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Beacons on buses: Londoners to access targeted content on the move

Advertisers will soon be able to use beacon technology on buses to push targeted offers and content to commuters as they travel around the capital.

Bus journeys will never be the same again for those people who use location-based apps. Some 500 buses have been fitted with beacons by advertising business Exterion Media in the hope of monetising over 300,000 bus riders every day.

The technology, which has been developed by Proxama, sends in-app messages via Bluetooth depending on what trigger zones people are travelling in. For example, a commuter could receive a discount coupon on their mobile as they pass a particular branded chain or a trailer for a movie as they get closer to a cinema.

None of the launch partners were named though Exterion said it is already working with advertisers to integrate the feature into their existing apps. Marketers are being sold an opportunity to reach people during an estimated average journey time between 17-19 minutes with some journeys taking considerably longer.

There is also the possibility on most buses to consider internal advertising to educate commuters on the technology and to prompt downloads also.

It is the latest use of beacons on high-streets across the UK as retailers look to make innovation and personalisation bigger parts of their bricks and mortar experience.

Jason Cotterrell, managing director of Exterion Media UK, said: “We believe the future of out-of-home (OOH) engagement is the ability to deliver a truly personal experience; and, with so many of us keeping our smartphones handy during the bus trips we take every day, it makes sense to combine the two. Our ultimate aim is to deploy this technology across our portfolio nationwide, with a long-term vision of providing full connectivity across buses in the UK.”

The project was greenlight off the back of a six-month trial on 110 buses in Norwich that was backed by 20 businesses earlier this year. Three in ten (30 per cent) users of the Loka app clicked through on notifications and there were more than 2,000 app downloads in the period.

“The trial in Norwich and our partnership with Exterion Media showed us that consumers are open to receiving content via their mobile devices while they travel, so we expect to experience a similar level of success once we roll out across London,” said John Worley, chief executive of Proxama’s marketing division.

“By ensuring that content pushed to users is relevant, personal and received at the right time, beacons are set to enhance Londoners’ commuting experiences.” says John Worley, chief executive of Proxama Marketing Division.”

The innovation push from Exterion comes as it braces itself for competition for the rights to Transport for London’s (TfL) underground advertising business. In May, the organisation invited media companies to pitch for the £1bn account as part of its wider bid to generate £3.4bn in non-fare revenue over the next 10 years.

Seb Joseph

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