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Lessons Learned: Buffalo By Bike Tourism Campaign

This past summer in partnership with Slow Roll Buffalo, GoBike Buffalo, and Reddy Bikeshare, the Shared Mobility Team launched a multi-faceted marketing campaign focused on encouraging bicycling tourism in Western, New York. A grant for $150,000 provided by Empire State Development was used to bring people to the city of Buffalo and help spur economic impact for local businesses. The BuffaloByBike campaign focused on these advertising mediums in order to encourage bike riding and spending money locally:

  • Billboard Advertising

  • Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

  • Tabling and in-person events

  • Radio

  • Video

  • Physical collateral

These mediums were used to focus people to come into the city and experience BuffaloByBike. We focused advertising on these aspects:

  • Popular summer events to ride to

  • Safe and easy trails to explore for novice bike riders

  • Organized group rides (such as the weekly Slow Roll, and the popular SkyRide event)

  • Self guided tours to try yourself

Throughout the 2017 and 2018 summers, the project produced over 6 million impressions mixing all forms of marketing. Below are some of the marketing designs we used during the campaign:

Static bulletin board used for social media and billboards. Each Billboard displayed a different location in Buffalo in a first person perspective. The above is at Buffalo’s waterfront near the Peace Bridge, one of the Western New York's newest bike trails.

Aligning with popular events to promote going to events by bike, rather than car. For example the Garden Walk Event attracts approximately 40,000 people on the weekend. This event promotes people walking to popular residential houses to see gardens. This can be done by bike as well.

Face in Hole for events was a huge hit especially tabling at events that bring outside tourists into the city

Billboard advertisement promoted during a Slow Roll Monday ride with over 1200 people attending.

The above video was promoted heavily on social media and correlated with an event to promote biking in the region.

Below are the estimated economic impacts of the project that resulted from $150,000 of funding:


2017 (funding)

2018 (funding)





Other Various Events (5 events)*




Slow Roll (30 events)




Reddy Bikeshare




Total People From outside the City




Estimated Economic Impact

$1.34 Million

$1.48 Million

$1.78 Million

With an $150,000 investment in this project, it was estimated to spur over $400,000 of economic impact.

Quick lessons learned from the campaign included:

  • Billboards were expensive, and seemed to be less impactful than other forms

  • Social Media was affordable, and yielded a lot of results

  • Being at events and promoting with already existing established organizations was very successful

  • Creating content that can be reused should always be done.

  • Radio was not as impactful.

  • If working with a small budget, diversifying advertising mediums is needed, but try not stretch yourself too thin.

If you have any questions regarding this campaign, please email


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