CommuteStream now offers native ads for dozens of transit apps around the US
The Chicago-based company, which says it is the only one specializing in ads for these kinds of apps, is expanding its markets and going beyond banners.
For a marketer, the daily commute of a passenger on public transportation is an ideal targeting time. The passenger travels the same route, at the same times, and might regularly check a phone app for schedule updates.
With that in mind, Chicago-based CommuteStream is this week launching “commute-targeted” native ads through its ad platform specifically for dozens of transit apps. Although other ad platforms can deliver ads to these apps, CommuteStream says it is the only one to focus entirely on public transit apps.
Dozens of them — with names like Transit Stop, Transit Tracker, Next Bus and My Transit — allow users to see current arrival times of buses or trains, check for delays, find the fastest routes or conduct similar activities.
Previously, CommuteStream only offered banner ads for transit apps, which are still available. Both the banner ads and the new native ads are now available in 11 US markets beyond the company’s initial three markets of Boston, Pittsburgh and the Chicago area.
Founded in 2013, CommuteStream began by offering its own transit app called TransitChatter. It provided public transportation schedules and status plus route-related news, but the company soon transitioned to providing ads for such apps.
CEO and co-founder Samuel Pro told me that, when it first began offering ads, CommuteStream using dynamic tracking to serve ads related to where the passenger was en route, but that proved overly complicated for the needs of his company’s advertisers, some of which are small businesses.
Now, he said, native ads are targeted at fixed routes or stops, such as offering a breakfast sandwich special at a diner near your morning destination stop. Banner ads are targeted at your entire commute, which might consist of several routes.
A click on a native ad takes the user to an “action card” on the mobile web, which can offer as many as three calls to action:
While banner ads are served to both iOS and Android apps, native ads are only served to iOS apps now, with Android coming soon. The CommuteStream platform only accommodates fixed-priced CPMs ads, not bidding, and native ads are text and image files delivered into the app publisher’s template so they will look like surrounding content.
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