Commuters in London are to be targeted with branded messages directly to their smartphones, as 500 buses in the capital are equipped with bluetooth ‘iBeacon’ technology.

Developers Exterion Media and proximity marketing specialist Proxama are attempting to target a potential market of over 300,000 passengers daily with ‘welcomed information and entertainment’, delivered via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacon technology engaging with a mobile app.

This announcement follows a six-month trial on 110 buses in Norwich, which saw 30% of users clicking through from receipt of notification and 2,000 app downloads.

Developers have now set their sights on London, where smartphone penetration is at its highest in the UK (94%).

Further justification arrives in the form of London bus journeys taking an average of 17-19 minutes, giving ample time and opportunity for users to respond, interact, view or redeem offers delivered direct to their mobile phones.

In motion

The popularity of mobile tech and lengthy journey times make Beacons on London buses an attractive new channel, and a ‘mutually beneficial’ one, according to Exterion MD Jason Cotterell.

“We believe the future of OOH [out of home] 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 trial in Norwich demonstrates that consumers are open to receiving content via mobile devices while they travel, and Proxama Marketing Division’s CEO John Worley is confident the campaign will see similar success in London.

“By ensuring that content pushed to users is relevant, personal and received at the right time, beacons are set to enhance Londoners’ commuting experiences,” he added.