How Bus Ads and Transit Advertising Drive Online Activity

How Bus Ads and Transit Advertising Drive Online Activity

Understanding the Types and Benefits of Transit Ads

“Moving billboards,” “mobile ads,” whatever you call this dynamic out of home (OOH) advertising channel, studies show that advertising on transport - or transit advertising - is the best way to grow brand and engagement offline. 


Placing an ad in or on any mode of transport – be it bus ads, taxis and trains - can be the best way to reach your target audience OOH.  In fact, recent research from Nielsen shows that, as a category, OOH is the most effective offline medium for driving online activity.


The research cited the OOH Online Activation Survey, which revealed that OOH media generated online activations at about four times the expected rate, given its relative ad spend.


Image source


“OOH’s connection to digital media is undeniable,” said Nancy Fletcher from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America . “OOH campaigns boost online engagement more than other traditional media can. As digital ad spend increases, so does OOH’s, because it drives people in the real world online.”

First, what is Transit Advertising?

Transit advertising has the same goal as all other forms of advertising: to help people discover your brand or product or service. Much like online ads, transit ads go wherever your target audience goes. And, unlike digital ads - there are no ad-blockers to stop them!

Types of Transit Advertising

Bus ads

Advertising on buses, like MyCiti, Putco, or the Red Bus tours, is a great way to bring your message to the streets. More effective than a fixed billboard or bus stop ad, bus ads are more targeted at those who share the road with the bus rather than those who share their bus fare. 


Linked to a fixed route, these buses offer brand awareness and exposure to drivers and pedestrians within a predictable geographical range.

Taxi ads

Ideal for reaching high density township areas in South Africa, as well as providing brand exposure to other drivers on the road, taxi ads are a great way to reach localised audiences. 


Whilst there are mixed feelings about taxis in South Africa from both passengers and South African drivers alike, ads on taxis can be a highly effective way to reach a targeted demographic with your products and services. 

Train ads

Advertising in trains, such as the Gautrain, exposes thousands of commuters to your brand and messaging. Ads can be placed in waiting areas as well as inside the train itself. Considering that you have a ‘captive audience’ of economically active commuters, it is a highly effective offline channel.

On-demand and food delivery bike ads

New, innovative, and hyper-targeted, food delivery bike ads are changing the landscape of transit advertising. 


Placing ads on the delivery bike top box, top box fin, driver’s helmet, or through pamphlet distribution, means your brand touches people directly in their homes and neighbourhoods - in areas that buses, trains, and taxis seldom reach. 


Plus, because it coincides with the pleasures of receiving meal deliveries, your brand's association with comfort, ease, luxury, and convenience is implied. 


Additionally, businesses that have ecommerce functionality could gain greater credibility with this channel. When their target market repeatedly sees these branded bikes all over the neighbourhood, it could be perceived that they are making yet another delivery of their products, instead of takeaways! Guerilla marketing at its best.

Advantages of transit advertising

  1. Wider, longer reach. Because transit ads span the duration of a commute, or at the very least, a traffic light, they have a longer length of exposure than they would from a billboard or street pole ad. Plus, audiences are more likely to read the ad more than once while they wait. Transit ads also reach a wider cross-section of the general population, many of whom may not be online
  2. Greater frequency. Due to our daily routines, those who ride buses, or taxis, or order takeaways, are exposed to the ads again and again. This gives the brand a higher frequency of exposure to prime target audiences.
  3. Right place, right time. Many shoppers reach shopping destinations in public transport, where bus ads and taxi ads that promote a product or service at a particular shopping area could be very timely.
  4. Geographically selective. This is especially favourable for local businesses who want to reach the suburb they are located in. Transit advertising is the best way to reach a highly select segment of the population offline.
  5. Integrated campaigns. Transit ads allow you to build a campaign that integrates with digital media with calls to action, QR codes, promos, and more, that direct people to online channels.
  6. Affordability. Transit ads are typically one of the most affordable advertising channels in terms of both absolute and relative costs. An ad on the side of a bus, or a 10-bike campaign, can be purchased for a very reasonable CPM. In fact, delivery bikes boast the most cost-effective channel than other OOH channels.



In summary, using transit ads such as bus advertising, taxi and train ads, and ads on on-demand and food delivery bikes, are a highly effective way to increase brand awareness, to bring your message to areas most offline channels cannot reach, and to drive online activity