Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Video ads are coming to Uber, so I’m switching to a competitor

Published Jun 16th, 2023 7:56AM EDT
Uber app
Image: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

The Wall Street Journal reports that full-length video ads are coming to all Uber apps, including its main ride-hailing app, food delivery service, and alcohol sales platform Drizly. This ad sale is part of a “key growth area,” according to Mark Grether, vice president and general manager of Uber Technologies’ advertising division.

Users will start seeing video ads when waiting for their drivers to arrive and even during their trips. For cars that have tables installed inside, they will also appear there. For the Uber Eats app, video ads will play after customers place orders and continue until their deliveries arrive. Drizly, on its way, will have them in search results on its app and website.

WSJ says Grethen praises Uber’s ability to “use data based on users’ own travel and purchase histories to target them during the critical period between the time they open each app and the time they complete their transactions.” He said that a ride usually takes 15 minutes, and 2 of the people are paying attention to the app.

“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,” he said. “We can use all of that to then basically target a video ad towards you.”

This “feature” will debut this week across the US before expanding to other markets, including the UK, France, and Australia later this year. Tablets with ads will be installed on a city-by-city basis in the US.

While Uber praises its ability to track users – and I understand it’s a core business part of several companies – it feels almost disrespectful how it says it’s selling ads. While some people try to escape this unwanted tracking, Uber is proud to get every penny from you.

From a user’s perspective, I feel they already get too much from the drivers (as they don’t get responsible for anything bad that happens to them in a ride), from the users that usually pay a high price for the service, and they also want to profit from our data? Wow.

If it ever comes to Brazil, I’m calling it right now: I’ll switch to a competitor. I don’t feel comfortable about paying for a service while yet being the product. Companies need to profit, but this is a lot.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.