Bus advertising is a very popular form of outdoor marketing and with 4.53 billion bus journeys made every year you can see why - particularly as those travelling represent a captive audience for advertisers.
Advertising inside buses, seat advertising and advertising on bus sides is therefore favoured by household names and local brands alike and can be used for both commercial and public service messages to hit a variety of target markets. It is a high-frequency form of advertising.
If bus advertising is something that you are interested in, contact us today and one of our friendly media planning team will call you to discuss the various options available.
Most bus campaigns have a recommended minimum spend of £3000 to have a successful impact but this depends on your aims.
It basically refers to the marketing on bus vehicles and their travel infrastructure. This allows for bus users to become exposed to advertising messages as they travel, and perhaps, more importantly, also the public who see the buses and their adverts on the street. These adverts basically allow brands to communicate with a variety of different consumers across the socio-economic scale, with buses travelling into all corners of the country every day.
So, whoever you’re marketing to, it’s likely you’ll be able to hit your target audience using this popular form of out-of-home advertising and the various options available. As many million people use this popular form of transport, it is easy to see why it is so popular with many clients we deal with at PromoMedia, offering affordable options and a great return on investment.
There are numerous ways that buses can be used for advertising. The most popular types of bus advertising are:
Bus back advertising and adverts on the exterior of buses - these are great and mainly target drivers of other vehicles who are stuck behind buses in traffic, at traffic lights or crossings. More detailed advertising messages can, therefore, be placed on the rears (as dwell time is high): a rarity for transport marketing. Again, these are a relatively cheap form of outdoor advertising and popular with lots of companies.
Bus side advertising - (the main strip on the side) is also very effective - as well as T-side bus advertising, which is a larger version of this. These essentially operate as a moving billboard and are mainly seen by pedestrians walking on pavements, they are particularly effective in areas of high footfall in places such as town and city centres. This type of advertising is very popular in the retail sector.
Bus T-side advertising - this is the large T-side poster available on the side of some buses.
Bus wrap advertising - is the most effective but also the most expensive form of bus advert. This is essentially branding the whole of a bus; front, back and sides. It basically allows your product to become a travelling advert! With bus warp advertising, the artwork is even placed over windows with the usage of self-adhesive perforated graphics, allowing passengers within to still see out whilst those outside are presented with a bright and seamless poster.
Bus seat advertising and panel adverts - inside of the vehicles are the most common form of advertising, these sit above the seats, fixed to either the walls, windows or ceilings. These are hired for set time periods and can be rotated between vehicles to ensure there aren’t too many repeat messages on one bus (these ads are sometimes known as cove adverts or bus seat advertising). These are obviously great as they are seen by the travellers for the duration of their journey and they are a popular form of bus ads with all types of industry sectors particularly finance and healthcare.
Bus bench advertising - advertising with stickers and vinyl on the actual seats at bus stops.
Bus shelter advertising (including interactive bus shelter advertising) - having posters on or inside the bus stops. Bus stop advertising (a typical bus stop poster size is a 6 sheet) can be used to reinforce other messaging whilst adding a clever and creative twist to really create something memorable and shareable. Examples of this include Norwegian Airlines, who converted bus stop seats into faux-wooden sauna benches, Wonderbra who created the illusion of glass broken by large breasts, and Apple’s Macbook Air who installed swings into bus shelters!
Bus ticket advertising - advertising on the rear of tickets. Advertising across bus travel infrastructure such as the back of tickets is a high-frequency method that can also be used for both commercial and public service messages. The blank space on the back of tickets makes for a marketing opportunity that people tend to keep in their wallet or purse – so is a popular choice for coupons or point-of-purchase usage.
The three main factors which determine the costs of advertising on a bus are below:
location – some areas of the country are more expensive than others. Areas with a denser population mean that they are more expensive as they are seen by more people. For example, London bus stop advertising and London bus ads, in general, are more expensive than more rural areas and regional campaigns.
