Grab’s new ad unit seeks to engage consumers

SINGAPORE: Grab, the ride-hailing firm, announced last week the launch of an advertising unit called GrabAds that aims to provide brands with an online-to-offline platform to engage with consumers – and now the head of the business has outlined what it hopes to achieve.

In an interview with Marketing, Nasheet Islam said that while news of the platform only emerged recently, GrabAds has already run 1,000 campaigns over the past year and has signed up a number of major brands across Southeast Asia, including Pepsi and Unilever.

Islam, a former digital entrepreneur, said that his team are running “car wrap” campaigns, events and roadshows across the region to promote the new business.

GrabAds is pursuing a localised strategy, he said, and is linking up with local ad management companies in each market in a bid to deliver seamless campaign management for both brands and drivers.

“Consumers have different lifestyle preferences, including how they want to engage with brands,” he said. “That is why our ad product is slightly different from market to market, and we work with strong local ad management partners to deliver maximum value for brands and their customers.”

For example, Media Prima Digital in Malaysia has teamed up with Grab to provide short-form content, such as news and entertainment, to enhance the in-car experiences of passengers.

Elsewhere, GrabAds is offering clients the chance to build and customise widgets – games, quizzes and content – for Grab’s app, which also provides a news feed for customers should they need information.

“We believe in delivering sponsored experiences that are memorable, non-intrusive and will drive unique benefits for our customers,” said Islam. “This is currently an innovation space and we keep user experience and engagement as the top metrics across all our ad experiences, offline and online,” he added.

“We believe there is tremendous growth potential across Southeast Asia … What’s important is that we help take brands to where their customers are, and work with them on designing engaging and personalised experiences that will help them cut through the noise.”