Evolution of our data

Customers passing through ticket gates Tube station

The way we and our media partner, Global, have used data, particularly over the past two years, has been key for advertisers. It has been key in understanding audience travel patterns on the London Underground network, from daily numbers through to the more meticulous details of those passenger movements. Our data offering is unique with no other public transport network in the world utilising first-party data in this way.

We have presented our data capability to metro networks all over the world. It showcased the depth of insight it provides for us on both a customer and advertiser level across our entire network.

However, it hasn’t always been this way. Our data capabilities have evolved over the past seven years.

Basic data

In 2015, there was very little data available to understand audiences passing through the Tube network. There was also limited access based purely on total daily passenger volumes and survey data.

TAPS (activity on our contactless ticketing system) 💳

Then in 2016, when the new Tube contract launched with Global (known then as Exterion Media), we saw a dramatic shift in data strategy. There was significant investment in utilising Oyster and Contactless payment data.

  • The new capability allowed us to see the geo-demographic makeup of every single entry and exit on the network within a 15-minute increment
  • Global built innovative new tools to visualise and plan targeted campaigns based on this data
  • As a result, this new capability won two industry awards. It won MediaTel Research Awards ‘Best Use of Data’ and the Connies ‘Best Use of Connected Data’

WiFi data 📶

To understand the detail of how audiences actually flow through the network from the beginning to the end of their journeys, we further developed this capability using TfL’s connected infrastructure. Or as we all know it, WiFi.

Following a pilot run to assess the technology and public opinion, we released a full report. This revealed how the information could be used to reduce crowding and prioritise investment.

Our Data Science team has created 3D models of every station on the network. These models have been used to define how people walk through every ticket hall, platform and corridor.

Our science team created a proposition that uses depersonalised data probes. This created a flow of how passengers move through the station. This gives us and Global a unique understanding of how passengers are travelling through our stations and across the network, both historically and in near real-time.

Data visualisation of passengers travelling across our network

Benefits for advertisers 👌🏽

What goes on on the Tube can’t be determined solely by entries and exits

In the last week, 50% of journeys made on the Tube involved at least one interchange. Our offering allows clients to target audiences more efficiently throughout the course of their journey.

It offers real reach, real frequency

For any combination of frames, corridors, platforms or stations, we can identify the unique number of people that have been in those areas. We can also identify the number of times they have been there. No other environment in the world has this capability. Our data on real people in the real world is sourced directly from our data.

Find more details ℹ️

Head over to Global’s website to find more info on how advertisers can take advantage of our offering.

For any questions about our data sourcing and how we use this to benefit operationally, get in touch with the team.

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