London buses trial beacon technology for smartphone advertising

500 buses in the capital have been equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy devices

Passengers on London buses will soon be able to receive targeted advertisements on their smartphones with the trial of beacon technology.

The pilot scheme - which will initially be available on 500 buses - is the result of a partnership between proximity marketing firm Proxama and outdoor advertising business Exterion Media. It follows a six month trial on 110 buses in Norwich conducted by the two firms.

Using Bluetooth Low Energy technology provided by Proxama, retailers in local areas will be able to send in-app messages directly to passengers. In return for being served with ads, the service could mean commuters being offered deals from retailers.

According to Proxama, targeting consumers outside of the home is an effective way of attracting business, as it is more likely to prompt 'immediate action' from potential customers.

It said that the Norwich bus trial highlighted the possibilities of the technology, with 30 percent of users click through from receipt of notification, and 2,000 app downloads.

"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," Jon Worley, CEO of Proxama 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."

Despite a slow start, beacon technology is gradually gaining wider acceptance in the UK for a variety of use cases. A trial is currently underway at London's Pimlico Underground station to assist blind and partially sighted people to navigate independently, while Barclays is experimenting with the technology in branches to improve accessibility for customers with disabilities.

Meanwhile retailers such as House of Fraser, Hawes & Curtis and Bentall have installed devices in mannequins to send information about clothes on display to shoppers, while Urban Outfitters and US retail giant Walmart are also among those backing the use of beacon technology.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

​ Creating a purpose-driven brand

So you want to be a brand with purpose. But what does it actually mean to build a brand with real meaning?

Paul Chappell

Partner and managing director, Brand + Story

Customer experience crisis: Proactively mitigating the risk of broken promises

Last Friday, three weeks after United Airline’s spectacular customer experience disaster, customers received a letter from the company’s CEO, Oscar Munoz.

The politics of branding

There have been some real doozies lately. I’m speaking of campaigns where brands have dipped their toe in - or jump straight into the deep end – of the political spectrum, aligning with social causes that seem to be the flavour of the day.

Paul Chappell

Partner and managing director, Brand + Story

Thank you Shane Blandford for carrying my Smarketing vision into KM !

Peter Strohkorb

​CMO Interview: Why aligning sales and marketing drives innovation at Konica Minolta

Read more

Thanks for helping me putting those threads of thoughts together. Simplification and connection - neat idea.

Mark Bayly

Tips from IAG on how to craft human-centred design

Read more

The problem with Box is that they made a couple of big mistakes - they first hired a bunch of unprepared kids and gave them big roles and...

Tim Woods

CMO interview: Why Box's marketing chief is rewarding staff for failing

Read more

At this point, being hit hard will also be subject for a detailed study. In honesty, too early to tell but there are precedents to follow...

Sean Lindeman

Australian Government to abolish 457 visa program

Read more

iflix is really a company with great potential. As a young company, iflix has forward-looking insights and able to identify data-driven m...

Serene Chan

How iflix used consumer intent data to gain 1 million subscribers in six months

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in