Car vs Data

VIA Rail, Touche!PHD Canada

We helped VIA Rail, Canada’s national rail passenger service and a small player in the transportation industry, convince a nationality of predominately car drives to use the train more often, using real-time OOH & digital targeting to communicate to drivers at key touch-points throughout their journey, the fact that they could have saved time travelling by train.

Our strategy, to leverage real time traffic, weather, road and rail information to let drivers know when they could have saved time using VIA Rail, saw us partner with Google Maps and the Weather Network to bring all elements to life.

We created programming interfaces specifically for this campaign and integrated the data feed at each touch point, enabling real-time data management and synchronisation across all OOH and digital channels.

Our challenge was to provide drivers with real-time traffic information on each of the 16 stretches of highways covered by VIA Rail.   At any given point in time, the message was customised to each consumer, taking into account their current geo-position, their predicted end destination and real-time traffic and weather data.

We put together several different traffic scenarios to adjust our messages. Since the car is the fastest option under ideal road conditions. a generic message from VIA Rail was displayed If traffic was light. If traffic was heavy (more than 20% longer by car), the exact travel time comparisons were displayed.

We targeted drivers at all phases of the targeted consumers’ trip:

  • Before: We identified drivers about to travel by targeting those who looked up weather or traffic information for a destination outside their home town and targeted consumers with ads showing real-time traffic information and how long it would take to get to their destination.
  • During: We targeted drivers stuck in traffic on the major highways connecting Quebec City and Toronto which are covered by VIA Rail. 31m impressions were generated with uniquely accurate information. The messages were adapted in real-time, displaying the ETA based on the location of each sign and current traffic conditions.
  • After: We re-targeted drivers that had been stuck in traffic or delayed due to weather conditions when they arrived at their destinations, reminding them of the frustrations of being stuck in traffic and the benefits of taking the train.

VIA Rail succeed at showing consumers that using the train can be a better option than taking the car.

Train ridership rose by 11.7% year-over-year, and revenues increased by 13.9%.

All our media tactics greatly outperformed the usual standards. Contextualised messages generated click rates that were 95% higher than all our display and mobile campaigns, and they helped increase the conversion rate by 14% on VIA Rail’s booking engine.

Finally, over 1.5 million unique mobile device IDs were collected in our DMP, increasing the volume of audiences we can activate in our always-on campaigns.