About six months ago, Edmonton Transit launched its text messaging service which enables riders to get schedule information via a simple SMS text message to 31100. The service was really well received, even though it was described by ETS as a pilot. I use the service almost every time I need to hop on a bus, and it works great! I’m definitely not the only one using the service either, as the latest statistics show.
You can see that the initial growth was quite impressive, with usage doubling from January to March. Nathan Walters, Strategic Marketing Supervisor at ETS, told me that the adoption curve was “slightly steeper than expected” but that it is following projected usage quite closely. Since then usage has plateaued a little, probably due in part to the school year ending. Nathan said that usage of the service is probably going to be somewhat seasonal, just like BusLink.
As of Monday afternoon, just over 1.2 million messages had been sent, which works out to about 7050 messages per day. For comparison, Winnipeg Transit was delivering about 6000 messages per day back in May. Not a bad start at all!
When the service launched back in January, ETS said it would open up the ability to advertise on the text messages some time in the spring (the last 40 characters of each message are reserved for advertising). That service officially launched on June 17.
Advertising on the ETS Text Messaging Service provides a direct way to reach thousands of commuters riding the transit system every day. As an ETS text messaging advertiser, you have the opportunity to customize your campaign by location, time, bus route and even budget. This opportunity is affordable, tailored and easy to manage.
You can register for an account here and start advertising right away. The price can be as low as a penny per ad, but it is market-driven. Basically you buy credits and then place bids. You can customize your ads by specific bus stops, routes, time, and mobile phone provider. There’s a user guide in PDF here with more information.
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I’d encourage you to check out the Text Messaging Ad Media Kit in PDF too, as it contains a ton of useful information about the service. Some of the demographic information is a bit old, but it is still instructive.