Size of fleet – the number of buses you choose to advertise on will impact the overall costs; the more buses you want your bus ads on the higher the costs.
Type of advert – as mentioned there are lots of bus advertising options in very simple terms the bigger the ad the higher the cost. That said, the bigger ads have more impact and a better return on investment, so the higher outlay is often a sound investment.
Length of campaign – the longer you want your bus ads to run the more expensive, again, however, it is proven that the longer the ads are up the better the return on investment.
As you can see the costs of advertising on buses varies, for more information or a free quote drop us a message today.
Many million people travel by bus every day, and many people prefer buses to other forms of public transport, for advertisers this offers great benefits, the main ones are:
Captive audience - it is a period in which we’re seated and often not really focusing on anything specific. Unless a bus passenger is new to a location, in which case they’re more inclined to be looking out of the window, their focus is easily drawn to advertising – particularly if it is bright, eye-catching or clever. A captive audience of this type is more likely than those ‘on the move’ to enter a URL into their device or take an action stipulated on an advert. Keeping your advertising interesting and clear but intriguing enough to encourage further activity can be extremely beneficial and successful.
A varied social target audience can be reached - bus users can be identified and broken down into several socio-economic groups, including some that can be hard to reach. For example, older people are likely to use bus travel in the UK over other methods of transport due to their free usage but are often not easily reached using online or television advertising. Generally, as buses drive through all areas most social and economic groups are likely to see these ads.
Wide geographical reach - another benefit is that even those who don’t use buses themselves are still prone to seeing bus advertising: 90% of the British population live within 5 minutes of a bus route. It’s important therefore not to discount it from your marketing campaigns, even if you think your target audience aren’t regularly using the bus, as they will still be exposed to marketing messages on the side of vehicles, as well as at bus stops.
Works as part of a broader campaign - bus advertising can also reinforce brand messages as part of your overall marketing mix, even if you don’t use it as a primary advertising channel. With high levels of brand awareness in recall tests, bus advertising can enhance your existing offering and become an invaluable part of your communications strategy. PromoMedia are able to advise, create and manage your bus advertising campaigns – whether they’re a reinforcement of other messaging or the fundamental marketing channel for your brand.
Almost 20% of buses in the UK run late: an inconvenience for passengers but a bonus for marketers as bored commuters have nowhere else to go and often nothing else to look at!
33% of all bus journeys made in the UK in the last week are commutes.
43% in the last week for shopping trips.
21% in the last week for social visits.
All adverts on buses can be targeted; right down to set routes. For example, public service messages aimed at children can be placed on school buses, event messaging can be placed on routes near to where an event is happening (eg. a concert, stage show), and national product messages can be plastered over all routes (London bus advertising typically carrying large national campaigns), whilst local companies can be very specific. The best bus stop advertising methods, therefore, vary depending on what you are promoting. Whether this is a local product or something with a national appeal (many people prefer buses and many million use them every week). It can be managed by contacting the bus travel provider directly, however, this can be complicated as there are hundreds of them across the country and in approaching media owners directly potential advertisers (such as yourselves) end up paying rate card costs. At PromoMedia we manage these relationships for you and have existing relationships in place, so we can successfully place your bus advert across various bus fleets at the best advertising rates, no matter where they are in the UK.
It is also commonly combined with other forms of outdoor advertising. Typically successful combinations include other general forms of outdoor advertising, targeted local television advertising and train station advertising.
Here are the most popular questions we get asked about bus advertising.
As discussed in the guide, these vary depending on a number of factors such as location, time of year, number of buses you want to advertise on and type of bus advert.
Yes, many people prefer buses as their daily form of travel and it is surprisingly used by many million passengers across the UK every day (and bus advertising is seen by a million people not using them). The beauty of this form of outdoor advertising is that it is not just seen by passengers but by passersby and other travellers and drivers.
If bus advertising is of interest to your company, whether it’s any of the options listed on this page from bus stops ads to bus shelters or tickets, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
We look forward to hearing from you and getting the wheels in motion!
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