A platform by the Louisville-based startup Adder will let you make money for using your car as a rolling billboard. | Courtesy of Adder Mobile Technologies

A new app rolled out by a Louisville-based startup will enable you to monetize your car as a rolling billboard.

Adder Mobile Technologies on Monday rolled out a mobile advertising platform, through which companies of all sizes can find people to wrap their cars in branded advertising campaigns. In turn, the drivers get paid by the month.

It’s sort of a Lyft or Uber concept, but for advertising. And for the advertiser, it’s essentially a billboard that doesn’t simply stay put — it travels around in specific areas, reaching specific audiences. Trying to calculate ROI for a billboard is guesswork, but by literally mobilizing the ad, more opportunity for targeting presents itself, company officials said.

In other words, if an advertiser local to Jeffersontown wants to focus on a specific demographic that fits the natural profile of the area and a driver works or lives near Hurstbourne Road, that’s a vehicle that theoretically would offer frequent exposure to the desired demographic.

And unlike, say, a Google or Facebook advertising campaign, the advertising money spent is recycled back to area workers. Drivers would make between $100 and $600 per month, depending on the scope of the ad campaign, the level of exposure in the targeted area and the type of car.

Ian Gerrard

“In a nutshell, our drivers’ cars are like mobile billboards, paid for on demand, with a gig economy component that helps keep advertising dollars local,” said Ian Gerard, chief executive and product architect for Adder.

A Lyft or Uber driver, then, could find an opportunity to double dip, showing off a marketer’s ad while driving riders around town.

While other concepts like Adder’s already exist, Gerard explained that the analytics engine behind it is what sets it apart. The GPS technology uses more than 2.5 billion GPS coordinates and more than 20 billion data points daily, collected from third parties, to return key data which can be translated to ROI statistics for advertisers.

“We’re analyzing a very large amount of data to understanding how people are interacting with the ads,” he said.

Adder also has partnered with Adway USA, a vehicle advertising company in Los Angeles. Adway will use Adder Analytics on one of its vehicular campaigns to help determine the reach of the mobile ads.

The way it works is that an advertiser can use the app to sign up for an ad campaign targeting the desired demographic, and the driver’s process is similar to that of an Uber or Lyft driver, although it isn’t just one trip — campaigns average about three months, but can be as short as one month or carry on for years.

It’s a two-week process for a driver to become verified, which requires proper insurance, a safe driving record and a car that is in good shape and less than 10 years old. In addition, a driver’s travel will be monitored during those two weeks to determine what areas they frequent the most so that they can be paired with an advertiser.

Once validated, they take their car to an area shop to have it wrapped with removable vinyl decals. There is no cost to the driver for the verification or the wrap.

Businesses of all sizes can advertise through the Adder platform. | Courtesy of Adder Mobile Technologies

Gerard noted that the advertising isn’t capturing any personal data for retargeting — it’s very much an out-of-home advertising vehicle, like a billboard. In other words, if you look at a new couch online, you might start seeing Facebook messages about couches, but you won’t start seeing a car festooned with a Burdorf Interiors ad passing you on a regular basis.

“We’re not going to a level where we’re going to drive a car by right while you’re thinking about something,” Gerard said with a chuckle.

Adder was founded in 2017; the company now has 16 employees.

Gerard said this new use for the analytics technology Adder has developed is a proof of concept effort to test the technology’s flexibility and efficacy. “We’re trying to find novel and unique ways.”

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Kevin Gibson
Kevin Gibson tackles the 3Rs — retail, restaurants, real estate — plus, economic development. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono. Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies.Email Kevin at [email protected]