Uber promoted it as a way to make a profit • The Register

Uber has announced the creation of an advertising division to help brands “connect with consumers throughout the journey.” That’s correct. The entire ride.

The ridesharing giant announced the split alongside a new advertising platform called Uber Journey Ads, which addresses the worrying lack of advertising between booking an Uber ride and arriving at a destination.

Uber said it’s already partnered with more than 40 “brands,” including NBCUniversal, Heineken and United Artists, to run ads in multiple places — on the Uber and Uber Eats apps, sponsored emails, in displays on cars, in-vehicle tablets and so on. A bit like taxis.

“Initial results show that consumers were exposed to ad content for approximately two minutes, resulting in a 2x to 6x increase in brand performance compared to other benchmarks,” Uber said.

The advertising department is headed by Mark Grether, who previously served as director of Amazon’s advertising group. Grether said Uber has the power to connect brands with millions of people using its software before, during and after trips. “With 1.87 billion rides last quarter, that means we’re able to connect advertisers with consumers across rides and deliveries an average of five times a month.”

Turn data into dollars, hopefully

Uber’s finances continue to stagger on a negative note, even given the rebound in travel as the COVID-19 pandemic has eased. While the company has reported strong sales, it’s still in the red.

For example, in the first quarter of 2022, Uber made $6.9 billion in revenue but lost $5.6 billion over the same period. Much of the loss in the first quarter came from investments in other companies. Revenue improved in the second quarter, but Uber still posted billions of dollars in losses.

Uber also reduced hiring earlier in the year, and its stock has continued to fall, although it has rallied somewhat of late.

Meanwhile, there was high-profile interference with the company’s cloud services and proposed rules from the Biden administration that would require gig workers to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors, a move that resulted in the shares by Uber lost 10 percent in a single day.

What Uber has in its back pocket, however, is driving and eating data for its reported 122 million monthly active users. They might even learn from competitor Lyft’s early efforts to define the new advertising arm.

Lyft announced its own advertising subsidiary, Lyft Media, in August, while simultaneously announcing two products from its new advertising division: digital rooftop advertising screens and in-car tablets that show a map of the journey and advertisements. Uber’s advertising plans incorporate the same technologies, with plans for in-car top ads in “top US cities” and in-car tablet trials in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“We’re committed to continuing to work with our partners to identify best-in-class offerings … ensuring they appeal to captivating and engaged audiences,” said Grether. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/10/19/uber_ads/ Uber promoted it as a way to make a profit • The Register

Rick Schindler

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