Daily Insights

Uber’s Advertising Test Drive

By: Mackenzie Baker | Mar 03, 2020

Uber is pulling a marketing strategy originally popularized by cabs. 

Uber will begin adorning digital ads atop cars beginning this month. Starting with a small rollout, the company will have 1,000 vehicles in Phoenix, Dallas, and Atlanta using digital ads—similar to those often seen atop yellow taxis—before extending to Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston later this year. The ads will be on double-sided, internet-connected screens and are launching in partnership with Adomni, a digital advertising platform. Not only will the screens now serve as an alternate revenue source for Uber, but drivers that participate in the ad displays could earn an additional income. Uber drivers can receive $300 for installing the display unit, and an additional $100 for each week they drive more than twenty hours displaying the ads. 

Uber is calling the new project “Uber OOH” and will include ads that are specific to places nearby where the car is driving. Advertisers can even sync their ads so that they display on a billboard and an Uber screen at the same time, creating a type of more personalized advertising, according to a Gartner report. Uber’s announcement to partner with Adomni comes just days after its main competitor, Lyft, announced its acquisition of Halo Cars—an ad service that puts car-top ad displays on ride-hailing vehicles. Adomni will also be in competition with brand Firefly, which has worked with Uber, Lyft, and taxis to display ads on top of their cars in the past—most recently Firefly worked with Puma to display a holographic view of its newest sneaker on top of cars around Chicago. 

Car-top ads seem to be the new driving force in digital advertising as more brands go all-in on out-of-home marketing. Uber’s digital ad rollout could see a fresh wave of advertising investments as advertisers look for alternative ways to promote their brands.