage of the hidden potential of commercial real estate.