How receptive are urban commuters to ads?

Urban commutes are not known as being the most pleasant, life-affirming experiences. Hurtling through a rainy Monday morning in a crowded train carriage, it is perhaps unsurprising that many young urban commuters take to daydreaming of faraway, sunny lands.

The Urban Socialising Report 2017 by Time Out and Exterion Media has looked at what commuters tend to daydream about and whether ads can effectively leverage this.

Unsurprisingly, it is travel that makes up the majority of commuter daydreams. 80% of the urban millennials surveyed and 67% of Londoners reported fantasising about short breaks while traveling to and from work.

And while you would be mistaken for thinking that this daydreaming involves a dead-eyed lack of awareness of what is going on around them, the data seems to show that brand messaging does cut through. 60% of respondents said that they notice when a new ad appears along their regular route.

Time Out Digital CEO, Christine Petersen, said:

“Our joint research has found a sweet spot for travel advertisers to connect with young urbanites, one of the most complex audiences to understand and target effectively. We know that they are determined to get out and see the world despite - or maybe because of - all the change happening around them, and we also know that they like to daydream about their trips during their commutes.

“This is invaluable knowledge for airlines and travel companies who can tap into this consumer behaviour by optimising their campaigns to make the most of their budget.”

Engagement zone

79% of respondents said that they like to book short trips throughout the year, which shows that travel brands could find a fertile audience in urban commuters.

City breaks are also millennials’ favourite type of holiday according to the study.

The study purports to have identified the optimum ‘engagement zone’ for effectively engaging this information. The report encourages brands to share information (like holiday deals) in the morning and inspiration (such as imagery or potential activities) in the evening.  In this way ‘marketers can make the most of urbanites’ daydreaming nature during their commutes’.

“Time Out was the perfect partner to launch the report, given their in-depth knowledge and understanding of city dwellers, including commuters. There is a huge opportunity to tap into the social lifestyle of this valuable and complex audience in the right place, at the right time,” said Nicola Barrett, head of research at Exterion Media.  

“By using our wealth of data, we can identify socialising audiences on the move and provide data-driven solutions and insight to help brands and advertisers target this young urban audience much more effectively.”

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