Why an Uber TRIP is the Ultimate Marketing Opportunity

Brand Managers Take Notice

By Brett Atherstone

Co-Founder of Hubble, a DOOH platform in Ubers | Part Creative Director, Part Product Manager | Learning all the Entrepreneurial lessons | Terrible at Excel | Values Nerds.

Listen to my 12 min interview with ScottCundill.com on "Why an Uber TRIP is the Ultimate Marketing Opportunity"

Just as Uber disrupted the global taxi business, Hubble – a digital media platform that engages with Uber riders – is turning advertising on its head. Uber riders are pure gold in advertising terms: they are high-income earners, tech-savvy, information hungry, and – most importantly – own smartphones and credit cards.

Advertisers the world over are battling for customers’ attention – and losing the battle. As Georg Franck writes in The Economy of Attention, it is primarily attention, rather than money, that advertisers are seeking. It is true that money follows attention, so how do we capture the attention of the public in a crowded and noisy marketplace?

This is where Hubble has made the breakthrough. Dave is a regular Uber rider who uses the ride time to check messages on his smartphone and browse the web. The next time he steps into an Uber vehicle, he is seated behind a tablet and can’t help but start interacting. He has 20 or 30 minutes to kill and a dedicated screen offering entertainment, games, information and targeted interactive advertising. Dave is curious and wants to explore. He watches a video, chooses to engage with a new product, plays a game, then he signs up for a discount. As he is being dropped off, the screen displays where the closest retailer is from his location.

Confronted with the same messages in any other setting, research suggests there is a strong possibility that Dave would ignore or skip the message.

For example, it is reckoned that just 15% of Youtube viewers will watch an advertisement through to the end. There is simply too much competition for the customer’s attention from other content providers.

Put Dave in an Uber vehicle with no other distractions and some time to think, and the engagement takes on a different level of intimacy.

We know this because of the experience of Uber riders making use of the 700 Hubble screens currently in use in South Africa – a figure that should double in the coming months. For 20-30 minutes, Dave is open-minded, and with nothing else to do becomes captive to the brand's message.

There are approximately 14,000 Uber vehicles in South Africa, presenting a golden opportunity to engage with riders in a way that is simply not possible with conventional advertising.

The 20-minute mindset

In a world where we are bombarded with advertisements, brand managers and advertising executives find themselves struggling to make their messages heard above the noise. Measurability has become the norm. However, nothing is said of how to measure the state of mind of an audience.

We might know exactly how many people viewed an ad but how many people did we annoy in the process? Were they open to viewing it or did it interrupt their day and end up creating a negative brand perception? If 15% of people viewed your ad, could potentially 85% be irritated by it?

Consideration needs to be made as to what the mindset of the audience is. With Uber riders and a dedicated Hubble screen, these uncertainties fly out the window, as the audience is opting in to view your message rather than being disrupted from what they were actually doing. This 20 minutes of unusual free time completely changes the mindset of how people engage with brands.

The headrest-mounted touch screens allow the user to explore and control their own experience which results in an excellent brand building opportunity. Trying to speak to someone who is busy and distracted is very different from having a conversation with someone who has nothing to do and is in a relaxed and in a quiet space.

Brand Managers can measure DOOH (for real)

Tracking real return on investment (ROI) for brand managers in Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) settings is often challenging.

It is now possible to track every touch and video completion of a Digital OOH platform in Uber vehicles. ‘Brand Channels’ are sold in groups of 100 screens, and can be coupled with standard video ads and geo-targeted ads. Clients can track which products perform best on this public platform, or run a survey to get quick feedback from thousands of Uber riders. Targeted ads can push location-specific messages, for example, a message can be pushed to appear on a Hubble screen as the rider arrives at the V&A Waterfront, or picks someone up at OR Tambo.

Hubble is today live in South Africa and Ukraine and carries messages from major brands such as McDonalds, BMW, Samsung, GoPro, Visa, Hugo Boss, Land Rover and, of course, Uber.

This ushers in a new era of measurable Digital Out-of-Home, achieving a level of engagement and an ROI that was previously unattainable. 

Hubble’s goal is to entertain Uber riders during their 20 minute trip (average) which is why they give the rider control. Users are able to explore content that appeals to them, which makes the interaction more authentic. Currently, campaigns range from fashion to alcohol, restaurants, events, cars and apps.

Users are also presented with a range of games, with the possibility of winning prizes associated with one of the featured brands.

Reaching 630,000 riders per month

Hubble currently reaches 630,000 Uber riders each month, a figure that should rise to over 1.3 million in the next few months.

This is not your average audience. This audience is engaged, middle to high-income earners and voracious consumers. For brand managers, Hubble is able to offer concrete facts on rider engagement, such as interactions per time of day and location, video completion rates and comparisons to industry averages. This data significantly increases measurability and contributes to the evolving media of Digital Out-of-Home, a category that has seen growth globally.

As the reach increases, so does the potential for brands to powerfully engage with Uber riders. With interaction rates as high as 8-10% and video completion often around 50%, it shows that Uber riders are not only available but curious and ready to explore. This, along with the growing data, measurability and improving technology, suggests in-Uber advertising is set to become a powerful DOOH player.

Speed to market

One of the difficulties in launching new OOH campaigns is the high cost of producing content, and the length of time it takes to get the message to market.

Hubble solves this problem in two ways: using its in-house creative team to achieve fast turnaround times in campaign development, and then placing these messages in Uber vehicles in the key metros of South Africa – reducing campaign launch times from months to days or minutes.

Headrest mounted touch screens in Ubers are transforming the OOH category and bringing fresh creativity and digital reporting. Hubble has built a number of interactive campaigns for major clients, such as Savanna, BurgerKing, GoPro, Land Rover and Pick n Pay, all of which was managed and produced by our in-house team, as part of the media booking. Video ads can be pushed to 700 Ubers screens in a matter of minutes.

Brand Managers can now easily include Uber riders in their communication strategies, which was previously next to impossible. Hubble is able to measure and report back how the campaign is doing and make adjustments quickly to maximise the impact.

No-one can afford to ignore this new marketing medium.

For more information, contact Hubble here: 
021 461 0820

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