SAN JUAN, PR — To many, it is the app you use to book a cab or a meal. To Mark Grether, it is a gigantic new advertising opportunity.

Uber claims 131 million people use its apps each month, and its Uber Advertising division is working to turn many of those screens into ad inventory.

The company recently told investment analysts it has passed a $500 million annual run rate for ad sales after growing its advertiser count by 80% year-on-year to 315,000. It charges a $45 CPM for in-app ads, claiming 3% click-through rate.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Grether, General Manager, Uber Advertising, explains what’s new, and why Uber’s ads are even spilling out of the smartphone.

Riding the moment

It’s all driven by what Uber knows about users who book rides and order meals. For Uber, that means:

  • Rider destination trends
  • Location and zip
  • Events
  • Uber ride option preference
  • Time of day
  • Brand loyalist

“‘Mobility media’ is about the idea to show advertisement when someone is in a car on the way to destination,” says Grether, speaking at Beet Retreat in Puerto Rico. “We know that and we can use advantage of that to share exciting advertisements with our consumers.

“They’re typically in a car for about 20 minutes and look for about two minutes at the app, which means we have two minutes of attention that we can then give to advertisers.”

Cooking-up new formats

It’s not only about cars, but also cuisine.

Uber Advertising recently launched another new format inside the checkout page of Uber Eats, where buyer signals include:

  • Brand loyalist
  • Merchant preference
  • Items purchased
  • Average order value
  • Order time and frequency
  • Cuisine type

“Imagine you have just ordered your dinner for tonight,” Grether says. “We can show you an advertisement. We can also create awareness for non-endemic advertisers.”

Liminal inventory

Not content with using its own apps alone as a canvas, Uber’s inventory is also extending beyond the smartphone.

In addition to offering car tops (ad space fixed to the top of vehicles) as buyable spots, the company recently announced the roll-out of tablet video screens inside many of its drivers’ vehicles in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

It is another example of how the advertising industry is coming to view the car as an ad opportunity, whether it be an autonomous drive or a back-seat ride. In doing so, the industry is finding some unexpected alignment between connected TV formats and the automobile.

Uber Plans to Expand Ad Platform with In-Car Video Tablets: Uber’s Mark Grether

“You get in an Uber and you will be greeted with big screens, the tablet (so that) we also can build a one to one relationship with the person in the car,” Grether adds.

“We know where it’s going to, what happened in the past and what consumption he has on our platform. We can use all of that data to personalize not only advertisements, but also content.

“It’s a combination of personalized content as well as personalized advertisement. We can extend CTV campaigns into that kind of rich format.”

You’re watching coverage of Beet Retreat San Juan 2023, presented by LiveRamp, Madhive, Magnite, Paramount, T-Mobile Advertising Solutions and VideoAmp. For more videos from the Beet Retreat, please visit this page.