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3 Valuable PPC Advertising Lessons You Can Learn from Uber


Here at iSpionage we like to study campaigns from advertisers who spend a significant amount on PPC advertising and appear to be doing a good job managing their campaigns.

One such advertiser is Uber, the now famous taxi reservation and ridesharing app.

From what we can tell, Uber is spending as much as $500,000 to $1,000,000 per month on PPC ads, although we have to provide a disclaimer that those numbers are based on estimates since AdWords is a bidding system which means it’s impossible to know exactly how much Uber is spending unless you log into their account and look for yourself, something we obviously can’t do.

But for sure, Uber is spending a significant portion of the $1.2 billion dollars they’ve raised to run PPC ads.

So how are they using that money and what can you learn from their campaign?

Lesson #1: Always be testing

The first lesson is that you should always be testing when it comes to PPC. This includes new keywords, ad copy, and landing pages.

Uber seems to be a doing a great job with this, especially when it comes to landing pages.

We recently starting a landing page monitoring project for Uber and their competitors and found that Uber has been testing new landing pages at a higher frequency than most of the other advertisers we’re monitoring.

In early January, they ran different variations of the landing page seen below.

Uber Landing Page

Then at the beginning of February, they started testing different variations of the next page which has a darker theme and a different car.

Uber Landing Page

Most recently, they’ve started testing landing pages that feature a photo of a person along with a driver testimonial as seen below.


In each of these cases, Uber is testing something different. Sometimes they test different wording and headlines. In other cases they test the order of the benefits they use to sell people on becoming an Uber driver. And in addition to that, they also try entirely new designs that feature people instead of a car, etc.

The obvious reason they’re testing new pages is to see if they can find a variation that converts at a higher rate than their current rate, and we’re quite impressed with how many variations they’re testing.

Lesson #2: Your PPC competitors may not be who you think they are

Something you may not know about PPC advertising is that often your top competitors aren’t quite who you think they’ll be. This holds very true for Uber.

You probably think that Uber’s top PPC competitors are Lyft and other taxi services, but they’re not. Instead, their top competitors include websites like Indeed, Zip Recruiter, and Snag a Job.

You might be thinking, “Really? Job sites are Uber’s #1 PPC competitor?” The answer is yes.

Once you take a look at Uber’s PPC competition, something you can do with iSpionage as shown in the screenshot below, you learn that the majority of the businesses they compete against are job sites.


This ends up making sense when you dig a bit further and see that the top keywords Uber bids on are terms such as “driver jobs,” “job for retired,” “pepsi driving job,” “make money from home,” “coffee shops hiring,” and “domino s application.”

Yes, they also bid on terms like “car for hire” and “hire a car,” but more of their budget goes towards recruiting new drivers as compared to getting more people to use their app, which actually makes sense. They’ve received a lot of press about their ridesharing service, and what they really need is enough drivers to meet the demand for the number of people wanting to use their app, something they don’t have to advertise as much for.

So by looking at Uber’s PPC competitors, not only do you learn that they’re top competitors are job sites and not as much Lyft or other taxi or ride services, but you also learn something about their marketing strategy and what they’re using PPC ads to accomplish.

Note: Uber also competes with sites like Priceline and Hotwire for car rentals and/or hiring which further shows their PPC competitors aren’t necessarily who you’d intuitively think they’d be.

Lesson #3: Ads that match keywords and are unique

Not only does Uber do a good job testing new landing pages, but they also do a good job writing specific ads for different keywords and make sure their ads are unique and stand out.

For the term “car driver jobs,” they use an ad with a headline directly related to driving and also mention unique benefits of driving for Uber such as not having a schedule and earning $20 per hour.

Uber ad copy


In the next ad, they match the headline “Coffee Shop Hiring” with the term “coffee shops hiring.” This ends up being slightly misleading, but it’s an attempt to match the ad to the term searched, something that’s not always easy to do with the character limits AdWords imposes.

Uber ad for coffee shops


Overall, Uber (or their agency) does a good job matching ad copy with the term searched and the landing page with the ad copy, both of which are PPC 101 best practices.

Why we’re impressed…

We’re personally impressed with Uber’s PPC campaigns because we don’t see that many campaigns that are run this well, especially the number of pages and the frequency with which they’re running new A/B tests. It must also be nice to have $1.2 billion in funding which allows them to invest $500,000 to $1,000,000 per month in PPC advertising, something most AdWords advertisers would be jealous of.

And if you’ve been impressed with the insights from this post, you may want to take a look at our new landing page surveillance and campaign monitoring technology we released recently to complement our competitive keyword and domain research.

The new technology saves screenshots from competitor campaigns and sends daily alerts which provides better insights about your competitors’ strategies and keeps you up to date on every new change they make. Click here to learn more about landing page surveillance and campaign monitoring to see if it’s something that will give you the competitive advantage you need when it comes to PPC advertising.


Joe Putnam HeadshotJoe Putnam is the blog editor at iSpionage. You can get in touch with him on Twitter at @josephputnam to talk about PPC and on Clarity to get advice about content marketing.