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Uber will start showing video ads in its apps this week | Engadget

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Uber will soon start displaying video ads in its apps. They’ll appear while you wait for a ride to show up and while you’re in transit, after you place orders in Uber Eats and in search results and other parts of Drizly, the company told The Wall Street Journal. Ads will also be shown on tablets that are placed inside some Uber cars.

Users in the US will start seeing video ads this week. Tablets displaying ads will be installed on a city-by-city basis in the country. The company plans to roll out video ads in the UK, France, Australia and other markets later this year.

Static ads have been shown in Uber Eats since 2019 and in the company’s eponymous ride-hailing app since last year. The company started offering new ad tools in Drizly, the alcohol-ordering app it bought in 2021, last year. Mark Grether, vice president and general manager of Uber’s advertising division, said the company is on course to clear $1 billion in ad revenue in 2024.

The video ads in the apps will be muted by default (audio will play on tablets that are in cars) and will run for up to 90 seconds. An Uber ride lasts around 15 minutes on average, and users typically spend between two and three minutes looking at the app during trips. “We have two minutes of your attention. We know where you are, we know where you are going to, we know what you have eaten,” Grether told the Journal. “We can use all of that to then basically target a video ad towards you.”

The company says it won’t share individuals’ data with advertisers. You’ll be able to opt out of ad targeting based on demographic data and your activity in Uber’s apps, but you can’t opt out of ads altogether, Uber says. Unless, of course, you lock your phone or switch to another app.

It’s not yet clear whether you’ll be able to immediately close an ad once it starts playing. Uber clarified to Engadget that the ads will not prevent you being able to access safety features or to message a driver or Uber Eats courier.

Updated 1:00PM ET 6/15: Clarified that the ads will not limit access to safety features or messaging

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