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The benefits of bus shelter advertising

2 January 2024
1064 Alight Blackpool D6s ANDSELL ROAD OPP 3 2000269112 august 23 View2 Fill 1 of 4 1

There were 2.8 billion passenger journeys made by local buses in England last year, with 1.5 billion made in London alone.1

Bus shelters provide the perfect opportunity for businesses to increase long-term brand awareness and advertise their services to a wide audience.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about bus shelter advertising and explore some of its top benefits. Let’s dive in!

Suggested reading: Read our free resource, ‘The benefits of OOH advertising’, for a broader overview of out-of-home advertising and its uses.

What is bus shelter advertising?

Bus shelter advertising, also known as bus stop advertising, refers to any billboard or poster displayed at a bus shelter. It is a method of public transport marketing or transit advertising.

While bus shelter advertising is a relatively straightforward concept, it encompasses a couple of different formats.

Types of bus shelter ads

One of the most common bus shelter ad formats in the UK is a D6 — or ‘Digital 6-sheet’. This is found on one end of the bus stop.

D6s are a popular choice because they are:

  • Visible both by pedestrians and passing cars

  • Often located in highly populated areas

  • Cost-effective to run

Bus shelter ads can also include 6-sheet posters, made from paper rather than digital displays. Which ad format you choose will depend on your local and citywide marketing campaign plans, target demographic, advertising budget, and much more.

To discover which out-of-home (OOH) format is the right choice for you, check out our article, ‘3 types of billboards and OOH you need to know about’.

Key benefits of bus shelter advertising

According to a Thinkbox and Gain Theory study, OOH advertising can boost social media ads by 9%, print ads by 11%, and radio ads by 9%.2 This places it far ahead of online display and generic search advertising in terms of the results it can achieve for your business.

Bus shelter advertising specifically has a number of further benefits that make it the first choice for small and fast-growing companies:

1. Wide reach

Reach refers to the number of people who come into contact with your ad — whether they’re in a car, getting the bus, or just walking past the bus stop.

One reason for transit advertising’s effectiveness is its high-traffic area visibility and pedestrian and driver exposure, allowing businesses to reach people of different ages, sexes, and incomes.3

This is perfect for local business promotion, as it allows you to:

  1. Build wider community brand awareness through bus shelter ads

  2. Collect information on your audience’s demographic and perception of your brand

  3. Analyse this data to gain insights on how best to reach your target market

  4. Develop a more effective OOH marketing strategy

2. Audience receptiveness

Of the 50% of online desktop ads that are viewable, only 9% are actually viewed.4 For the most part, this is because people are busy looking for something and don’t want to get distracted by ads.

Bus shelter advertising is unique in that it reaches people while they’re in the passive state of waiting for the bus — and will be more interested in reading your ad.

Pro tip: Approximately 25% of local bus travel is commuting, while 22% is for shopping and 21% for leisure.5 Designing creative billboard ads that have a targeted demographic appeal can help improve your commuter audience reach.

Consider using the following creative display opportunities to make your ad even more effective:

  • Engaging visuals: If you’re focusing on a working audience, for example, consider using commuter engagement tactics that relate to their journey.

  • A core message that aligns with your brand identity: Whether you’re advertising a product, service, or event, your ad needs to convey who you are and what you’re providing customers.

  • A clear call to action: Think about where you want potential customers to go next — if this is to an online site, make sure you provide an up-to-date link or QR code.

3. Cost-effective

Bus shelters are one of the most cost-effective outdoor ads. This is because they give you a 24/7 advertising presence and can deliver strategic locational benefits, all at a relatively low running cost.

In the case of D6 bus shelter campaigns, you can also run ads at specific times or according to a schedule. As such, small businesses that don’t have the budget for several-week campaigns or large city centre billboards might choose to run bus shelter ads in their local community only during peak commuting hours.

At Alight Media, we’re passionate about connecting people through the power of out-of-home advertising — which is why we offer no minimum order value on any of our billboards. Explore our buying routes for more information.

Looking to increase brand reach in your local area?

4. Create an impact

Standing out from competitors can be difficult, particularly if your business operates in a saturated market or is still growing its local brand awareness. Bus shelter ads can help you make an impact through:

  • Content related to the ad’s surroundings

  • Visual illusions that get people talking

  • Funny or relatable phrases

  • Powerful imagery

The impact of outdoor advertising is backed up by data, with a 2022 study revealing that out-of-home mobile searches are 38% more likely to lead to a purchase than those conducted at home.6 Use bus shelter ads to directly increase the number of people searching for your brand.

How Rother Radio boosted awareness with a stand-out D6 campaign

Rother Radio wanted to generate awareness for their new DAB channel in the Rotherham and Sheffield areas. They used hyper-local D6 bus shelter screens to promote the channel, also running a PR campaign with the local radio station.

Their bus shelter ads received over 400,000 impressions, with Rother Radio Presenter and Sales Executive Nigel James saying that the campaign ‘was a massive boost to getting our brand out there’.

Discover what advertising locally looks like with Alight.

5. Eco-friendly

Sustainable bus shelter campaigns can be used to create space for local wildlife and reduce your climate footprint. It’s worth acknowledging that not all bus shelter ads are eco-friendly, so it’s important to choose a provider that aligns with your business’s values and environmental goals.

Sustainable bus shelter advertising could include:

  • Environmentally-conscious design: ‘Living roof’ features and lower-brightness screens can help to create a better environment for local wildlife.

  • Rewilding projects: Green financing pots can be used to contribute to international tree-planting projects and local rewilding.

  • Sustainable materials: Bus shelter ads can be composed of recycled materials such as glass and plastic bottles, reducing their carbon footprint while improving their environmental exposure resilience.

As an Ad Net Zero member and Etesian Green partner, Alight is committed to the sustainable future of advertising.

Our entire network is powered by 100% renewable energy, drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change impacts.

In Warrington, we installed the first ever wind and solar-powered bus shelters as part of our Green Mile. All bus shelters on this route are made from recycled materials and also have living rooves and a 500m grass central reservation seeded and re-wilded by our team. This functions as a new, protected habitat for wildlife in the area to flourish.

Partnering with Alight Media enables you to create campaigns you can be proud of.

Connect to your community with a bus shelter ad campaign

Bus shelter advertising is a great way to connect with your local community while keeping overall campaign billboard advertising costs low. It provides high-visibility advertising to a captive audience, and is therefore a good choice for both growing and established businesses to include in their urban advertising strategies.

Alight Media is the leading UK provider of eco-friendly, cost-effective bus shelter advertising space. We work with businesses of all sizes and have no minimum order value, so you can create a campaign that fits your unique timescale and budget.

To learn more about our services or request a no-obligation quote, contact us today.

  1. Annual bus statistics: year ending March 2022 (revised) - GOV.UK
  2. Thinkbox – Demand Generation with Mediacom/Wavemaker/Gain Theory
  3. Annual bus statistics: year ending March 2022 (revised) - GOV.UK
  4. Route, 2022
  5. Annual bus statistics: year ending March 2022 (revised) - GOV.UK
  6. The Point of Search