Transit advertising is one form of outdoor advertising, a category that also includes billboards, phone booths, and taxis. Changes in the market for outdoor advertising and the evolution of the advertising sales industry have and will continue to affect transit agencies and transit advertising in significant ways.
Transit advertising especially valuable when an advertiser wishes to target adults who live and work in major metropolitan areas. The medium reaches people as they travel to and from work, and because it taps into daily routines repeated week after week, transit advertising offers an excellent means for repetitive message exposure. In large metro areas such as New York City - with its 200 miles of subways and 3 million subway riders - transit ads can reach large numbers of individuals in a cost-efficient manner. The once-utilitarian bus stop has also become big business, with all the usual complications, as outlined in the Ethics box.
When working with this medium, an advertiser may find it most appropriate to buy space on just those train or bus lines that consistently haul people belonging to the demographic segment being targeted. This type of demographic matching of vehicle with target audience derives more value from limited ad budgets. Transit advertising can also be appealing to local merchants because their messages may reach a passenger as he or she is travelling to a store to shop.
A few national advertising sales firms account for the bulk of transit advertising sales, particularly in large media markets. Regional and local firms serve mid-size and smaller media markets that primarily appeal to local advertisers and thus do not need the connections to national advertisers that the large firms offer.In major US media markets, Viacom Outdoor is now the leading company for sales of transit advertising. Viacom Outdoor sells bus advertising in 9 of the 10 largest US markets.
Advantages of transit advertising
There are several advantages of transit advertising:
- precise, concise, and consequently effective
- generally lower in cost than any other advertising medium
- captures attention primarily because of its size, colour, and position
- can appear for a brief or long period of time in strategic locations
- exposure may be frequent, depending on the viewer's method of transportation
- may be seen by large and diverse groups of individuals
- may be timely, depending on the viewer's location in proximity to the advertiser
- generally reaches its intended target media
Disadvantages of transit advertising
There are several disadvantages of transit advertising::
- transit advertising does not allow the advertiser to communicate products features and benefits or the product's advantages over its competition
- transit locations or positions may be limited or not available when advertisers desire them
- may not be seen as a result of inclement weather or other conditions
- is not necessarily flexible, in that the message must be brief and the advertising must stay in place for a specified period of time
- may reach people who are not necessarily interested in what is advertised
- formats may not exist in some markets. Not every city has mass transit, for instance.
- may be destroyed by inclement weather
Examples of Transit advertising
- Bus Advertising: Bus advertising involves placing advertisements on the outside and inside of buses. Ads can be placed on the sides of the bus, on the back, on the roof, and in the interior. The cost of this type of advertising varies depending on the size, location, and duration of the ad.
- Train Advertising: Train advertising, like bus advertising, involves placing ads on the exterior and interior of trains. Ads can be placed on the sides of the train, on the roof, and in the interior. Train advertising is usually more expensive than bus advertising because of the higher visibility of trains.
- Streetcar Advertising: Streetcar advertising involves placing ads on the outside and inside of streetcars. Ads can be placed on the sides of the streetcar, on the roof, and in the interior. Streetcar advertising is usually less expensive than train advertising because of the lower visibility of streetcars.
- Subway Advertising: Subway advertising involves placing ads on the walls, floors, and ceilings of subway stations and on subway trains. Ads can also be placed on the exterior of subway trains. Subway advertising is usually more expensive than bus and streetcar advertising because of the higher visibility of subway stations and trains.
- Airport Advertising: Airport advertising involves placing ads in airports such as on signs, walls, floors, and ceilings of the airport. Airport advertising is usually more expensive than other forms of transit advertising because of the higher visibility of airports.
- Taxi Advertising: Taxi advertising involves placing ads on the outside and inside of taxis. Ads can be placed on the sides of the taxi, on the roof, and in the interior. Taxi advertising is usually less expensive than airport advertising because of the lower visibility of taxis.
- Dynamic advertising: Dynamic advertising is a form of digital advertising that allows for more interactive, engaging, and personalized content. This type of advertising allows for ads to be tailored to the individual, giving them a more personalized experience.
- Geo-targeting: Geo-targeted advertising allows for ads to be tailored to a specific location, such as a city or neighborhood. This type of advertising allows for ads to be more relevant to the area and helps to ensure that the ads are being seen by people who are more likely to be interested in the product or service being advertised.
- Mobile advertising: Mobile advertising is a type of digital advertising that is designed to reach users on their mobile devices. This type of advertising is often used to target people who are on the go and is often seen as more effective than traditional advertising methods.
- Social media advertising: Social media advertising is a form of digital advertising that allows for the targeting of specific individuals or groups on popular social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. This type of advertising allows for more personalized messaging to ensure that the ad is seen by the desired target audience.
In summary, there are many other approaches related to Transit advertising, such as dynamic, geo-targeted, mobile, and social media advertising. These approaches allow for more interactive, engaging, and personalized content that is tailored to the individual or area being targeted.
- T. O'Guinn, C. Allen, R. J. Semenik 2010, p.588
- B. Schaller 2005, p.16
- E. Applegate 2011, p.184
- E. Applegate 2011, p.186
|Transit advertising — recommended articles
|Outdoor advertising — Advertising media — Above-the-line advertising — Below the line advertising — Types of advertising — Advantages of online advertising — In store marketing — Buzz marketing — Promotion mix
- Applegate E., (2011), Strategic Copywriting: How to Create Effective Advertising, Rowman & Littlefield, Toronto.
- O'Guinn T., Allen C., Semenik R.J., (2010), Advertising and Integrated Brand Promotion, Cengage Learning, New York.
- Schaller B., (2005), Transit Advertising Sales Agreements, Transportation Research Board, Washington.
Author: Adam Jawor