Uber will become an ad platform, selling space inside its Eats app to restaurants hoping to lure in more food delivery orders. A recent Uber job listing spotted by TechCrunch seeks an Uber Eats Ads Lead “to lead the team and efforts responsible for creating a new ads business that enables eaters to discover new foods and restaurants to grow their customer base.”
An Uber spokesperson confirmed the company would be entering the ads business, telling TechCrunch, “We are exploring relevant ads in Eats.” Selling ads could help it improve margins on Eats, where it only takes 10.7% of gross bookings as adjusted net revenue because it pays out so much to restaurants and drivers.
I followed up with Uber’s senior director and head of Eats product, Stephen Chau, who hinted at the company’s aspiration in the ads business. “There’s a bunch of different ways we can work with restaurants over time. If we have all the restaurants on the marketplace and we give them tools to help them grow, then this will be a very efficient marketplace. They’re going to be spending those ad dollars somewhere,” Chau told me. We’ve been checking on the company’s progress in ads ever since.
As we predicted, now instead of just a quid pro quo, where Uber exchanges added visibility to restaurants willing to offer discounts that could keep users loyal to Uber Eats, it plans to formally sell ads.
“As this is a brand new space for Uber,” the Toronto-based Eats Ads Lead “will be responsible for defining the vision for this new product area and determining where to start building.”
The job listing also notes whoever takes the role will “Help formulate our business, product and go-to-market strategy for ads” and “Creatively experiment and quickly iterate on early tests.” Signaling global ambitions for Eats ads, the Lead will “Customize and scale this offering across the world.”