When booking ad spaces it can be tempting to focus exclusively on high-street billboards or street kiosks at the expense of the humble bus stop ad.
But, whilst those other kinds of out-of-home ads certainly have their place, when you drill down into the data you find that bus stop advertising is a powerful form of advertising. It not only has an incredibly wide reach, but also offers other tangible benefits for advertisers.
More than half the UK population are bus users, with a third of people making weekly trips. In England, for the year ending June 2017, there were a staggering 4.43 billion local bus passenger journeys.
Interestingly for advertisers, bus users cite shopping and socialising as the main reason for taking a ride on a bus, followed by commuting to work and health appointments.
This means that retail and leisure advertising make for effective bus stop, in-bus and bus-side advertising assets. Not only are bus users motivated to make purchases, a good chunk of them, around 48%, are from the ABC1 social economic grouping.
Add to this the fact that over half the population has seen a bus-side ad in the past week and more than 80% of people recall seeing out-of-home advertising within half an hour before shopping, and you have a very potent recipe for both sales activation and raising your brand profile.
Bus stop proliferation
Many areas of the UK have well over 1000 bus stops per 100,000 people. The West Midlands has the most, with over 14,000 bus or coach stops… and the Shetland Islands have the least, with only 168 stops.
And there are plenty of bus stop sites on which to mount your ads; Clear Channel Direct have 35,000 bus panels on offer, receiving over 200 million views every fortnight, plus an additional 1000 digital panels in key cities. Digital ad panels are getting increasingly sophisticated, offering face and motion recognition and touchscreen capabilities.
It’s no great surprise, then, that over 90% of the population see a bus stop ad each week.
The sheer level of exposure to bus stop ads is certainly an appealing argument for making use of them. But there are other great reasons to buy bus stop advertising.
People spend a lot of time rushing past out-of-home ads on the high street, but it’s a different story for bus stops. The average Brit spends around 43 minutes a month waiting at a bus stop or train station. That’s a heck of a lot of dwell time spent at bus stops. That’s time in which audiences are looking for distractions and just might choose to make your ad the focus of their attention.
And then there’s the time audiences spend actually travelling on busses. That’s more time where audiences are stuck with only their thoughts and their smartphones to keep them company… and possibly the content of your bus stop advert. If you can make an impact on your bus-hopping audience, you are stacking the odds in your favour that it will be your brand they start googling on their journey. And, if you’re lucky, it may also be your messaging they recall before making that next purchase.