Blog about successful marketing strategies in russia

Features of Indoor advertising placement in the Russian subways



Share this Post

The Moscow Metro reports that in the first quarter of 2024, passengers of the capital's subway made more than 570 million trips. This figure is four times higher than the entire population of Russia. Other cities with subways are also showing strong positive dynamics. For example, in 2023 the passenger traffic of the Novosibirsk subway increased by almost 10%, and that of the Kazan subway by 17%

The subway is used by millions of people from all walks of life: children, pensioners, students, working people, businessmen, and entrepreneurs. A huge passenger flow of people passes through the entrance, through turnstiles, lobbies, and escalators along long corridors and passages to stations and into train cars daily. At each movement stage, they are met by indoor advertising of various formats and levels: screens, light boxes, stickers along escalators and on station platforms, and advertising in subway cars. 

Subways are one of the most attractive platforms for indoor advertising, and this article will discuss why. We will also consider the specifics of advertising placements in the subways of major Russian cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Kazan, and Nizhny Novgorod.

Fast Overview  of Top five Russian subways

Moscow and St. Petersburg have the largest subways. They are, in fact, entire "cities underground." The subways in Novosibirsk, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kazan are much more modest, consisting of one or two branches.


Indoor Advertising in the Russian Subways: Capture Millions of Daily Riders


Moscow subway

The Moscow Metro has a long and illustrious history, dating back to 1935. It is the busiest in Russia, with 2169.4 million passengers annually. That's almost twice as many as the next busiest subway system. The Moscow Metro has 14 lines and 270 stations. These figures are not final. It is constantly growing in size, new stations are being opened, branches are being extended, and new ones are being built. The stations are worthy of special mention. Each has its own history and its own unique charm and style. 

St. Petersburg subway

It is the second-largest metropolitan area in Russia. It consists of 72 stations, 125 kilometers long, and serves 603.1 million passengers a year. The St. Petersburg metro is the deepest in the country at 86 meters, which is the height of a 25-story building. Some metro stations are landmarks of the city. For instance, the station "Ploshchad Aleksandra Nevskogo 2" is constructed in the style of an ancient fortress.

Novosibirsk subway

This metro is unquestionably the longest metro bridge in Russia and the easternmost metro in the country. In 2023, the metro carried 84.5 million passengers. It consists of two lines and 13 stations. The subway was founded in 1986 and has transported more than 2.5 billion people during its entire existence.

Nizhny Novgorod subway

It is the fourth largest metro in Russia in terms of passenger traffic. One hundred and fifteen thousand people use its services every day, and that adds up to around forty million a year. The metro was founded in 1985 and consists of two branches and 15 stations. It is worth noting that the four-track station Moskovskaya was first introduced here, and in 2017, Nizhny Novgorod residents were the first in the country to use contactless fare payment.

Kazan subway

It is the youngest metro in Russia opened in 2005. The Kazan Metro has just one branch and 11 stations, a total length of 17 km. The central metro stations are unquestionably the city's landmarks. They are stylized under Tatar architecture and mythology. The Kazan metro set a new record in 2023, with 77.1 million passengers.



Passenger traffic per year, mln



St Petersburg






Nizhny Novgorod

about 40 

Basic Indoor Ad formats in Russian subway

Russia's subways carry three billion passengers a year. It is the largest advertising platform with a huge reach. The metro area is full of various advertising media, including billboards on escalators, digital city-formats at stations, light panels and lightboxes in lobbies and passages, stickers on turnstiles, navigation signs, and advertising on vending machines and in train cars. The metro is rapidly developing in both the capital and the regions. New stations are appearing, the number of trains is increasing, and passenger traffic is growing.


Indoor Advertising in the Russian Subways: Capture Millions of Daily Riders
Moscow Metro audience

Let's take a look at the most common indoor advertising formats in Russian subways.

Digital city format in the subway

These are high-definition LED screens. They broadcast video clips. These structures are installed on subway platforms in places where large crowds of passengers wait for their trains. This format of placement allows for successful image and navigation advertising campaigns. The size of the advertising structure varies, but the most common are digital screens measuring 1.28×1.76 meters.


