A few weeks ago in early September 2017, I saw a very interesting video ad by Uber on Reddit.
Now before you continue reading – here is a disclaimer!
All views expressed on this site are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsover with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.
I couldn’t really capture it very well as it was a video display ad served by Google’s platform.
Google’s display ad platform can serve animated gifs on other websites. But video? Very rarely done.
So using Loom, I captured the video which is located on the right hand side of the screen below.
Pretty impressive video ad. Obviously there was a lot of thought put inside this silent video.
I was actually captured by the ad because it started with a very nice image of chocolate drizzling (who can resist chocolate drizzle). This was followed by the joyous, happy face of Lindah – our Uber driver/entrepreneur/baker and a nice video pan of her smiling beside her car.
The anatomy of any marketing campaign starts with this acronym – A I D A. (Nothing to do with me but everything to do with marketing)
The chocolate drizzle captured my attention. And it was a very high quality video ad.
Two things worked in its favour:
- In a sea of nonsense low quality video ads, this was high quality and impressive. It immediately conveyed professionalism.
- It was a video ad that was NOT on Youtube! It was silent, non-intrusive and basically captured my attention and my click.
Watching Youtube is really now an exercise of waiting for the “You can close this ad in 3…2…1…seconds” banner.
We have the intrusion of Youtube ads that play before we are able to watch our video. So if there was a heatmap, most mouse clicks would probably hover over the bottom right hand corner.
So yes, nice work Uber – to put your high quality video ad on a website that is NOT Youtube.
The next thing that I absolutely loved about this ad was where it appeared. Sure, you can easily put ads on Reddit via the Google Display platform or using Reddit Ads directly.
But to make the ad appear on this particular thread on Reddit where the topic was “Unexpected Job Loss” – that was pure targeting genius.
Some careful and very thoughtful ad placements were planned within this GDN (Google Display Network) campaign.
Each time before we run any campaign – we need to make sure we are able to target our audience in a laser-accurate manner that is essential for conversion success.
Here Uber is very clear on their target audience. Marketers would call this the “customer persona”.
- People who are going to embark on the self-employment route towards entrepreneurship.
- They are people who will resonate with a certain value system: independence, freedom, entrepreneurial, professional.
And Uber is very likely to target “keywords” that must be present within the target placement website: like “job loss”, “retrenchment”, “layoff”.
But of course, such terms will never be mentioned within the ads itself. Uber ads will appear conveniently beside such topics but ads will be 100% aspirational, idealistic and aligned with Uber’s brand goals.
A combination of effective copywriting + thoughtful ad placements = SWEET CONVERSION SUCCESS
“Build a business and make money on the side. That’s a sweet deal.”
You won my click, Uber.
Let’s see how Uber arouses desire in attracting drivers.
So after I click on the video/banner ad, I am brought to Uber’s simple and clean landing page.
Love the crisp and simple design.
There is a Youtube video where Lindah actually shares her story.
After some googling, I found the actual video:
So to recap – the process starts with the intrigue that I got first with the first banner ad (chocolate drizzle + uber).
Curiosity is now heightened and I know I have only half the story. You see, the human brain cannot handle such “incompleteness” and must quickly find a resolution. You can’t leave me hanging Uber!
What happens to the affable, smiley baker/entrepreneur/Uber driver?
So I am basically “forced” to click – thanks to my lizard-desire, impulsive, curiosity-driven human brain.
And luckily Uber satisfies this urge by telling me the other half of the story with another professionally created Youtube video.
Uber wants to attract drivers – as many as possible. But it would be remiss to accept just anyone into its ranks. Hence the marketing must be designed to attract those who have similar values like Lindah.
Here Uber tries to resonate with those who feel the same and has similar value systems.
Automatically I would disqualify myself because I am totally unlike Lindah.
I absolutely hate driving.
Uber has helped to disqualify myself. While I may be part of the larger “entrepreneur audience” Uber might initially target – I am in the sub-market of those who hate driving.
Nevermind, for every person who hates driving, there will always be another person who likes driving.
And that is where Uber states – there are also many other people like Lindah as you scroll down the landing page.
They state the benefits – it’s never about Uber – it’s always how Uber can help to enable entrepreneurs.
And it is done in a way that is NOT in the typical bullet point manner.
There is something to be learnt here. I have seen plenty of ads where the company tries to sell itself FIRST.
Yes – you want to build up and show your credibility and show that you deserve the client’s money. But it is usually a mistake.
Instead, you have to sell problems and echo the thoughts of your prospects first.
And here, Uber echoes the thoughts of potential would-be UberEntrepreneurs clearly.
- Earn fares to support your business – The problem we know you have: You are just starting and you probably need transport. So why not earn some extra money at the same time?
- Drive & take care of business – The problem we know you have: You are scared to commit. But we are flexible, you can drive whenever you want.
- Convenient & easy – The problem we know you have: You are thinking of the costs. But we tell you about the “zero cost” – which will be super attractive.
Can YOU echo your prospect’s thoughts first?
Instead of going on headfirst and delivering a pitch that goes unnoticed?
So Uber does it well again – almost mind-reading any potential UberEntrepreneur that is visiting the landing page.
“Look we know you have a business to run. So let us provide you with a platform to share your business with your riders/passengers.” – Uber (in my own words)
And here Uber states that as a driver – you will have a light bulb icon beside your name! So your passengers can ask you about your business.
Nice! So Uber can be a way for you to promote your own business.
Uber doesn’t mind at all. Moonlighting? Nah we don’t care.
Finally, the last part of A I D A is taking ACTION.
Uber is likely spending a princely amount on marketing and acquiring drivers…
And will probably have a marketing team that does dozens of split tests….
Decides to go for the proven “Fill Up The Form” on the top Right Hand Side (RHS) of the landing page.
With a very visible call-to-action and a form that invites you to fill it up.
Why I say it is proven? Because I am sure you would have seen this RHS form around the Internet. It works.
I monitor Uber’s marketing because this company is absolutely relentless in trying to acquire drivers. I have been approached a few times on the street by Uber-clad black shirts asking me whether I have a driving licence. Their offline marketing is just as relentless.
The bit about the lightbulb icon to identify themselves as entrepreneurs – that is a nice recognition. I’m a fairly regular Uber rider but I’ve had no idea it existed. So that was a revelation.
This was a textbook marketing campaign – hitting all the right notes that elicits an EASY Yes from the target market.