Uber pilots ads in rides, but SA’s had that for a while


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Uber says it’s introducing ads in its rides but we’re sure we’ve seen tablets displaying ads in Uber rides in South Africa before. If Uber is only now starting an in-car ad initiative, whose ads have we been watching?

Uber’s finally got us where it wants us. Trapped in the backseat as it serves ads to our eyeballs during rides. Will we ever get a chance to travel in silence? At this point, we’d pick the small talk with the driver if it means not having to watch ads.

Targeted ads

This week, Uber Technologies Inc. launched its advertising division and introduced Uber Journey Ads. Using your data, Uber plans to capture you in a loop from the moment you start using the app, during your trip, and possibly after.

“Leveraging Uber’s first-party data and insights across its mobility and delivery businesses presents the world’s biggest companies with compelling new surfaces and closed-loop attribution,” says the advertising division of the transport company.

Read More: The Uber files: leaked documents reveal a strategy of chaos – has anything changed?

Say you’re going out for a drink, Uber will probably advertise alcohol to you on your way to the bar, and perhaps a hangover remedy on your way back home. Uber will use your information and location to sell you products that it thinks you’re likely to buy.

When asked by Motherboard how far Uber uses its customer’s information, a spokesperson from Uber said: “The information that Uber shares with such advertisers is limited to aggregated information or data necessary to assess the effectiveness of campaigns, e.g. the percentage of users who clicked on an ad, or the number of users who visit the retail locations of advertisers using our platform.”

The company says its dedicated advertising division will generate $1 billion in revenue by 2024. With an audience of 122 million monthly active users, it plans to serve ads ranging from alcohol to TV shows. It says it has already partnered with over 40 brands including Heineken and NBCUniversal.

Read More: Uber Eats is expanding its offerings to become a… virtual shopping mall?

Where you’ll get captured

Uber will partner with brands and then roll out the ads on both the Uber and Uber Eats apps.

It plans to get get your attention with:

  • Journey Ads – as you sit in an Uber, there’ll be ads running on the app throughout your trip.
  • Sponsored listings – it’ll have “prominently placed sponsored listings” on Uber Eats.
  • Sponsored emails – when you’re not on Uber or Uber Eats, it’ll send you emails with “exclusive offers”.

It’ll have ads throughout both Uber apps as well as on a tablet in the vehicle, in case you decide to look away from your device during the trip. At this rate, you probably won’t even have time to chat with the driver or enjoy the view outside.

Uber plans to have ‘tablet advertising’ pilots in Los Angeles and San Fransisco. We wonder if it’s aware that this sort of thing has been around in SA for a while. Maybe that’s where it got the idea. If that’s the case, where’s our cut?

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