Local restaurants can now advertise atop Ubers

Uber's new self-service cartop program allows small businesses to take their name on the road.
Uber with cartop advertisement
More than 3,500 Ubers have cartop billboards. / Photograph: Shutterstock

Restaurants in some cities can now pay to see their name in lights. Headlights, that is. 

For the first time, Uber is offering small businesses the ability to put ads atop some of its ride-hailing vehicles. The service is available today in seven markets: Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Atlanta and Dallas. More than 3,500 cars in those cities are outfitted with digital billboards for ads.

Uber has offered cartop advertising since 2020, but only to large advertisers. The new, self-service program makes it an option for smaller businesses, including local restaurants. Marketers will be able to program when and where ads appear using Uber's interface.

“By making cartop advertising more accessible, we’re able to provide small, local businesses, as well as entrepreneurial industries like real estate and insurance with the opportunity to reach audiences in the proximity of the Uber vehicle and on the street level,” said Brett Baker, general manager of Uber Cartops, in a statement. 

Ads cost $3 per thousand impressions, or $2.13 if a restaurant signs up for recurring campaigns.

The mobile ads have apparently been effective for bigger restaurants. In a joint campaign between Uber Eats and a fast-food chain, consumers exposed to the ads were 75% more likely to place an order on Uber Eats and 28% more likely to visit a nearby physical location, according to the company.

Uber said its advertising business has a revenue run rate of more than $500 million. It also gives drivers a way to make some extra money. The company pays them an upfront bonus for putting a billboard on their car and lump weekly payments after that. 

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