Friday, May 13, 2022

Insights: Marketers, Agencies Commute Less Than Average American

The Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group® (AAG) has released an analysis of two recently conducted commuter studies as America reemerges from the COVID pandemic.

The first study, conducted by Nielsen in March 2022, looked at 1,000 American adult 18+ consumers. The second study is from Advertiser Perceptions, the gold standard research firm of marketer and media agencies sentiment, commissioned by the Audio Active Group® and fielded in April 2022. The study probed the personal commuting habits among 300 marketers/media agency personnel as well as their perceptions of how average Americans are commuting.

“The average American will be exposed to billboard and radio ads more often than individuals working in marketing and at media agencies. This is because twice as many people employed by agencies and brands are working from home when compared with the average American,” said Suzanne Grimes, EVP, Marketing for Cumulus Media and President, Westwood One. “Companies are navigating how and when their employees should return to the office. This first-ever look at the commuting patterns of marketing and agency personnel gives our peers a chance to understand how the industry is reacting, as well as compare those commuting habits to the average American.”

Highlights of the analysis of these two studies include:
  • Marketing and agency personnel are commuting to work less than the average American. According to Nielsen, 86% of U.S. pre-COVID commuters are commuting to work. Advertiser Perceptions finds only(63%) of marketers and agencies are commuting.
  • The percentage of pre-COVID commuters working outside the home has steadily increased from 48% in April 2020 to the 86% high in March 2022, according to Nielsen.
  • Advertiser Perceptions reports 37% of marketers and media agencies are working from home compared to only 14% of average Americans who commuted before the pandemic (Nielsen).
  • Advertiser Perceptions finds marketing and agency employees who are commuting are averaging three days a week in the office. Smaller brands and agencies see higher rates of employees commuting to the office (3.54 days on average among firms with 1-999 employees) versus larger organizations with 1,000+ employees (2.88 days on average).
  • Among marketing and agency personnel who are working from home, one in three does not plan to return to the office full time. For those partially commuting, 25% do not plan to return to the office full time.
  • Advertiser Perceptions data also reveals 41% of marketing/agency personnel have resumed in-person media vendor meetings and 33% are already attending in-person conferences/events.
  • Perception vs. reality: Marketers and agency personnel underestimate how many Americans are working outside the home. They perceive 72% of employed Americans are commuting while the Nielsen reality demonstrates that number is higher at 86% and believe 28% of Americans are working from home when only 14% of pre-COVID commuters are still working from home.
The complete analysis of is available at This information is available on the blog as part of Cumulus Media’s commitment to share insights and research findings with the marketing community.

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