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As ride-hailing rebounds, Lyft’s launching an ad biz (feat. in-car tablets) to gain an edge over Uber

Tuesday, August 9, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |

Forget the aux cord… Soon you’ll be able to control music in Lyft rides without nervously asking your driver — but you’ll have to watch ads. Yesterday, Lyft announced Lyft Media, a new unit focused on advertising. Ride-hailing demand has roared back to life, and Lyft wants to monetize users’ eyeballs:

  • Brands riding shotgun: Lyft is adding tablets to its drivers’ cars so that brands can serve ads on the go. Think: a Vita Coco ad in the app when you book, and another in the car to the supermarket.
  • New features: Riders will be able to choose music and tip drivers through the tablets. Lyft said drivers will make extra $$ from in-car ads.

Wienermobile ETA… Two years ago, Lyft bought Halo Cars, a startup that makes car-top screens. Since then, Lyft has grown its marketing biz by putting ads on car roofs, bike-sharing docks, and in its app. Think: Oscar Mayer Wienermobiles moving on the Lyft map instead of a car. It’s good timing to appeal to advertisers:

  • More rides = more eyes: Lyft’s stock soared 46% last week after it reported its biggest bump in active riders since the pandemic began. But the stock’s still down 55% this year.
THE TAKEAWAY

The route less traveled by may make the difference… While Lyft has stayed narrowly focused on rides, Uber has grown its Eats biz into one of the largest food deliverers (and has expanded to everything-delivery). But now Lyft could capitalize on its strength: riders’ eyeballs. While Uber also sells ads, it hasn’t built an ecosystem like Lyft’s. But this month Uber said it planned to expand its ad biz — and that it could hit $1B in revenue by 2024.