Bus Shelter Advertising: Is It Right For Your Business?

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Bus shelter advertising, or transit shelter ads, offers an opportunity for businesses to capture the attention of a wide audience on their commute.

Positioned in high-traffic areas, these advertisements benefit from both the high visibility of busy locations and the captive audience of commuters waiting for buses. 

This makes bus shelter ads a strategic choice for brands looking to increase their visibility and impact in local and urban settings.

Digital bus shelter ad in London

Types of Bus Shelter Ads

Bus shelter advertisements primarily come in two formats: traditional posters and digital displays, each serving distinct campaign goals. 

Traditional posters, being cost-effective, are ideal for longer campaigns seeking broad exposure. They can be frequently updated without incurring high costs, allowing for flexibility in messaging.

Digital displays, on the other hand, offer dynamic interaction through animated or video content, which can significantly increase engagement. 

These are particularly effective in high-footfall areas where the moving visuals can capture the attention of passersby more effectively than static images.

Classic 6 and 16-Sheet Posters

Classic or traditional bus shelter ads utilise affordable materials such as paper, while differently sized billboards are commonly used to advertise brands at individual bus shelters and stations.

For example, compact, 6-sheet ads are often used at individual bus shelters, with these ads typically measuring 1800mm x 1200mm (or 1.8m x 1.2m).

Similarly, you may see 16-sheet traditional ads inside larger bus and train stations, boasting considerably bigger dimensions (3048mm x 2032mm).

This type of ad will typically be elevated above the floor and most likely to be used in high-traffic locations in major city centres such as London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Digital Bus Shelter Ads

Interestingly, there are far fewer digital bus shelter ads available in the UK, although the exponential growth of digital billboards and the rising popularity of these are helping to gradually correct this imbalance.

In general terms, digital bus shelter ads may be more expensive than classic alternatives, which is true of digital out-of-home (DOOH) media channels as a whole.

These displays are also referred to as ‘interactive’ ads, as they’re equipped with contemporary technologies that allow for far greater levels of engagement between customers and brands.

Bus stop advertising

For example, digital posters may feature motion detection, which can trigger a specific sound or animation when potential consumers pass by.

Digital ads can also feature touch screen and facial recognition technologies, allowing for various types of real-time interaction at times when customers may be more inclined to engage with brands.

Of course, these cutting-edge technologies contribute to the additional cost of digital bus shelters and DOOH, but in theory this can be compensated by increased engagement levels and a higher ROI on your total marketing spend.

Strategic Planning for Bus Shelter Ad Campaigns

When planning a bus shelter advertising campaign, the location is paramount. It’s crucial to choose sites with heavy pedestrian and bus traffic to maximise exposure. 

For example, placing ads near shopping centres, universities, or major intersections can be highly effective. 

The design of the advertisements must also consider visual impact; ads should be clear and striking, with legible text and compelling imagery that can be understood quickly by people on the move.

Additionally, aligning the campaign timing with local events or peak commuter times can further optimise visibility and engagement. 

This careful strategic alignment ensures that the campaign not only reaches but resonates with the intended audience.

Cost Considerations

Understanding the cost implications is crucial for effective bus shelter advertising. Prices vary based on location, ad size, and whether the display is digital or traditional.

Urban areas generally command higher rates due to greater foot traffic and visibility. It’s also important to consider the duration of the ad placement as longer campaigns can often negotiate more favourable rates.

Budgeting for design and potential updates should also be factored in to maintain the campaign’s effectiveness over time.

DOOH ad in London

The Benefits of Bus Shelter Ads

We touched earlier on the potential advantages of using 6-sheet posters as part of your marketing campaign, but this is just one of numerous benefits available to brands when they engage in bus shelter advertising.

We’ve outlined some of the other advantages below, while asking why they’re so important from the perspective of advertisers.

You Can Reach A Large Number of People

As of March 2023, there were 3.6 billion bus passengers, an increase of 19.3% from 2022, which is undoubtedly one of the main selling points for this type of outdoor advertising.

To put this into further context, it’s thought that up to 6.5 million bus commuters are served every day in London alone, with this highlighting a huge target audience for businesses.

Of course, reaching this volume of customers means little unless you’re able to engage them effectively, which is one of the reasons why tech-led digital displays have become so popular in recent times.

You Can Reach Out to Customers in Your Target Geographic Area

Bus shelter ads (both classic and digital) are particularly beneficial to small and medium-sized businesses.

SMEs or start-up ventures typically serve a regional community before they begin to scale, which means that they tend to draw customers from a restricted, local catchment area.

With the high levels of exposure provided by bus shelters within most regions of the UK, this type of ad channel enables businesses to achieve large numbers of targeted and tangible leads over the course of a particular campaign.

This can lead to increased sales and conversion rates over time, while ensuring that you achieve the best possible return on your total marketing spend.

The reach of bus shelter ads also provides new businesses with an immense opportunity to build brand awareness within the local area, which can provide a solid foundation for future campaigns.

Case Studies on Bus Shelter Advertising

Bus shelter advertising has been used effectively in several notable campaigns:

Apple’s Shot on iPhone Campaign

This campaign showcased photographs taken by iPhone users, displayed on bus shelters and other outdoor media. 

The personal touch of real user photos created a relatable and aspirational feeling among viewers.

IKEA’s Bus Shelter Transformation

IKEA famously transformed bus shelters into cosy living rooms, using their furniture and home accessories. 

This creative use of space not only advertised IKEA’s products but also demonstrated them in a practical setup that commuters could experience firsthand.

Integrating Bus Shelter Advertising with Other Media

To maximise impact, bus shelter advertising should be integrated with other media channels.

This multi-channel approach ensures that the message reaches consumers at multiple touchpoints, reinforcing the campaign’s message. 

For example, combining social media campaigns with outdoor ads can create a cohesive brand experience.

By using large format OOH billboards in your campaign, you will propel your bus shelter advertising to boost visible presence and reinforce brand messages to significantly boost brand recall. 

Using online data can help tailor outdoor ads to reflect audience preferences and behaviours, leading to more personalised and effective advertising strategies.

The Last Word – Are Bus Stop Ads Right For You?

Bus shelter advertising stands out as a dynamic and effective channel for marketers looking to increase visibility and engage with a diverse audience. 

Positioned in high-traffic areas, bus shelters offer advertisers the advantage of prolonged exposure to commuters, making it possible to deliver impactful messages that resonate with a wide demographic. 

The integration of digital technologies further enhances this by allowing for creative, interactive advertisements that can capture attention more effectively than traditional media.

The key to successful bus shelter advertising lies in strategic placement and innovative design that captivates and engages passersby.

Whether it’s leveraging digital displays for dynamic content or using eye-catching designs that reflect local culture or seasonal themes, the potential for creative expression is vast. 

Advertisers should also focus on measuring the impact of their campaigns through specific metrics such as reach, engagement, and conversion rates, to continually refine and optimise their approach.

Ultimately, bus shelter advertising provides a unique opportunity to build brand awareness and drive consumer action in an increasingly competitive market. 

With its ability to blend high visibility with creative flexibility, it remains a valuable tool for advertisers aiming to make a lasting impression in the public sphere.

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