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No more awkward silence: Uber launches ads for your car ride

The ride-share company will push ads throughout your trip

SHARE No more awkward silence: Uber launches ads for your car ride
An Uber sign is displayed inside a car in Palatine, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022.

An Uber sign is displayed inside a car in Palatine, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022.

Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press

No more small talk or awkward silence during Uber rides. The company on Wednesday announced that it's launching its own advertising unit and introducing ads throughout your trip, according to a press release.

With nearly 122 million monthly active users globally, the ride-sharing company’s new venture opens the door to additional revenue.

“While these consumers are making purchase decisions and waiting for their destination or delivery we can engage them with messages from brands that are relevant to their purchase journeys,” said Mark Grether, who is leading the advertising team, in the release.

Are there privacy concerns?

Last quarter’s 1.87 billion trips indicate that Uber has an opportunity to “connect advertisers to consumers on average five times per month across rides and delivery,” Grether, formerly the CEO of Sizmek, and co-founder of Xaxis, said.

So far, 40 brands, like NBCUniversal and United Artists Releasing, have partnered with Uber’s Journey Ads, which will sell targeted ads at each point in the trip.

According to CNN, other tech companies like Meta and Google have used data to target ads.

This reveals privacy concerns as the “aggregated information” Uber collects from users may come in the hands of advertisers and third-party data brokers, according to Gizmodo.

The company has access to credit card numbers, home addresses and a record of places most often visited by the rider, but a company spokesperson said that Uber has no plans of sharing data with advertisers, per The Wall Street Journal.

Riders will also be able to opt out of targeted ads at any time.

What to expect from Uber in the future?

In an interview with the Journal, the advertising veteran said that this business model has room for growth with the advent of self-driving cars.

“Cars will become our next living rooms,” Grether said. “We spend eight hours a week in a car; it’s a huge advertising opportunity.”

The program, which will extend to Uber Eats, the company’s food-delivery service, will launch in Los Angeles and San Francisco.