Despite their sociopolitical woes, Uber has maintained their prominence as a first option among millennials to get from Point A to Point B in a comfortable setting. But, one thing’s certain. Whoever pays for the ride wants to be paid back.
How is the friend who called the Uber going to get paid back?
Insert Venmo. Last year, Venmo and Uber teamed up to allow payments through Venmo on the Uber app. How is this different from a bank account being connected to Uber? Transactions are seamless on Venmo. Venmo is the new cash. And with Uber, you can split costs via Venmo before the ride even happens, relieving any stress that you might have about not being paid back and getting everyone to the destination safely.
You may be thinking, “There’s cash, there’s a splitting costs feature on Uber, there’s buying the friend something equally as valuable. There’s all kinds of ways to pay the friend back.” These are valid answers; However, they are not the most convenient. People are willing to pay more for convenience. Just look at Uber Eats. Instead of just ride-sharing, Uber busted into the delivery service game and partnered with McDonalds to start delivering food through mobile ordering. That’s right, McDonalds. A restaurant that can be found less than five minutes from practically anywhere delivers food now and it’s done from the comfort of an app.
So, when you’re scrolling through memes, you can switch apps, buy food in 30 seconds and have McDonalds delivered to your door by the end of your favorite Friends rerun. According to NRN, “[Digital ordering] represents 53 percent of all [food] delivery orders, up from 33 percent in 2013.”
But the classic payment quandary facing Millennials needed to be fixed. How is the friend who fronted the money getting paid back in a timely manner?
To a non-millennial or non-Gen Z audience, this might still not click. People have been dealing with paying back their friends since the dawn of currency. But for young consumers, things need to be instant. The Uber-Venmo coupling is Convenience Nirvana. And for Digital Marketers, it’s another sign that Corporate Partnerships are a top priority for Branding.
Corporate Partnerships aren’t new, but they might as well be in this new age of Digital Marketing. These partnerships have had many looks throughout the years from disaster relief initiatives to Doritos Locos Tacos. In reality, their main purpose is to increase brand awareness and increase capital while divvying up costs and responsibilities.
In the world of digital marketing though, influence is quantifiable in terms of email subscribers and social followers. When big companies band together today, they are able to absorb a chunk of their partner’s audience, building on top of the audience they already have. Audience overlap is vital for corporate partnerships to succeed. For instance, Taco Bell and Doritos’ target demo of Late teenager to late 20-something midnight munchie warriors makes the two companies a match made in heaven.
Every parent in America was rolling their eyes upon the roll-out of “Doritos for taco shells.” Much like a lot of Taco Bell’s creations, it sounded like a microwave nacho invention by a D-average Colorado high schooler on suspension. But, the companies didn’t care because they knew their complementary audiences. After a little market research, T-Bell and Doritos were already celebrating. All they needed was a solid Digital Marketing Strategy. What was it?
When you get invited to a party there’s an expectation that you supply something like beer. Well, what if instead it was a Taco 12 pack. It’s a little ironic and it’s very smart.
Pushing it out via many a social media channels, 100 MILLION Doritos Locos Tacos were sold in the first 10 WEEKS, and in the first 14 months an average of 1.1 MILLION Tacos were sold per day. Oh yeah, and their science experiment didn’t just satisfy late night taste-buds. The initiative created 15,000 new jobs for Taco Bell.
Audience Matters. And, Venmo knows this.
As technology has become a necessity in everyday life, cash is approaching obsolete territory. Millennials and Gen Zers prefer Venmo to make their transactions between friends and increasingly with businesses. If you can make instant transactions online and businesses are slowly trickling out of cash payment, then why should people use cash? Why carry a wallet?
Partnerships like these also give millennials a worthy reason to open their email. Many Venmo users don’t use Uber and vice versa. With both companies possessing giant email lists, they can leverage those channels to significantly extend their reach by offering a genuinely useful new product together.
It isn’t just pizza and beer that’s being paid for on Venmo. Big-ticket items like rent and utilities are being paid on Venmo. Venmo has really cornered the market of convenience. But, Venmo has done something else, which should not be overlooked. Their app is a social media platform. Possibly the biggest reason why people were drawn to it in the first place was caption creation feature for transactions.
Unsurprisingly, the company is turning fun into dollars. With Venmo’s Transaction Feed comes monetization for companies. Over the past year, PayPal (who acquired Venmo in 2013) has accelerated its efforts to profit from Venmo through e-commerce partnership brands. As a result of those partnerships, Pay with Venmo was launched, which lets customers use Venmo as a payment method with 2 million online retailers, including Grubhub, Williams Sonoma and Seamless among many others.
In addition to use at many retailers, Venmo rolled out its own limited-edition credit cards with Mastercard. Why would a revolutionary mobile-first payment platform join the physical payment world? According to Huber, “nine out of 10 transactions are still carried out at the physical point of sale, allowing PayPal to bridge the gap between physical and online transactions.”
Here’s the kicker. Venmo’s Social Feed is marketing for retail companies, which will help these companies target advertisements based on transaction history. Digital Marketing weaves its way into our everyday lives. For example, when someone buys a t-shirt from H&M in person or online with their Venmo account, the transaction will pop up on their social feed for others to see. Now, H&M knows to target that person with advertisements. Plus, H&M can target other people who engage with the post as well. Plus, people will just see H&M, so free marketing is always an added plus.
Venmo’s Social Feed is smarter than it looks. The company has the opportunity to analyze our spending habits better than Facebook, Amazon, and Google because it is directly connected to our spending. Did the creators of the app know the social feed would turn into a way to market companies? Doesn’t matter. They definitely know now.
Expect an amped up digital marketing strategy from Venmo in the near future. As popular as Venmo is, the company needs to make money. Marketing their retail partners by posting every transaction on the social feed is Venmo’s Yellow Brick Road towards Monetization. They live and die by the strategic partnership. Expect to see more companies on your Social Feed or expect to see Venmo fall from grace.