DUBAI: Uber, the global ride-hailing service, has launched an advertising division that will enable brands to market within Uber’s apps — and even in an Uber.
Uber’s advertising division was formed earlier this year under the leadership of advertising veteran Mark Grether, who has previously worked with Amazon Advertising, as the CEO of online advertising company Sizmek, and co-founder of media agency Xaxis.
Uber is also launching “journey ads,” which it describes as “an engaging way for brands to connect with consumers throughout the entire ride process.”
What this means is that Uber riders will now be delivered advertisements in the app while they are waiting for their driver and even during their ride as they open the app to track their journey.
Uber will leverage first-party data to help brands reach its 122 million monthly active users. The bombardment of ads will at least be restricted to a single advertiser, which means users will see the same brand’s ad repeatedly — before and during their trip.
Initial tests show that users were exposed to the ad content for about two minutes, resulting in two to six times the brand-performance lift compared to other benchmarks.
“We have a global audience of valuable, purchase-minded consumers who, as part of our core business, tell us where they want to go and what they want to get,” Grether said.
Uber will also enable ads in Uber Eats, at different stages during the food ordering process — from opening the app to checking out.
Brands can place an ad on the Uber Eats homepage, pay for sponsored listings, advertise a particular item within their own menu, and even place ads post-checkout when users often check back to track their food.
The list of Uber’s ad formats is long. Brands can send sponsored emails to Uber and Uber Eats’ database of users; or advertise via digital out-of-home ads atop Uber cars in “top US cities,” which enable brands to advertise based on location and time of day.
The company is also piloting in-car tablet devices by “strategic partners” in Los Angeles and San Francisco, it said in a statement.
“While these consumers are making purchase decisions and waiting for their destination or delivery, we can engage them with messages from brands that are relevant to their purchase journeys,” Grether said.
“And with 1.87 billion trips last quarter, that means we can connect advertisers to consumers on average five times per month across rides and delivery,” he added.
If that seems overwhelming, users can choose to opt out of ads, Grether told The Wall Street Journal.
However, that might very well mean a more expensive ride for the consumer, because according to Business Insider, he indicated that the ads would eventually make rides cheaper.
More than 40 brands, including NBCUniversal, Heineken, and United Artists Releasing, have already partnered with Uber to run Journey Ads, the company said.
The move comes after Uber’s main competitor in Western markets, Lyft, announced the launch of its own advertising division in August.