- Waze is shifting focus to what it calls "destination-based marketing" from location-based ads to highlight how its social navigation app helps mobile marketers reach on-the-go consumers, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. Instead of helping to understand where customers are, Google-owned Waze aims to help marketers see where its 115 million global users are headed to better anticipate their needs and influence their decision-making.
- U.S. businesses that advertise on Waze Local, which reaches nearby drivers, see a 20% jump in monthly navigations to their locations, the company said. Every dollar spent on Waze Local helps businesses reach an additional 384 new drivers.
- Waze's push into destination-based marketing comes as parent company Google starts selling advertising on Google Maps, the navigation app used by more than 1 billion people. The app now shows sponsored locations and paid listings when people use the app to find nearby gas stations, coffee shops or other businesses, Bloomberg reported.
Local businesses, including retailers and restaurants, can use all the marketing help they can get in driving consumers into their locations as overall store visits continue to decline.
With consumers increasingly comfortable using their mobile devices for shopping as well as navigation, Waze hopes to ramp up its existing efforts partnering with brands to put a bigger focus on the last mile of a trip, when consumers conceivably are making decisions about where to shop or eat. Almost two-thirds (60%) of people trying to decide where to eat use only their mobile device to guide their decision, per Facebook research cited by QSR magazine. Its survey found that 75% of those people hadn't decided where to eat when they started their search, suggesting that restaurant ads on Waze could help to drive visits to restaurants.
Waze is already attracting major marketers and the focus on destination marketing could grab the attention of additional brands. Last month, Waze worked with McDonald's on an outdoor ad campaigns to reach on-the-go consumers. Waze reported that McDonald's earned 6.4 million mobile impressions by tying together billboards and in-app advertising in a pilot program in Southern California. The burger chain will continue to work with Waze in the region this year and expand the partnership to Las Vegas, Arizona, Tampa, Orlando and Houston.
Ad agency holding group WPP partnered with Waze in February to help retail brands reach consumers while they drive. The partnership aims to boost store traffic and sales for retailers in Canada, France, Italy, the U.K. and U.S.
The news comes as more marketers are looking to reach mobile users, with mobile advertising expected to grow over the next couple of years. Ads on Waze last year generated more than 7.2 million navigations to local U.S. businesses, or about 20,000 a day, the company said. Campaigns on the app boosted visits to retailers by 38%, fast food restaurants by 36% and gas stations by 35%, per third-party measurements cited by Waze.
Waze and Google Maps are both popular navigation apps with plenty of opportunity to monetize their features with paid ads that reach on-the-go consumers. Waze tends to be more engaging for drivers with its emphasis on community sharing of real-time traffic information, including accidents, construction and speed traps. The app also urges users to share gas prices to help others find the cheapest fill-up.