Train ridership remains high in 2022, and as rail continues to proliferate throughout the US, this advertising space will continue to dominate in many regions.
What is Train Advertising?
Train advertising is a common form of out-of-home media that places ad content on trains or their stations. Whether you place an ad on the train car itself or prefer to advertise on train platforms, this form of transit advertising gives you a lot of flexibility.
Like other forms of transit advertising, like bus advertising, train ads target commuters and foot traffic around train stations. Internal train car ads display your content before a captive audience, giving them something to look at and think about while they commute to and from work. Transit provides a lot of different advertising opportunities, and trains are especially useful for companies looking to target suburban areas. Many commuters take the train to work, traveling from suburbs into city centers, giving you unique access to a desirable consumer demographic.
Types of Train Ads
When it comes to train advertising, you have several different options. Ads can appear in several different formats at one station, or you can just choose one display method that best suits your marketing goals and budget. With any form of outdoor advertising, train ads give broad exposure to your content.
A backlit diorama is essentially a mini digital billboard within a train station. These displays are located on train platforms, and display your content on a bright backlit screen.
Backlit Diorama Dimensions
The average backlit diorama is 62 inches wide and 43 inches high.
2-sheet ads are positioned along station walls, and provide widespread exposure to commuters passing through the station.
The average 2 sheet advertisement is 60 inches wide and 46 inches high.
Digital/LED/Video ads display digital content either inside the train car itself or within the station. Often featured in busier train stations, digital/LED/video ads are especially eye-catching and give travelers something to watch while they wait for the next train. Content can include static digital images or video content. Digital ads offer additional creative flexibility: ads can be designed to update with the latest information, for example, or countdown to upcoming events that you’re trying to promote.
The average digital/LED/video advertisement is 1920px wide and 1080px high.
A train exterior ad wraps the train car itself in your content. Exterior ads include full or partial train wraps. Exterior ads are popular for light rail since they do a significant amount of travel alongside city streets, giving the ad increased exposure.
Train Exterior Dimensions
The size of a train exterior advertisement varies. Work with a reputable advertising agency to determine the right size for your ad.
Interior Car Card (Vertical and Horizontal Formats)
Interior car cards include advertisements placed inside the train car itself. These are usually geared towards commuters, since they will only be seen by passengers riding on the train. There are different sized cards available, whether you choose a smaller vertical format or a larger horizontal format. Interior car cards are typically one of the most affordable options.
Interior Car Card Dimensions
The average vertical format interior car display is 21 inches wide and 22 inches high. The average horizontal format interior car card is between 28 and 70 inches wide and 11 inches high.
Urban panels are outdoor advertising boards that display your content outside of the train station. Essentially, urban panels are mini billboards that either line a wall or mark a station entrance.
Urban Panel Dimensions
The average urban panel advertisement is 60 inches wide and 30 inches high.
Station domination does precisely what it says: it dominates a train station with your designs, ensuring that there will be no ad clutter to distract from your content. With this technique, travelers will see your content in many different places, including at turnstiles, kiosks, and along walls, which is proven to boost brand recall and conversion rates.
How Much Does Train Advertising Cost?
Train advertising is one of the most cost-effective forms of outdoor advertising, with options for nearly every marketing budget. Pricing will vary depending on whether you choose interior car cards or exterior ads, for example, and whether your content is static or digital. Advertising in dense urban areas like NYC can carry a higher price tag, but you can expect to pay between $50 and $2,000 for a train advertisement. Station domination usually costs between $25,000 and $75,000 per station for a 4-week timeline.
Is Train Advertising Effective?
Rail advertising is proven to increase brand awareness, and is a great way to target geographic areas. Station advertising is a popular method for advertisers looking for an effective and cost-efficient method to transmit their brand message.
For an especially impactful advertising campaign, consider station domination, which blankets a specific rail station with your content. With this technique, you can rest assured that your advertisements will receive maximum exposure and engagement.
Where Is Train Advertising available?
Trains are common throughout the US, but the most popular advertising spots include the Long Island Rail Road and Union Station in New York. Depending on what demographics you are hoping to reach, you may be able to place your ad in a specific train station that reaches your target population.
Pros and Cons of Train Advertising
The biggest pros of train advertising is the ability to design high impact ads that target commuters and travelers in desirable locations, like urban centers and affluent suburbs.
There are few cons to train advertising, but with any outdoor advertising campaign it can be difficult to measure outcomes. Since it’s impossible to determine how many people actually saw your ad, marketing agencies have to get creative when it comes to measuring the success of their OOH campaign. Common approaches include tracking CPM and comparing those metrics to conversion rates.
Who Should Use Train Advertising?
Train advertising is perfect for advertising upcoming promotions and events, or for gaining general brand exposure. Since trains are highly local, ads can target specific demographics and locations with tailored content. If you operate a local business, train advertising can share key information about your company and the types of services you offer to local residents.