Holiday shopping is just about to kick into gear, and brands now have one more app to consider for marketing this year—Uber. Today the ride-hailing app is partnering with location-data company Yext to let brands create in-app campaigns.
Uber has already worked with brands like Dick's Sporting Goods and Casper to deliver on-demand products but now appears to opening up the actual app as a marketing platform.
Here's how it works: Brands can use Yext's software to plug Uber's API into their mobile apps, sites and emails. Clicking on the button opens the Uber app—or prompts people to download it—and shows consumers where the store is located. Brands can then specify an exact address or location on a map where they want the person dropped off. Macy's, for example, can ask Uber drivers to drop a rider directly at the door of its Herald Square location in New York instead of dropping them off at the corner (where they're less likely to walk straight into the store).
While consumers still pay for the Uber ride, brands can set up campaigns within Uber once someone is in the car. In one example, brands can link a pin on an Uber map to a website showing in-store inventory at a shop. Or, a restaurant could pull its menu information into the app. The brands have to be paying Yext clients.
Yext said Cole Haan tested the Uber button to promote its fall collection in New York recently. And home healthcare company Bayada is using the tool to target job seekers with information about the company that interviewees can read while in the car.
"We're closing the loop so that businesses can provide a great experience all the way from search results to checkout, which includes actually getting to the location," Marc Ferrentino, evp of strategy and product at Yext, said in a statement.
Whether the idea will catch on in cities smaller than New York and where Uber is not as big— and consumers don't rely on ride-hailing apps to go shopping—isn't clear. But it will be intriguing to see how brands use Uber for location-based advertising.