This is NOT content marketing, Uber

My husband and I have recently moved here from Bombay. We were warned of horrendous traffic jams, belligerent rickshaw drivers and their useless meters. A friend told me that the city runs on Ola (Uber’s competition in India). To avoid all of this, I had limited my commute to the office to Ola Autos till now.

Since I have always liked Uber, used it quite a bit in Bombay and the fact that is as cheap as an auto, I had been meaning to explore this option. A week or so back, Uber started the uberPOOL option in Bangalore, India.

That morning, I was almost ready for work. I opened the app and got a pop-up telling me that uberPOOL is now available in my city and a CTA to “find out how it works”. Now, I am an early adopter when it comes to new products and features. I naturally consume as much content or try out as many features as I am provided with. Unlike many users, I do click on CTA buttons and explore.

So I clicked on “find out how it works”. I was taken OUT of the Uber app and into a new Chrome tab which opened Uber’s blog post that used as many words as it could to explain how the feature worked.

I think it was this blog post, but I am not sure because, unlike Uber’s content marketing team might think, I don’t have the time to trawl through a gigantic wall of text looking for clues on how I can to office cheaper while I am already out the door.

I went ‘WTF’, closed Chrome and was back in the app. I really didn’t think I needed to read a goddamned blog post about using a feature. (Contextual help, heard of it, Uber?) Anyway, it was pretty easy to pick an uberPOOL option, duh! I requested my shared car and then waited. For 30 WHOLE minutes.

What the app didn’t think of telling me without writing a hundred words, was that I wasn’t the one to be picked up first, someone else was. I didn’t even know where the car was. After half an hour, the car arrives, I get in, turn to say hello to the fellow passenger and realise he is extremely tense.

What the app didn’t think of telling him was, there will be a passenger to be picked up a little off the route on his way to work. To which he was already late, because of the detour, and guess the fuck what, it was his first day!

I was late too. But thankfully, it wasn’t my first day to work.

It all essentially boils down to this:

People are head over heels in love with “content marketing” which passes for writing “blog posts” at many places — which is exactly the job of a “content marketing” person in Uber. I know that because I applied for it and was told “community manager” and “content marketing” are the same positions.

However, what everyone forgets is, that it is not about writing keyword-rich intent-based SEO-friendly posts. Content is mostly about when to say what to your users and especially in how many words.

What Uber doesn’t realise that their “content marketing” actually ruined an experience for two of their early adopters here.

Maybe I am just overreacting here, it’s just 2 people and Uber sure has bigger problems to solve. Or maybe they are too good and big to bother about design or content. I don’t know. I just hope whoever has had the patience to read this wall of text will pay more attention to the content in their product rather than outside.