Data & Tech

Women+ Connect is Lyft’s latest effort to stand out in the rideshare space

The feature, which makes it more likely for women and nonbinary riders to match with women and nonbinary drivers, is being advertised in OOH and on social.
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Lyft

· 4 min read

“You should use your phone, call a Uber. You a goofy if you think I don’t know you need a Lyft.”

Those wise words, eloquently rapped by Chance the Rapper in his 2016 hit, “All Night,” point to a truth for anyone who’s spent a late night at the club: Sometimes, you need to call a ride home. But how to choose between Uber and Lyft?

Earlier this year, Lyft unveiled a new feature nationwide intended to make that choice easier for some of its riders. The feature, called Women+ Connect, makes it more likely that women and nonbinary riders will be matched with women and nonbinary drivers.

It’s the ride-hailing app’s latest effort to signal its support for the LGBTQ+ community, while also marketing itself as a safer choice for a portion of its employees and customers.

“It has kind of a brand halo,” Jen Winston, director of social media at Lyft, told us. “It shows that we’re supporting women and nonbinary people, and shows that we are advocating for that comfort.”

Lyft off

To grow awareness of the feature, Lyft has rolled out a multi-pronged ad campaign, including visual ads across New York City at Citi Bike bike-share kiosks, which Lyft owns and operates. In February, Lyft also ran a billboard in Times Square promoting Women+ Connect that featured pop icon Christina Aguilera, along with a spin on lyrics from her 1999 hit “What a Girl Wants”: “What a girl wants. What a girl needs. How a girl gets there.”

Beyond out-of-home, Lyft has promoted Women+ Connect on its social media channels, including through partnerships with influencers. Zaya Perysian, a trans influencer with 4.8 million followers on TikTok, posted a video on the platform last September encouraging her followers to utilize the new feature.

“I’ve been in some not-so-fun situations, especially being trans, so this feature makes me so excited,” Perysian says in the video while applying makeup to her face. “I believe this is going to bring so much positive change to countless trans women like me out there.”

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Posts like Perysian have resonated with members of the queer community, Winston said, and the Lyft campaign promoting the feature has amassed 69 million organic impressions. (Lyft declined to share total ad spend on the campaign.)

“We’ve leveraged that insight and we’re leaning more into supporting that community publicly,” Winston said. “We’ve always, as a company, supported the LGBTQ+ community, but we are taking that insight and trying to leverage it and do more.”

Lyft will continue to signal its support of LGBTQ+ people when it co-hosts an activation with Stud Country, the “queer church of line dance,” during Pride Month in New York City.

The campaign surrounding Women Connect+ further comes as the latest in several efforts to cement the brand as an alternative to Uber, its main competitor. It also comes a year after co-founder and CEO Logan Greene stepped down following a period of financial struggles for the brand.

The company, which has undergone cost-cutting measures and has explored potentially offloading its bike-share business, has seen some bright spots as it has pushed into in-app advertising, including video ads. In February, the company, which said it had 22.4 million active riders as of Q4 2023, reported that it expected to be cash-flow positive for the first time this year.

David Risher, who took over as CEO last year, gave the greenlight to implement the new driver-rider match feature, Winston said, and she said that so far, it has been a joy to market.

“So often in marketing, you have to market something that is sort of run-of-the-mill, or that people don’t really care about,” Winston said. “It’s amazing to actually talk a lot about something that actually matters to people, and that you want to make people aware of. By doing marketing, you’re actively spreading the word.”

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