The most recent update to Uber’s ride-hailing app allows the platform to track user location data even while the app isn’t in use, according to TechCrunch.
Earlier versions of the app only tracked user data while the app was running, however, the update requests users’ permission to keep location sharing always on. Uber plans to use the data gained to improve the user experience, like by offering more accurate pick-up times and locations.
Uber wants more accurate mapping technology that will cater to the needs of both its service and its customers. In August the company moved away from using Google Maps for its service and began using its own mapping technology. Google’s lack of accuracy in many non-Western countries led to increased friction between consumers and drivers. This means the company needs to boost the amount of location data it has.
Earlier this year, Brian McClendon, current Uber VP and ex-head of Google Maps, said that Uber wants to focus on the technology it really needs. In his words, Uber doesn’t need to know about an ocean’s topography, but it needs to have the most accurate and recent traffic and location updates.
Location data could also be used to provide new channels of revenue for the digital platform. This could include serving ads of local businesses or recommending nearby places of interest to users. Mobile marketing, which relies on accurate location data is a rapidly growing industry and could serve as a revenue windfall for Uber in the years ahead as it faces increasing competition. In fact, revenue from location-targeted mobile ads is expected to grow at an annualized rate of almost 34% between 2014 and 2019, surpassing $18 billion, according to a forecast from BIA/Kelsey.
Jessica Smith, a research analyst at BI Intelligence, has compiled a detailed report on mobile marketing that takes a close look at the different tactics being used today, spanning legacy mobile technologies like SMS to emerging capabilities like beacon-aided location-based marketing. The report also identifies some of the most useful mobile marketing technologies that mobile marketers are putting to good use as parts of larger strategies.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
- As consumers spend more time on their mobile devices, marketing campaigns are following suit. Mobile ad spend continues to lag mobile time spent, providing an opportunity for creative marketers.
- Marketers should leverage different mobile tactics depending on the size and demographics of the audience they want to reach and the type of message they want to send. With all tactics, marketers need to respect the personal nature of the mobile device and pay attention to the potential for communication overload.
- Mobile messaging — particularly SMS and email — has the broadest reach and highest adoption among mobile users. Messaging apps, relative newcomers but gaining fast in popularity, offer more innovative and engaging outreach options.
- Emerging technology, such as dynamic creative optimization, is breathing new life into mobile browser-based ad campaigns, but marketers should keep an eye on consumer adoption of mobile ad blockers.
- In-app advertising can generate high engagement rates, especially with video. Location-based apps and beacons offer additional data that can enhance targeting capabilities.
In full, the report:
- Identifies the major mobile technologies being used to reach consumers.
- Sizes up the potential reach and potential of each of these mobile technologies.
- Presents an example of a company or brand that has successfully leveraged that mobile technology to reach consumers.
- Assesses the efficacy of each approach.
- Examines the potential pitfalls and other shortcomings of each mobile technology.
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