Rideshare companies have already disrupted the taxi industry and now a new startup is selling advertising content to display within the vehicles.
Ride-A-Long Media uses tablets to display ads from local bars, restaurants, and nonprofits on the back of the seat where the Uber and Lyft passengers see them.
“We operate this at a low enough price point that it’s beneficial to the local business community.”
Joe Van Oflen
Founder Joe Van Oflen was driving part-time for Lyft when he saw a taxi with a similar ad display. He thought that would be a great opportunity for rideshare drivers to make extra money and give exposure to local businesses.
“We operate this at a low enough price point that it’s beneficial to the local business community,” Van Oflen said.
There’s one key difference, though.
“We didn’t want to just show ads like they do in taxis and be intrusive to the ride,” Van Oflen said. “Our ads are silent unless they elect to unmute them. We feel that is more respectful for the ride they are paying for.”
They’ve got a growing number of advertising partners, including Nodding Donkey and BrainDead Brewing, as well as nonprofits such as Paws in the City, an animal rescue group, and Foundation 45, a suicide prevention group in Deep Ellum.
FROM IDEA TO IMPLEMENTATION IN LESS THAN A YEAR
Van Oflen came up with the idea for Ride-A-Long Media in February, founded the company in March, and received seed funding in August. The amount was not disclosed.
Behind the scenes, analytics are tracking the number of times an ad ran, whether the vehicle was moving and its location. They also get the trip logs from the ride share drivers so they know how many passengers saw the ads.
“We’re able to paint quite a picture of our coverage,” Van Oflen said. “We use that to validate the data we’re collecting.”
Uber and Lyft drivers have small margins and this will help them make extra money.
The ads can also spark conversations between the passenger and the driver. If the passenger wants, the driver could literally drive business to the restaurant or bar.
“We use online learning software to teach our drivers about our ad partners,” Van Oflen said. “The driver’s going to engage you in a conversation and provide you with a really neat experience.”
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