- On Monday, navigational app Waze announced a new ad format called Favorite Brands that allows users to “favorite” the businesses they’d prefer to see ads from, according to an exclusive Adweek report. User interactions and responses then allow marketers to better cater their content to those who "favorite," creating an organic feel similar to native content.
- Dunkin’ Donuts is the first company to try the Favorite Brands campaign. The coffee chain has a longtime partnership with Waze, first mapping all of its locations through the app in 2012, according to Adweek.
- Waze, which is owned by Google, reaches 65 million monthly users across the globe. Its Favorite Brands format will be in beta for the rest of the year.
Google-owned Waze becomes the latest app to try its hand at native ads — or at least recreating their style — following behind Twitter, which added a native checkbox to its audience platform just last week. Platforms and marketers are gravitating to native to address consumer demand for less intrusive ads on mobile.
As part of its rollout, Twitter cited research suggesting over half of U.S. millennials see more value in native, though many concerns linger over the format. Earlier this year, the Online Trust Alliance found that less than 10 percent of the top 100 publishers label native ads properly, and a MediaRadar study from August claimed that 12 percent of native spots simply have no label, period.
Waze, however, seems to be somewhat sidestepping the ethical gray area that often clouds native by putting brands front-and-center and more control in user hands. This potentially ensures that consumers are only seeing content they want to engage with — their "favorites" — and that marketers are getting the information they need to better target those dedicated consumers.
"[It] will give us the opportunity to identify and reward our most loyal customers, adding a layer of personalization and context to our messaging not previously available within a navigation app," Nick Dunham, director of media at Dunkin', told Adweek.
Dunkin’ Donuts and Waze’s long-standing partnership stands as a niche but notable example of how marketers are trying to enhance the mobile advertising user experience, and Brand Favorites is a potential next step in the right direction as it takes care to measure the wants of both marketers and consumers in its model.