How Lyft Attracts Advertisers With 'Digital Retail'

How Lyft Attracts Advertisers With 'Digital Retail'

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: November 24, 2023

Adding its own unique twist to ride-hailing, Lyft is steering into the world of 'Digital Retail,' and it's not just about getting passengers from point A to B anymore.

Recently, the ride-hailing company collaborated with NBC Universal to launch an advertising campaign for the upcoming film "Trolls Band Together," which releases on November 17. 

This isn't an average ad campaign; it's Lyft's strategic play to become a hub for 'Digital Retail.'

When users book a ride through the Lyft app, instead of seeing a car animation heading to their destination, they're greeted by a troll.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Lyft (@lyft)

This is just one of many ways Lyft allows brands to get creative with their ads.

Beyond the playful in-app Trolls animations, Lyft has wrapped cars, bike stations and in-app ads, and even took part in the Trolls movie premiere on November 15. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Lyft (@lyft)

Zach Greenberger, Lyft's chief business officer, believes the approach that's blending in-app advertising, video ads, in-car tablets and digital rooftop screens sets them apart in the market.

They call it "digital retail" - a mix of performance marketing and brand awareness tailored to advertisers' needs.

Does 'Digital Retail' Actually Work?

The numbers speak volumes, even if Lyft didn't spill the exact figures.

According to reports, the company's media business revenue quadrupled between the third quarter of this year and the same period of 2022.

While they've teamed up with big names like Audible, BetMGM and Universal Pictures, Lyft is making serious moves to attract advertisers by expanding its media team, adding around 40 new faces in product, engineering, data science, sales and marketing this year.

What makes Lyft's pitch more enticing is that it's not just banking on generic data. Greenberger boasts about Lyft's trove of first-party data, offering a unique insight into users' destinations and intentions.

Advertisers love this level of precision in targeting, from payment methods to lifestyle segments, giving them a front-row seat to where users are headed.

Brand consultant Allen Adamson sees the genius in this strategy, emphasizing short-term relevance and long-term brand building.

"So much of digital media is about selling a relevant message right then," he shared. "In the short-term, [a pitch of] 'we know where our target is going' is a strong selling point for them. They can play the relevance game." 

Subscribe to Spotlight Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest industry news