- Uber plans to expand its cartop advertising network, Uber OOH powered by Adomni, to Chicago and Los Angeles in Q4, Uber Cartops Lead Garrett Spitzer said Thursday on a virtual panel during the Digital Place-based Advertising Association's video summit.
- In addition, video and art platform Niio partnered last month with Uber OOH to place artwork between ads, letting artists exhibit and get paid for their work, Adomni said. Uber also will look to roll out the program, which places screens atop ride-hailing vehicles, to up to 20 additional cities, with demand for international locations such as London and Sydney.
- The revenue-sharing deal, which makes Uber a digital out-of-home (DOOH) ad publisher, started in February to connect brands and passersby through video on vehicle displays. One thousand Uber drivers in Atlanta, Phoenix and Dallas currently are compensated based on hours driven with the displays in place.
The expansion follows months of low ridership for hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. Rideshare drive time appears to be rebounding since the pandemic's onset in March, as consumers begin to return to the office or other activities that may require hailing a cab or taking public transportation, per data Octopus Interactive emailed to Mobile Marketer. This uptick poses an opportunity for a company like Uber, which joined the ad publishing space with its own ad network just eight months ago, to capitalize on people returning to regular activities with potentially fresh eyes.
Placing artwork between advertisements on the vehicle displays could cut through ad blindness and snag people's attention with branded content that's tailored to daypart and location, Niio CEO Rob Anders said during the DPAA panel. Those customizable elements represent the type of programmatically enabled DOOH that bolstered a boom in the outdoor category in the year before the pandemic.
While programmatic OOH is relatively new, it's forecast to one day be a key part of the U.S. digital ad makeup, per VIOOH's new State of the Nation report. Nearly all (99%) respondents plan to increase their spending on programmatic OOH in 2021, with 32% set to at least double spending, the report notes.
Through its OOH network with Adomni, Uber can tap into this growing revenue source as ridership still lags behind pre-pandemic levels, potentially offsetting losses and appealing to drivers frustrated by the difficulties of making a living in the gig economy — a feeling heightened for many amid layoffs and furloughs this year.