Don’t Get Left Waze Behind in Marketing

As a small business, you have to keep up with currently marketing trends to keep your business competitive. And like most businesses, you’re constantly looking for ways to increase your brand awareness and drive traffic to your business.

With all of the marketing opportunities available, it can be a challenge to weed out the bad opportunities from the good… especially those that show an ROI (return on investment). So, to add another advertising opportunity into the mix… and one you may or may not have thought about… let’s talk about Waze.

I’ve read quite a few articles lately on the advertising options, competition, tracking, etc. to try and vet the service as a viable marketing opportunity or now. And from what I’ve seen, if you have a brick and mortar store (especially a restaurant), Waze could definitely be a great advertising opportunity for you.

But first…

What Exactly is Waze?

Waze is essentially an overlay of Google Maps that adds real time, crowdsourced data for traffic conditions. The entire app is built around providing a better travel experience. With Waze, if there’s an accident or a delay on the current route, Waze will re-route you to the quickest route. The app also notifies you of police in the area. It’s a pretty neat app.

As useful as the app is and with 100 million monthly active users, it’s no surprise that Google purchased the company last year (for nearly a billion dollars). But, if you think about it, with all of Google’s efforts lately to develop the local market for business ads, Waze is a great addition.

For those who advertise with Waze, you get a branded pin on the map (which is visible to everyone), as well as a billboard that goes across the top of the screen. This is pretty awesome for the right business in the right place at the right time. Although Waze advertising is available to a variety of industries, some common businesses that thrive using its advertising features are; gas stations, restaurants, retail stores, coffee shops, hotels, entertainment locations and a number of other businesses who depend on travelers and commuters to make a living.

Although Waze has been allowing large brands to advertise on its service since 2011, after roughly a year of testing, in March of 2019, Waze Local was launched. This service caters to small businesses and offers a variety of map-based ad units offering both search and display inventory: branded pins, promoted search, and “zero speed [screen] takeovers.”

Because the services is designed with the small business owner in mind, the ads are relatively low-cost starting at around $2/day. During the beta program, Waze reported that advertisers saw “20.4% more monthly navigation when they started advertising with Waze Local.”

So, How Does It All Work?

To create an account and get started advertising, the platform is pretty straightforward with very few settings… very user-friendly… and much less difficult than those who develop finely tuned Google Adwords campaigns.

While signing up you can upload your logo for the pin and create or upload a graphic for the billboard ad. You can also set a daily schedule for the ad to run and select which days of the week. And similar to social media advertising, you can bid how much you are willing to pay per a set number of impressions, lastly, set a monthly budget and you are ready to go.

The value of Waze is the ability to reach drivers close to your location with a local ad experience. There are three types of ads you can use to launch your marketing campaign:

  • A Branded Pin lets drivers know your business is on or around their route, and it gives the user more information when clicked.
  • A Promoted Search boosts your business to the top of search results along with your brand logo.
  • Zero-Speed Takeover works like a billboard by showing drivers your business when they are at a complete stop.

As mentioned above, the cost is fairly inexpensive when you take into account the number of app users and the targeted approach to drive traffic to your business. Pricing ranges from $2/day for the “Starter” package to $100/day for the “Plus” package. But, you decide how much you want to spend for every thousand impressions, so you are in total control of your budget.

Once your ad is up and running, it will give you metrics and reporting with impressions, clicks, navigation and more.

What Will It Do For Your Small Business?

I’m sure you’re wondering by now, what advertising on the app will actually do to your business. Well, according to a Case Study by Search Engine Land’s Greg Sterling, Waze Local ads drove a 57% increase in leads to local auto dealer.

Sterling spoke to Dave Gruhin, Director of Operations at a local (to him) Kia dealer from Bedford, Ohio (outside Cleveland), who said that since being hired in earlier in 2018, he has implemented a broad digital marketing program that includes multiple channels… one of those channels being Waze Local ads.

According to Gruhin, Waze Local ads alone resulted in a 57% increase in service leads in the first quarter. In real terms, this equals more than 120 additional repair orders per month, or 360 “direct navigations to the service bay” during the quarter. That’s potentially more than $125,000 in repair revenue (based on average repair pricing in Ohio).

Although neither revenue figures nor their actual Waze budget were disclosed, for a single location business, the budget maximum is $3,000 per month. Using that figure (max ad budget) and the average repair pricing figures above, Kia of Bedford received a hypothetical ROI of 42:1.

Most of the ad creative for the dealership included incentives such as free popcorn or coffee. And the ads that generated the most clicks, search ads seemed to perform the best overall.

With the total marketing program that included traditional radio, search ads, social media advertisement and Waze Local Ads, Kia of Bedford has moved above eight other dealerships in the greater Cleveland area and made it one of the top 10 Kia dealers in the United States. WOW!

To view more case studies about the success of Waze incorporated into marketing campaigns, check out Waze Case Studies.

Is It Worth It?

Since 2011, a lot of major brands have already jumped on the Waze bandwagon. With the launch of Waze Local Ads, those businesses who depend on traffic passing by should strongly consider Waze as part of their overall marketing strategy.

But, like with anything else, tracking your campaign is extremely important. One way for businesses with a lot of foot traffic can track the success of their ad is to use a trend line of foot traffic to your location before and after a paid option (such as Waze Local Ads) is activated, as well as the amount of users searching for your business or service.

If your primary goal in advertising is to increase foot traffic, Waze is definitely a strong option.

According to Google, Kung Fu Tea, who participated in the Waze Local Ads beta test, saw more than 5,500 drivers going to one of its 16 locations thanks to ads over a span of three months. On average, Waze Local delivered a 20% increase for the businesses which bought ads.

Matt Phillips, Head of Waze Local, says, “Small businesses are not interested in driving clicks to their websites. They want real-world impact. They want the ability to do that in a digital advertising context to be quick and easy. They don’t have big marketing teams, so they want the reporting to be simple as well. We took those needs and addressed them in Waze Local.”

My suggestion? Start small and test. With Waze users spending around 11 hours per month on the app, making it one of the most consumer-engaged apps in the marketplace, and with 100 million-plus users and growing — and backing by Google — it is worth taking a look.


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