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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

Billboards - a rural vs urban analysis

OCS 2, the second Out-of-home Consumer Survey (OCS) from Posterscope. Exclusively for readers, here are some key trends and insights on rural vs urban billboards.
We are in an age where advertising budgets are being cut. Adspend, therefore, now needs to be more strategic than ever when it comes to placement and this applies to all advertising, from digital to print to OOH.

More strategic approach

A few years ago, a brand would put up a billboard in a location without much thought or without taking into account any insights to its surroundings. More recently, a more strategic approach has taken place in placing OOH advertising campaigns using various tools that ensure that the decision is the correct one and that the adspend will offer the most value and return on investment.

Whether they live in Sandton or Soweto, people still have to spend time commuting to and from work, they still have to walk through shopping malls and stand in queues. They are still aware of their surroundings when conducting their daily activities and, even though the world is going digital, there is still an opportunity for advertisers to reach their market through the use of OOH advertising methods, in particular billboards.

It is always interesting to know what ad are placed in which areas and Posterscope South Africa has done some intensive research comparing OOH advertising in urban and rural areas that has resulted in some very interesting statistics.


Sixty four percent of billboards pertaining to banking and finance are in urban areas, but there are differences within this:
  • 96% of credit card advertising is being advertised in urban areas
  • 51% of personal banking advertising is being advertised in rural/township areas
  • 89% of insurance advertising is being advertised in urban areas


Fifty eight percent of billboards advertising beverages are in rural/township areas. Within this:
  • 58% of beers sites are in rural/township areas
  • 77% of carbonated beverages are in rural/township areas
  • 87% of fresh milk is advertised in rural/township areas
  • 82% of energy drinks are being advertised in urban areas


Sixty five percent of health and beauty advertising is in rural/township areas. Within this:
  • 79% of pain treatment advertising is in rural/township areas
  • 54% of antacids advertising is in urban areas
  • 89% of toothpaste advertising is in rural/township areas

Some other interesting statistics

  • 39% of cellular network sites are in rural/township areas??
  • 72% of government advertising is in rural/township areas
  • 80% of canned food advertising is in rural/township areas
  • 68% of margarine advertising is in rural/township areas
  • 85% of sugar advertising is in rural/township areas
  • 86% of car brand advertising is found in urban areas
  • 84% of casinos are advertised in urban areas
To conclude, based on the aforementioned statistics, rural/township advertising tends to be for less costly products with a high percentage of focus on FMCG and the personal banking market.

On the flip side, urban advertising is heavily influenced by businesses, the financial sector and retail.

About OCS

Pioneered in 2009, Posterscope's OOH Consumer Survey (OCS) is billed as the world's most in-depth study of consumer behaviour in relation to OOH communications and has over 3000 respondents in SA. Audiences can be segmented attitudinally, behaviourally, or demographically and analysed by environment, with a level of detail unavailable through other syndicated research systems.

Based on the success to market on OCS, Posterscope refined the research and added in many more questions that it received feedback from its clients. OCS 2 contains updated data regarding technology use, direct benchmarking against other above-the- line media such as TV and print, more industry specific data (including Automotive, Financial, Alcohol, Snacks, Soft Drink, Communication, Electronic and Travel) and how media actually influences buying decisions.

Updated at 12.54pm on 15 July 2011.

About Erik Warburg

Erik Warburg is MD of Posterscope South Africa (, part of Aegis Media and one of the world's largest out-of-home communications agencies, with offices in 21 countries. In 2009, under Erik's leadership, Posterscope pioneered the first-ever comprehensive and accurate data on South African media and marketing segments. Email him at and find him on Skype as erik_warburg.