Merchant Innovation

Uber To Serve Up Content To Its Captive Audience

People sitting in the back of cabs present an interesting opportunity for the marketers of the world, and it is an opportunity that the visionaries at Uber will not let pass them by. After all, why just sit there and look out the window at the outside world when you could just keep looking at your phone?

Tapping into the heretofore underused eyeball real estate from now on will be Uber’s “Trip Experiences,” the new service by which the ridesharing platform will be dishing out push notifications, content or ads via third-party providers — all nicely and neatly customized to last the length of a user’s Uber ride.

Uber is calling the new upgrade the biggest update to its system since the announcement last March that app developers going forward would be able to drop an Uber button into any user interface.

The content will be customized, theoretically, to the user. Students might get music in playlist form from their favorite music app, while a business person on the go will get a five-minute news burst. There will also be a chance to push ads to users (say your stop is near a store or restaurant), and it is that capability that makes some nervous, as they fear a future where an Uber ride presents an opportunity to be flooded with unwanted advertisements.

For its part, Uber claims that users themselves will have total control over the content they see.

“They will need to give permission before any app can connect to Uber and access their trip details,” the company says. “And if they find it’s not useful, users will be able to turn off the feature on an app-by-app basis.”
Uber’s developer agreement also prevents the use of the Uber API to just blanket consumers with unasked-for ads, though the platform does allow an ad to be shown before, say, a video or playlist is displayed.

“The point of this experience [is] to provide added value to a user, not irritate them,” an Uber spokesperson said. “Because we require all apps to be whitelisted with us, we will be able to ensure the user experience is a positive one.”



The PYMNTS Cross-Border Merchant Friction Index analyzes the key friction points experienced by consumers browsing, shopping and paying for purchases on international eCommerce sites. PYMNTS examined the checkout processes of 266 B2B and B2C eCommerce sites across 12 industries and operating from locations across Europe and the United States to provide a comprehensive overview of their checkout offerings.