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Scoop: Cargo pivots to car-top advertising, does layoffs

Cargo, a New York-based startup that sells snack-boxes and other amenities to ride-hail passengers, has laid off around two dozen employees and will pivot to car-top advertising, the company confirms to Axios.

Why it matters: A growing number of startups are under pressure to build sustainable businesses instead of focusing on unprofitable, top-line growth.

Background: Cargo, founded in 2016, debuted with items that Uber and Lyft drivers can put in their cars and sell to passengers.

  • It inked a partnership with Uber in 2018.
  • Drivers have earned $13 million by selling 12 million products to 35 million passengers across 14 cities and three countries, Cargo CEO Jeff Cripe tells Axios.

A few months ago, Cargo began testing car-top ad displays in Atlanta with Uber, putting it in direct competition with startups like Google-backed Firefly.

Programmatic Advertising Is Driving Rapid Growth in Mobile Video

As more people watch video content on their mobile devices, the nature of mobile video monetization is changing. This is particularly the case for programmatic advertising, which we define as an automated, technology-driven method of buying, selling or fulfilling digital display ad placements. Overall, mobile video ads sold programmatically generated $19.93 billion in revenues in 2019 in the US and will generate $24.87 billion in 2020.

Mobile programmatic video ads represented 87.1% of total mobile video ad spending in 2019. Roughly half of mobile video ad spending went to native video ads (mostly in-feed ads in social media), which are overwhelmingly sold programmatically. The other half were in-stream ads, including those within YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook Watch as well as premium OTT channels like Hulu.

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