The bike share industry has been steadily growing year-over-year since its beginning in 2010. Last year saw riders take 35 million trips, a 25% increase over 2016, with the national average of bikes being used for 1.7 rides per day.
Riders love the convenience and environmental benefit of biking over driving. Uber’s acquisition of Jump last year points to the need for a better (and more profitable) answer to the need for last-mile transportation. Bikeshare is especially popular in heavily congested cities. As one of the nation’s fastest-growing metro areas, Seattle is home to nearly a quarter of the nation’s dockless bike share bikes, as residents seek to escape traffic woes.
Ridership is obviously the primary means of monetization, but it isn’t enough. Usage fees vary wildly, from a few dollars per trip to $150 per year, and many companies like Detroit’s MoGo or New York City’s Citi Bike offer low-income plans as low as $5/month.
Benefits of Advertising
To cover the upfront costs, maintenance needs, and regulatory fees, bike share companies can turn to advertising. Those with physical docking stations have opportunities at their locations, and both dockless and traditional operators can place ads on the bikes themselves.
The placements provide positive associations for advertisers who want their brand to be associated with convenience or environmental causes. But how do they know who is seeing their ads? Bikes are most commonly used in dense urban areas, but riders can take them anywhere, and their routes are completely unpredictable. Advertisers are happy to sponsor placements on bicycles, but as always, they crave data to prove they’re reaching their intended audience.
StreetMetrics can help. Our innovative technology connects mobile data from nearby smartphones to the GPS location of each bike. By collecting this info, bike share operators can paint a picture of the audiences that were in proximity to the ad and had an opportunity to view it. They can leverage the information to better understand how to price the ads on bikes and docking stations, make informed decisions on which advertisers to work with, and ultimately make more revenue on each bike.
With another solid revenue stream to supplement rider fees, the bike share ecosystem can continue its growth in the coming years, increasing its reach to more cities and more neighborhoods outside the downtown core. They can continue to ease traffic pains and environmental impact of cars, and serve even more eager users.
StreetMetrics is committed to helping transit media vendors put brands messaging in front of the right audience at the right time, and maximize their reach. Our proprietary audience measurement technology and performance dashboard deliver accurate and actionable campaign metrics and automated reports to share with your advertising clients.