Indoor Advertising in the Russian Subways: Capture Millions of Daily Riders
Digital city-format on the platform of VDNKh station of the Moscow Metro's Kaluzhsko-Rizhskaya line

Digital screens in the subway

Digital screens come in a variety of sizes. As with the city format, they are installed in the areas of the highest passenger traffic flow: lobbies, crossing points, metro entrances, and exits, and near stairs and escalators. 


Indoor Advertising in the Russian Subways: Capture Millions of Daily Riders
5.12×1.66 m digital screen in the lobby of the St. Petersburg metro station

Advertising stickers in the subway

Advertising stickers are placed in subway cars. To maximize the effect of this format, the creative must be placed in an easily viewable and readable layout in places of frequent eye contact with passengers. It must be placed in a position that allows it to be seen by both seated passengers and those standing in the aisle of the car.


Indoor Advertising in the Russian Subways: Capture Millions of Daily Riders
Advertising stickers in a Moscow subway carriage

Light boxes in the subways

These light boxes with built-in backlighting will attract the audience's attention even in the absence of daylight. This advertising design is the perfect choice for small and medium-sized businesses and large companies alike, offering an affordable cost of placement. One common example of advertising light box placement is along escalators leading to and from the subway. The depth of the subway in Russia is one of its defining characteristics. The descent to some stations can take up to five minutes, during which passengers can see the advertising on the light box unobstructed. 


Indoor Advertising in the Russian Subways: Capture Millions of Daily Riders
Advertising on 0.615×0.915 mm light boxes on the escalator of St. Petersburg subway

Out-of-the-box advertising creatives in the subway

Let us consider non-standard ways of placing indoor advertising in the subway. 

In 2023, the Russian mobile operator MTS launched an advertising campaign in the Moscow subway in support of high-speed internet. The lobby of the Rizhskaya metro station was the chosen location for the advertising. The brand placed an unusual digital screen with curved shapes measuring 4x2.5 meters. The advertising design resembled a "flying carpet" and made a clear association between MTS Internet and this fabulous vehicle.


Indoor Advertising in the Russian Subways: Capture Millions of Daily Riders
MTS digital non-standard shape display at the Rizhskaya station of the Moscow Metro

The subway of St. Petersburg provides another excellent example of a non-standard approach to indoor placement. They placed posters with access to the interactive library with QR codes, which allow you to read or download famous works of Russian classics. This creative was part of the In the Subway with a Book project. It was seen at six leading stations of the St. Petersburg subway. QR codes are an effective tool for outdoor and indoor advertising. They allow the audience to access quickly the brand's website.


Indoor Advertising in the Russian Subways: Capture Millions of Daily Riders
Creative QR-code of the project "In the subway with a book" in the lobby of the St. Petersburg subway

Subway advertising reaches a huge flow of passengers of different ages and incomes every day. They are all potential buyers of goods and services, so they are of interest to advertisers.

Digital city formats, digital screens, light boxes, and stickers—there are plenty of ways to get your message out to potential buyers. Subway advertising is also prioritized in a huge selection of locations. There are half as many advertising opportunities inside any airport as there are inside the Russian subway. 

Do you want to order advertising placement in Russia, but don't know where to start? Will it be an Outdoor project or is it better to consider Indoor options? Maximize your budget and achieve maximum coverage with our expert guidance. We can answer all your questions. Contact our managers today by filling out the application form in the contacts. You will receive quick feedback with strategic suggestions. 

Our special industry report provides invaluable insight into the Russian media market, and it's available to all clients interested in it. 

How does the Media Buying Market in Russia Work?

Navigating the Media Buying System in Russia

Download for free

Download for FREE

Ready to partner with the specialists in Russian marketing and advertising?

Contact us

About the Author

Digital Strategist. Head of one of the project groups at RMAA. Maria started her journey in digital marketing in 2009. 

Author Maria Romanenko

We use cookies to improve your personal online experience.

Learn more