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DUBAI: Uber, the global ride-sharing service, has launched an advertising division that will allow brands to market in Uber’s apps — and even in an Uber.

Uber’s advertising division was created earlier this year under the leadership of advertising veteran Mark Grether, who previously worked with Amazon Advertising, as CEO of online advertising company Sizmek and co-founder of the media agency Xaxis.

Uber is also launching “travel ads,” which it describes as “an engaging way for brands to connect with consumers throughout the journey process.”

This means that Uber riders will now receive in-app ads while they wait for their driver and even during their ride when they open the app to track their ride.

Uber will leverage first-party data to help brands reach its 122 million monthly active users. Ad bombardment will at least be limited to a single advertiser, meaning users will see the same brand ad repeatedly, before and during their trip.

Early tests show that users were exposed to ad content for approximately two minutes, resulting in a two- to six-fold increase in brand performance compared to other benchmarks.

“We have a global audience of valued, purchase-conscious 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 various stages of the food ordering process, from opening the app to paying.

Brands can place an ad on the Uber Eats homepage, pay for sponsored ads, advertise a particular item on their own menu, and even place post-payment ads when users return often to track their food.

The list of Uber advertising formats is long. Brands can send sponsored emails to Uber’s and Uber Eats’ user database; or advertise via outdoor digital ads on Uber cars in “major US cities,” allowing brands to advertise based on location and time of day.

The company is also piloting in-vehicle tablets through “strategic partners” in Los Angeles and San Francisco, it said in a statement.

“While these consumers are making purchasing decisions and waiting for their destination or delivery, we can engage them with messages from brands that are relevant to their buying journeys,” Grether said.

“And with 1.87 billion trips last quarter, that means we can connect advertisers to consumers an average of five times a month through rides and delivery,” he added.

If it feels overwhelming, users can choose to opt out of ads, Grether told The Wall Street Journal.

However, this could very well mean a more expensive ride for the consumer, as according to Business Insider, it 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 deliver 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.


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