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Uber expects ‘mobility media’ to bring in $1 billion this year, but what is it?

Mobility media offers travellers personalised advertising
Mobility media offers travellers personalised advertising Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Annabel MurphyHannah Brown
Published on Updated
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Uber is betting big on mobility media with revenue forecasted to hit US$1 billion this year., But what exactly is mobility media and why is the ride sharing giant playing in this space?

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You’re in an Uber on route to the airport when you realise you forgot your make-up bag - an essential item for your summer vacation. Wondering whether to turn back home, an ad suddenly appears in your Uber app advertising products available at your destination airport.  

The ad even includes a QR code offering a discount. Suddenly, replacing your foundation seems much simpler than you initially thought…

This scenario exemplifies the power of targeted, contextualised advertising on the go, also known as mobility media. 

How does mobility media work?

This innovative advertising method is gaining traction, and Uber is seizing the opportunity to capture more value from its extensive global user base by connecting brands with riders. 

By leveraging location and destination data, Uber can deliver highly personalised ads tailored to each user's journey, significantly enhancing the relevance and effectiveness of the advertisements.

It’s the next level of personalisation and Uber says engagement is high, brands are happy and the company has forecast advertising revenue to hit US$1 billion (€931 million) this year alone. Over the past 18 months Uber has been rolling out its mobility media service across 34 markets worldwide.

Adverts no longer get lost in the social media noise

“The beauty of the platform is, from the advertiser’s perspective, you are the only advertiser in that experience,” said Paul Wright, Head of Advertising International at Uber. 

“It’s a clear stand out, which in a very cluttered world, if you scroll through social media, whenever there's lots of things to distract you, [on the app] you haven't got much to distract you apart from the ads."

Creativity in ad development is critical too, stresses Wright. It can be entertaining or educational depending on the customer journey and brands should be thinking about what is important to their target market at that specific moment - especially as the only brand in front of the consumer at that moment. 

Engaging more riders is a priority for Uber

Whilst some users prefer to disengage from media during car trips, others value the personalised content, explained Wright. He also added users can opt out of personalised adverts, should they wish. 

“Most of the research we've done suggests that [our users] actually like it. Particularly if it's contextually relevant to them and their moment. If they're going to a music venue and we're offering a music ad then they’ll probably quite like it.”

Different formats of content are also what is key to creating that connection. Uber’s mobility offering consists of in-car entertainment shown on screens installed in the car as well as on the app. Some content comes in the form of longer form video content while others are simple digital messages reading “Welcome to London”. 

Uber is also exploring ads in Uber Eats which helps consumers choose restaurants and food products whilst in the app.

“Something like 60% of people go onto Uber Eats and don't really know what they're going to order so advertising becomes a signpost within that to help them make that choice.”

Watch the video above to see more from the interview with Uber. 

You can see more content from Cannes Lions here.

Additional sources • Filmed and edited by Arnaud Augst

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