Disruptive upstart Uber has certainly hit its share of PR speed bumps on its journey to ridesharing domination—crises, faux pas and “misspeaks” of various shapes and sizes, resulting in allegations of media threats, price gouging and random misogyny—but the San Francisco-based company has managed to rise above the scandalous headlines and basically revolutionize 21st-century mobility around the world. Through it all, Uber has countered its critics by generating a mountain of positive social media buzz and, along the way, assembled a sizeable group of loyal followers.
Not surprisingly, the hustle/bustle of the big city is Uber’s bread and butter—but just how does the service’s popularity and sentiment rate among the largest U.S. burgs? A new report from Canada-based media monitoring firm MediaMiser analyzed the online and social media coverage in the five largest American cities— New York City, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles—as well as non-media sentiment, about Uber and the overall ridesharing industry.
According to the research’s findings, Uber’s friendliest plugs come from New York City, where its Twitter account is awash with prolific positivity, meriting the most mentions most often among all five locales per capita (with 66% of tweets having a positive tone), and accumulating a whopping 53% share of voice.
Uber is also a web-media darling in the Big Apple, where it was mentioned in the most regional cyber-articles—even though the Washington Post published the most online Uber news stories overall, where legislative and regulatory issues dominated coverage. Other topics and issues generating online news coverage include tax industry friction, unsafe drivers and passenger safety.
Overall Top Issues in Online News:
On the negative side, D.C. was host to the most negative Twitter mentions about Uber among the five cities, mostly due to user complaints, but overall, the positive/negative sentiment did not fluctuate too much from city to city (the Uber-bashing posts largely involved safety issues).
Outside of media coverage, the safety issue hasn’t turned into a buzzkiller for Uber by any means—76 percent of survey responses indicate that patrons feel safe or very safe in an Uber vehicle (only 4 percent said they felt unsafe or very unsafe, although the sample was too small for results to be considered “scientific.”). Likewise, three quarters of passengers felt secure about Uber’s payment procedures, and gave positive nods to car cleanliness. But Uber’s biggest praises revolved around the service’s stock in trade—convenience: an overwhelming 93% said this attribute was their #1 reason for using Uber.
Big picture: Uber’s popularity and positive sentiment—as well as that regarding the overall ridesharing industry—dominated online news stories and Twitter mentions, with more than half containing a positive tone, and only about a quarter giving Uber a rough ride.
Want to find out more about Uber’s online and social sentiment, including a look at the company’s various offerings, and take a look at the nuts of bolts of news coverage and social conversations about the service (as well as which cities and countries have eschewed those rose-colored glasses and banned Uber outright)? Download MediaMiser’s full report here.