SYDNEY: Australians commuting to central business districts are more likely to register advertising on public transport than any other form of out-of-home media new research has shown.

Research business Roy Morgan surveyed more than 3,000 Australians aged over 14 who worked in a central business district (CBD) – overall one in eight are employed there with an average journey to work of around 18km.

It found that public transport advertising – including ads inside or on the side of buses, trains, ferries and trams, at stations, on platforms or in shelters – had reached between six and seven in ten of all CBD workers in the previous seven days, Marketing reported.

The highest rates were evident in Sydney (71%), Melbourne (70%) and Brisbane (69%), falling to 65% in Adelaide and 59% in Perth.

CBD workers in the latter two cities appeared more immune to outdoor advertising generally, being significantly less likely than their eastern counterparts to notice roadside advertising or ads in lifts, foyers and offices.

Just 14% of those in Adelaide and 16% in Perth said they had seen motorway or freeway ads, compared to figures of 30% for Sydney, 37% for Melbourne and 42% for Brisbane.

Similarly, only 21% of those in Adelaide and 27% of those in Perth had noticed ads on screens in lifts, foyers and offices, while 32% in Sydney, 37% in Melbourne and 41% in Brisbane had done so.

Whatever the differences between cities, Tim Martin, general manager at Roy Morgan Research, said the results were proof that out-of-home media were suitable for connecting with commuters, "despite the prevalence of an eyes-on-the-phone approach to travelling".

"That said," he added, "we see major opportunities for smartphone advertising to work closely with digital out-of-home formats, beacons, face/eyeball/image recognition and proximity-based ad targeting services."

Outdoor ad business Adshel has just announced a network of 3,000 beacons across the country while the Outdoor Media Association is pushing improved metrics and detects a shift in agency attitude from indifference to enthusiasm.

But cereals brand Kellogg, which until recently spent 15% of its marketing budget on outdoor before moving it across to digital and TV, has no immediate intention of moving back.

John Broome, Kellogg Australia marketing director, told Ad News he was not suggesting the medium did not work, just that it had not performed as well in ROI terms for the brand as other channels.

Data sourced from Marketing; additional content by Warc staff