The strength of digital marketing, as opposed to conventional, is programmatic advertising. Without consumer profiling and demographics, targeted brand communication is not possible. Careem Digital Ad Platform is an attempt to tap the large commuter base for delivering sponsored messages.
The press release issued by Careem did not specify how commuters will be coaxed to watch branded communications. Delivering marketing content to commuters is not a new thing but it certainly is for short-distance travelers. Intercity transport systems (Trains, Buses, Airplanes) have been effectively using marketing tools for advertising.
The reason why nobody ever thought of advertising for local transport is due to the short and cumbersome travel duration. The important factor to consider, apart from the duration and time, is attention. In long-distance travel, travelers need something to occupy their minds with. But before bombarding them with serious marketing content they are cajoled into watching some entertainment-filled content. The ads kick in as soon as we get their attention.
Careem Digital Ad Platform, even if it is programmatic, could face the problem of engaging the available audience. Since Careem provides an App-based solution for our daily rides, we cannot imagine a commuter without a mobile device. It’s even a bigger challenge to divert the attention of the travelers from their mobile screens and watch content that might not be to their liking.
Initially, to make it work Careem Digital Ad Platform is giving incentives to the captains to opt-in to earn some extra money. But is there any option for Careem users to opt-in or opt-out if they are not interested to watch the displayed content?
Careem has taken this initiative in collaboration with Lambda Marketing Solutions. The plan was run for a trial period of one month in which around 20 screens were installed that generated around 36,000 views. In the next phase, Careem Digital Ad Platform plans to install 5,000 screens for three months. According to company estimates the second phase is expected to get around 3.5 million views.
Careem captains are not likely to hesitate for an opportunity to earn more. It remains to be seen how this activity will translate for brands. At the end of the day, brands will have to quantify the ad spent vis-a-vis its sales and brand value. A few decades ago, consumers were attracted by invoking a sense of desire for a product because the brand was not aware of the need of any particular customer. Today digital marketing tools, like programmatic advertising, not only know what a consumer desires but also when and where it is needed. If Careem Digital Ad Platform was able to engage its users, it will certainly be a win-win situation for all stakeholders involved.