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How Taxi and Rideshare Advertising Works

June 12, 2023

Have you ever seen an advertisement on top of a taxi or a rideshare vehicle wrapped in a brand’s ad? Like other forms of Transit advertising, Taxi and Rideshare advertising gets your message moving through communities and cities. A staple of advertising in large cities, such as NYC, Taxi and Rideshare advertising uniquely builds awareness. 

In this article, you’ll learn all about Taxi advertising and Rideshare advertising. You’ll learn how it works, how to target audiences, what types of companies it works best for, and more. 

What is Taxi and Rideshare Advertising?

Taxi advertising and Rideshare advertising are similar forms of Out-of-Home(OOH) advertising. They both involve placing ads on small vehicles. They target audiences from an external vantage point of those who see the car moving. They can also contain indoor ads to entice riders to interact with a brand. 

Taxi and Rideshare advertising reaches broad audiences. This is especially true in cities where ride-sharing services are popular.  

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What Options Are Available for Rideshare and Taxi Cabs?

Taxis and Rideshare advertising provide many options for advertisers to spread their message throughout a market. Some of these options include: 

  • Wrapped Taxis: These ads involve wrapping the exterior of a taxi or rideshare vehicle with a vinyl ad. It can be an eye-catching way for advertisers to gain maximum exposure, making the taxi stand out against other vehicles. 
  • Taxi Trunk Ads: Taxi trunk ads can be a cost-effective option that still provides visibility to those behind or near the cab in traffic. 
  • Interior Ads: Taxis often have screens inside the car where advertisers can place their ads. This can allow for targeted advertising to a captive audience. When an advertiser buys an interior ad, they usually buy ads for an entire fleet of vehicles. 
  • Taxi Roof Top Ads: Taxi rooftops often have ads in the form of a lightbox - or, more often than not, a digital display. They can provide excellent visibility. But many are now digital, so advertisers may have less than 100% Share of Voice (SOV). Multiple ads from different brands may be running on one taxi. Those that use digital taxi tops need to ensure the ads are bright enough to be visible during daylight hours. 
  • Door Ads: Much like trunk ads, advertisers can place ads on the vehicle's doors, reaching the audience as the taxi passes.  It can be more cost-effective than a fully-wrapped vehicle. 
  • Tablets: Some ride-sharing services offer tablet-based advertising options. These allow advertisers to target passengers with interactive ads and promotions.
  • Embellished Taxi Tops: Some advertisers may add to taxi tops or embellish an entire vehicle. This helps the advertisement grab attention and stand out. Adding one or two of these unique custom vehicles can add to the impact of your campaign.

A few other options are available, including wraps for other specific parts of the vehicle or branded accessories like seat covers. Options will depend on the specific ride-sharing service and the packages they offer. Las Vegas is one city that has interesting options because it has more independently owned taxi companies. In markets like New York City, when you buy interior media, you are buying that fleetwide rather than based on geolocation. This means that advertisers would be buying ads for every cab in the market that is in service and running their campaigns citywide. 

There is little to no control over where the ads run for static advertisements. But wrapped taxis are often taken out of service. This makes them act much like Mobile Billboards. Advertisers can choose custom routes, build a swarm, or have a takeover that targets an event or location. A taxi swarm leverages a fleet of taxis as moving billboards to generate buzz, raise brand awareness, and reach a broad audience.

Do Lyft and Uber Allow Rideshare Advertisements?

Lyft and Uber both allow rideshare advertisements. Uber and Lyft both offer rideshare advertisements through their companies. For more traditional taxi fleets and other rideshare, brands may sign up with a third-party company specializing in ride-share advertising, such as Firefly.

Advertisers choose the type or types of advertisement they will use. Then the advertising company finds ride-share drivers willing to have the ads installed on their vehicles. Ride-share drivers who sign up to drive ads around are paid, usually based on the number of miles they go with the ads on their cars.

The rideshare advertising companies each have their own rules and regulations. Please make sure your ads follow size and placement guidelines, as the ads will be subject to review and approval by the rideshare company. 

What are the Benefits of Taxi and Rideshare Advertisements?

In urban settings, taxis and rideshare vehicles are often a part of the consumer journey. Someone may get off their plane on their way to a conference and see an ad for that conference or related products inside the taxi. Once that person reaches their hotel, they step out of their taxi.  Those surrounding the hotel have the chance to see the ad. Taxi and Rideshare advertising tends to do well in dense cities. For example, Los Angeles has tons of taxis, but the impact might not be as significant as in Manhattan or San Francisco. Here are some of the benefits of Taxi and Rideshare advertising:

  • Very Flexible: It can be activated quickly, especially if you choose digital advertising. Buys can be short-term and used to amplify events through takeovers and swarms for one day. 
  • High Visibility: Rideshare and taxi vehicles move through high-traffic areas. This allows many people to see the exterior ads.
  • Targeted Advertising: Advertisers can place ads that operate in specific areas. This helps them target their desired audiences. 
  • Captive Audience: Interior advertisements have a captive audience of passengers. This makes them more likely to engage with a brand.  
  • Increased Brand Awareness: Taxis and ride-sharing services are an integral part of urban and suburban transportation.   Advertising on these vehicles can help increase brand awareness and recall among consumers.

Taxi and Rideshare advertising can be an effective way for brands to reach a broad audience. Targeting consumers on the move and in a captive environment helps reach and engage with potential customers. 

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How are Audiences Targeted in Taxi/Rideshare Advertising?

The most common way to target audiences in Taxi and Rideshare advertising is geotargeting. Advertisers can target specific zip codes or areas to reach their audience. Rideshare advertising companies will provide data on how many trips are usually taken to a particular area. This gives advertisers an idea of how much of their target audience they may reach through their ads. 

Geotargeting a location helps advertisers to reach specific demographics that live or travel to that area. For example, some sites may have more people who fit within a certain age, gender, or income. 

 What Types of Business Benefit Most from Rideshare and Taxi Advertising

Taxi/Rideshare advertising can work well for various businesses, but depending on the market, there may be a different approach. Taxi advertising for events or conferences might be more popular in some markets.  But it may be part of a standard OOH media plan in other markets, such as New York City.

Taxi and Rideshare advertising works well for any brand that wants to take a geocentric approach. It is perfect for brands that want to build general awareness and branding.

It also doesn’t work for brands with a complicated campaign message because the message is moving. Ads should be designed for quick reads. Likewise, a campaign that leverages QR codes or where information needs to be written down will not work as well.  Rideshare and Taxi advertising have short dwell times.

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 How is Success Measured in Taxi/Rideshare Advertising?

The success of Taxi and Rideshare advertising should be evaluated based on the specific goals of the campaign. These goals often use metrics such as reach, frequency or impressions. Before you begin your campaign, third-party ad providers for rideshare and tax vehicles will tell you where they see the most trips happening. They know what areas will have many taxi tops available and will serve you well for your campaign. After the campaign, they can tell you how many impressions were delivered and give you other details to help you measure your campaign’s success.

 How Rideshare/Taxi Advertising Fits into an OOH Strategy

Rideshare and Taxi advertising gets you in the location that you want to be. It's a mobile way of amplifying any traditional media format in a specific vicinity. When the vehicle reaches a particular place, your ad will turn on to provide an added layer of awareness for people in that area. It pairs well with other transit options and large format advertisements as an incredible support to amplify your campaign.  Ready to get your message on the move? Reach out to Billups today!


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