Cha-Ching for Uber!

This is inspired by Andrew Chen’s article on potential Uber Ads.

I really like Andrew’s ideas on Uber Ads, it’s leveraging under utilized real estate to drive organic growth and revenue for uber.

Most of the ideas on the article are banner ads, although cost effective, I wonder if there are any other opportunities that will lead to a higher ROI than banner ads.

I am mainly looking at 2 things when I talk about the ROI. One is the actual return, the other is to attribute the return back to this investment.

For example, you can save $1 by downloading an app(mostly gaming apps). This can very easily be attributed to the Uber Ad. However, high chances are you will never do any in-app purchase afterwards, so the lifetime value of this user is very low, hence low ROI, too.

Another example is reservation or rerouting to nearby vendors,there’s not a way to enforce users to actually spend on that restaurant/vendor after getting the discount (unless maybe user can get a promo code after accepting and then use it during payment for validation), so it’s not guaranteed return. Also, it’s not easy to attribute the spend to this action (unless you have a promo code or a reservation).

I see great value in examples of lead gen and movie tickets, discount is given upon purchase/sign up, the return is big (tickets cost over $500 sometimes for some events) and it can be easily attributed.

Browsing through all the banner ads example, I see great potential for interstitial ads. Interstitial ads are highly desired in the mobile advertising market, it drives much higher conversion than banner ads. The problem with interstitial ads is they feel very intrusive, especially when you are in the middle of a video or game, the user experience is sub-optimal. However, this is not the case for Uber.

Imagine you’ve requested an Uber, and the app tells you that the driver will arrive in 5 minutes. What do you normally do during these 5 minutes? Mostly likely you keep checking your uber app to see how far the driver is or you keep looking out the road to see if there’s a car that matches the description of your uber car. (of course, you might also be saying to yourself that car took a wrong turn again!) So in these 5 minutes, the app you are interacting most is Uber and the only information you want to get is when you can get on the uber. You are essentially not engaged in an activity, you are just waiting. So what if I put a interstitial ad into Uber while you are waiting?

This is how it works:

  1. You request an Uber app, Uber tells you that the driver will reach in X minutes.
  2. Uber shows on you one or more interstitial ads while you are waiting, you can get discount by watching or interacting with the ad.
  3. Your uber arrives, and you get on and ride for free!

Now that we have the inventory, who will be the perfect advertiser for it? I present to you Game Developers. Why? You get around 5 minutes of almost undivided attention of a user to play your game. And instead of being intrusive, the ad is going to keep the user entertained for 5 mins (if the user is good enough :) )

Let’s gamify the game ad a little bit more. What if the discount is based on how long the user can survive on the game. Say if your ride is $5, if you survive 1 minute, you get $1 discount off of your ride. By the time your uber arrives, you’ve probably already earned your ride back.

What’s more, you can get further discount if you download or purchase the app, and you are much more likely to do so and even do in-app purchase in the future than from a banner ad, because by now, you already know how the game is since you played it.

Below is the wireframe for the user flow: Interstitial Game Ad While you are waiting for Uber:

  1. An Uber has accepted your request, the interstitial will show up 3 seconds after the notification of acceptance or when you re-open the Uber app.

2. While you are playing the game, you can see how far your uber is and how much you’ve saved.

3. At the end of the game or while your Uber is arriving, you can see how much you’ve saved in total and you can download the game.