Lyft Media Aims to Expand Multi-Platform Digital Ad Presence

Lyft Media is the new business unit under which the ride hailing company is consolidating its advertising sales activities. More than two years since Lyft acquired Halo Cars Inc., manufacturer of car-top digital monitors, it is renewing its focus on generating ad revenue. In-car tablets that show advertisements in addition to letting riders track routes, control music and tip and rate their drivers are being testing in Los Angeles and by year’s end will be in 25 percent of Lyft vehicles there and in Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco.

The company’s in-app sponsorships include banner ads and branded icons. “In one early example, Vita Coco Co. ran a campaign called ‘The Hangover Shop’ on the day after Super Bowl LVI, replacing all car images in the Lyft app with coconuts,” writes The Wall Street Journal.  Lyft has also been selling ads at its bike-share services, with display panels adorning docking stations at Citi Bike in New York and Bay Wheels in San Francisco.

“Lyft will work with third-party firms to help advertisers measure campaign performance using aggregate data, but won’t collect personal data from riders,” WSJ reports. Lyft Media general manager Kenan Saleh, co-founder and former CEO of Halo, told WSJ that app, tablet and rooftop ads will target based on the time and location of trips.

While riders can turn off the in-car tablets, Saleh to;d WSJ that less than 1 percent of riders have done so in the tests.

For advertisers, the CPAs (cost-per-acquisitions) on their offerings were on average 60 percent lower than those of leading digital and social media platforms in 2022, Lyft said in its announcement, noting that 1 in 4 riders “engaged with the tablet during their ride, and 98 percent rated the experience as positive or neutral.”

For drivers, tips increased by an average of 28 percent per ride while using the tablet in Q4 2021. Advertising has “the potential to add billions of dollars” to Lyft’s bottom line, suggests TechCrunch, which notes that “the announcement comes days after Lyft and its biggest competitor, Uber, announced robust second-quarter financial results.”

Uber Technologies began brokering media in 2019, first selling ads through the Uber Eats app, later expanding with ads in its primary ride-hailing app and atop cars.

Lyft says a portion of the revenue from the display and tablet ads goes to drivers, but did not say how much.

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