Bus advertising is one of the most effective form of advertising for business. Incorporating buses into your advertising campaign transports your brand messages throughout the city, towns or local area like no advertising media otherwise can. It connects uniquely with passengers, commuters and pedestrians all at once, creating opportunity to raise brand awareness and carrying your message to the people.
Planning bus advertising around your target audience
Key to using bus advertising as a medium is to understand how the routes generally work. Buses are designed to carry commuters from home to more central locations. Some bus routes will start in very rural locations and reach city or town centres, others will service already populous urban areas but will typically terminate in busy centres. This is why you’ll typically have a terminus, concourse or selected streets where all buses land – often areas where cars can’t travel. This is because the majority of passengers need to be in this central space.
Because of the nature of these trips, the people who encounter buses include more than just the passengers. The way in which they encounter the buses and the advert is very different and all has a bearing on how you should book bus advertising –
The passengers actually board the bus and travel to a new location. This involves a number of touchpoints that can carry an advertising message. This includes the bus stop where there journey begins and ends, the ticket (with selected bus operators), advertising space within the vehicle itself. These passengers tend not to encounter the advertisement placed on the side or rear of the buses.
Commuters can be both passengers, pedestrians and in traffic behind or alongside the bus trips. Depending on which, they will encounter various ad positions. Time of day and week can also influence the way commuters encounter your ad placements, especially if they are travelling for work. Imagine the difference in motivation from Monday morning, to Friday evening.
While this type of advertising is somewhat inflexible in terms of agility and responding to the customers intent, it is great for brand exposure and impacts that can be supported widely with complimentary traditional media such as radio, or digital.
These people encounter the bus advertising often without stepping onto the vehicle. This means they’re far more likely to engage with the sides of buses, along with the rear, as the vehicle drives up the street. In this way bus advertising acts like mobile outdoor billboard advertising and it can often be advantageous to appear on the bus this way, even if the bus passengers aren’t your target market.
Naturally the bus route is also a traffic route, which means that the brands creative is highly visible to everyone driving near the bus. This means that bus sides and rears tend to be the most prominent spots, along with bus shelter advertising along the route. Target markets which are more likely to drive can be targeted in this way.
London bus advertising
Bus advertising is vital part of any campaign designed for an audience in the capital. London routes work slightly differently, crossing the city horizontally and vertically and through some of the busiest areas of the country. London buses can be utilised most effectively as billboards for the numerous eyeballs on the street, selecting routes most likely to connect your company advert with the right audience.
Streetliners, mega rears and more… bus advertising formats understood
Bus adverts take numerous and sometimes very complicated formats that require some understanding to get most from the investment.
These are usually in two formats “mega rear” and smaller posters housed in a frame on the back of the bus. The mega is a huge format vinyled long term on the bus. It’s an extremely eye catching, long term format and it’s important that details like time sensitive offers, limited availability or geographically restricted offers aren’t used. This is because you can’t always guarantee the route a given bus will take. Smaller format rear positions tend to only have impact with the vehicles immediately behind.
These are both a narrow landscape and portrait format combined that sits on the side of buses and are most impactful to pedestrians on the street instead of passengers or those in traffic.
Not all bus companies still use tickets, with London buses and others tending to use Oyster style cards. Those that do have every passenger picking up an advert which can work brilliantly if doubled up with website ads where purchased digitally.
These are internal to the bus carriage, occupying space near the back doors and are a cheaper option to other advertising formats on buses.
Bus route street furniture
The posters you see by the side of the road on the side of bus stops are known in the trade as “six sheets”. They are mostly purchased in bursts of one or two weeks and are installed by the bus operators. They can be both digital or traditional printed campaign positions.
Bus advertising Q&A
How much does it cost to put an ad on a bus?
The cost of a campaign on buses varies depending on the type of campaign chosen and the routes / cities that are selected, especially in London. In general your company can expect to require a budget running into £000s although cheaper options can sometimes be possible to engineer.
What is bus advertising called?
Bus advertising can sometimes be called transit advertising. Moreover the way it’s called represents the breakdown of types – ads on the vehicle exterior, interior (designed for passengers only) and route advertisements on bus stops or at central travel centres.
What are bus stop ads called?
Bus stop ads are commonly known as “6 sheets” which are a type of large format poster. They can be both digital – allowing for gentle animations, particularly popular to reformat video adverts that TV viewers may have already seen and recognise. They can also be printed poster format, ideal for bulk creative, although it is possible to personalise based on geographic factors.
Does bus stop advertising work?
It absolutely does! Try bus advertising for your business, promote your website or any other form of call to action and we guarantee you’ll see results. We’ve known a spike in website visits of over 100% and this brand exposure can be calculated end to end to purchases.