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This Ad-Tech Start-up is Building its Business Atop Ride-Sharing

AdMov allows businesses to advertise inside Grab and Uber

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BY Ezra Ferraz - 18 Aug 2017

ride sharing

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

A popular pitch in the tech world is that a particular start-up is gunning to be “the Uber for X.”

AdMov, an ad-tech start-up based in the Philippines, turns this thinking on this head: Why try to be Uber for an industry when you can build a viable business on top of their existing network?

AdMov provides businesses with the opportunity to advertise within the ride-hailing network, such as Uber and Grab, through the use of tablets inside the vehicles. The idea was born out of their usage of ride-sharing vehicles and their frustration with other digital marketing solutions.

“We saw the value for businesses to be able reach these high value passengers. These are the people who are considered affluent in Filipino society. These people have high capacity to pay and belong to the middle to upper middle class segments,” says CEO and co-founder Ellard Capiral.

With the great potential of advertising in this space also comes great responsibility. Given that AdMov likely has their undivided attention, there is also pressure to entertain passengers, perhaps more than other advertising solutions.

“AdMov is an infotainment platform. We designed it to be a television on the road. Traffic in the metro is very horrendous. People spend 2 to 3 hours on the road stuck in traffic. We want to relieve this pain by providing entertaining and useful content to the riders,” says Capiral.

Of course what may be entertaining to a young male may be boring to an older female, and this differentiation is where AdMov’s expertise comes in. The front-facing camera of the tablet is able to detect the passenger’s age and gender through facial recognition. The platform is then able to serve them with more relevant content. “With this approach, we believe riders will become more engaged and have fun inside the vehicles,” he says.

Capiral and his co-founder, Bobby D. Cristuta, aim to develop this technology even further. As of now, they can track which ads are seen by whom and where. Eventually, they also want to track engagement, as you similarly can on a social media platform like Facebook.

“As we refine the facial recognition and AI, we will be able to track how many people are looking at the ads. We are also developing ways to track how long the passengers view the ads,” says Capiral.

If it seems AdMov is investing a lot into their platform, it’s because they feel they have a unique opportunity on their hands. Apart from having a captive audience, they can also geo-fence their audience.

“If you want to target certain areas, you can pin the map and specify the radius of your geo-fence. Ads will be displayed to any cars coming into or out from that target location. If you are a health insurance company, you can target areas where your potential clients might need your services,” Capiral says, noting that they’ve already run successful campaigns for both food chain Red Ribbon and events company Fierra De Manila.

At this stage, the challenge has not even been acquiring clients or vehicles and fleets to partner with – it’s procuring the necessary hardware for AdMov.

“The tablets and connectivity require investment. We are currently bootstrapping to expand the tablet quantity. We are talking to investors to [help] us scale,” he says.

Capiral also admits that the regulatory uncertainty around Uber and Grab in some countries in Southeast Asia can be a challenge.

“Uber and Grab has provided a lot of value to a lot of people. People rally to support these companies. We believe they will weather out the storm. Governments will eventually embrace these ride-sharing apps,” he says.

As an advertising-platform targeting passengers, AdMov can be deployed across many different modes of transport, thereby minimizing the company’s risk.

“AdMov is currently focused on ride-sharing services but the team can expand it to other transportation modes. It can run on traditional taxi services, bus services, and even rails. The platform can be extended to different verticals,” he says.