Bus stop advertising is a highly effective way to ensure your ad gains excellent exposure to pedestrian and vehicular traffic in busy urban areas.
2015 saw nearly 5 billion individual passenger journeys in England alone. In London, 5,000 bus shelters serve 6.5 million passengers everyday, and advertisers have the pick of 15,000 backlit panels to put their message in front of the capital’s diverse population.
In Edinburgh, a major new rollout of premium Outdoor advertising locations includes a spate of digital bus shelters with 84″ screens in prime locations, sporting a new design by Lord Norman Foster.
Here are our 7 tips and tricks for the effective use of bus stop advertising in your campaigns.
#1 Offer distractions
Bus stop advertising catches people in a rare moment of stasis whilst in transit. They are looking for distractions at this point, making the humble bus stop advertisement a very powerful messaging medium. This Lucozade advert offered spontaneous fitness routines whilst waiting for the bus.
#2 Use bus stop advertising to take advantage of extended dwell time
Whilst your audience tend to briefly glimpse most forms of street-level advertising as they go about their daily business, a bus stop advertisement will be read and scrutinised by passengers waiting for a bus. This is a great opportunity to foster engagement. QR codes, NFC, or Snapchat Geofilters are just some of the strategies available to today’s marketer.
#3 Go local
The ubiquity of bus stops in urban areas makes them a perfect way to roll out location-specific advertising. KFC are taking advantage of bus stops in proximity to their fast food outlets with their Colonel Sanders Snapchat selfie campaign. When planning your campaign, you can pull up a map of available bus stop ad space to mount localised campaigns, or target particular demographics within specific geographical parameters.
#4 Message the nation
In contradistinction to running localised campaigns, marketers can exploit the nationwide bus network to launch a national bus stop advertising campaign. Clear Channel have 35,000 bus stop advertising panels across the country which are viewed 212 million times every two weeks. That’s some serious exposure.
#5 Takeover the space
Despite being part of an often cluttered outdoor advertising environment, bus shelters and bus stops act as a closed off space for you to engage with your audience in a fairly intimate way. Think of them as mini theatres for your messaging. Most bus stops only have two ad panels; if you book them both, you have essentially taken over the space for your brand. Many innovative marketers have taken this idea and run with it.
#6 Engage with a captive audience
Bust stop ads give you a rare opportunity to engage with a captive audience. You have an advantage because your audience will quite often be bored (see tip #1) and open for an engaging way to pass the time. Spend some of your time thinking about creative ways you can engage with your audience. Smart phones are not only ubiquitous in the UK, their users are very responsive to out of home advertising; in fact they are 17% more likely to engage with your OOH campaign via mobile.
#7 Be all things to all people
Of course, bus commuters are not the only segment of your potential audience who will be exposed to your campaign. Passing traffic and pedestrians on the high-street will have exposure to bus shelter ads. When you think about it, the bus stop is a highly multi-dimensional and cross-sectional advertising platform to integrate into your outdoor campaigns.