Intended to Be Simple and Affordable, ‘Waze Local’ Officially Launches

Previewed last year at LSA17 by Waze’s Matt Phillips, the Google-owned company is now formally rolling out “Waze Local.” It features three ad units intended to be very simple and accessible to small businesses.

The ad units are: “branded pin” (radius targeted), “promoted search” and “zero-speed takeover” (shown below from left to right). The first two are self-explanatory, though branded pin has additional features. Zero-speed takeover is a banner ad that appears only when the car is stopped in traffic or otherwise stationary.

During a phone conversation yesterday, Phillips told me the company had been testing these ads and getting SMB input over the past year.

Waze Local

Phillips added that Waze has 100 million active users who spend about 11 hours per month in the app. According to data, in a promotional slide presentation, that means it’s on par with Instagram and second only to Facebook in time spent/engagement.

Waze Local has three programs: starter, plus and Waze for brands. These programs offer different pricing requirements and types of support. Starter is intended for businesses with fewer than 10 locations. They’re required to spend only a minimum of $2 per day and can cap budgets above that. Plus offers live support, higher minimums and is intended for businesses with up to 50 locations.

Waze Local

Phillips told me that Waze Local beta advertisers saw “20.4 percent more monthly navigations” than non-advertiser business locations. That makes sense because of increased awareness. Ironically, most of those in the “starter” program will see this as a way to drive immediate foot traffic and sales (direct response). But it’s probably most effective as an awareness or branding vehicle that will result in visits or sales at a later time.

Both Placecast and GroundTruth have found that geofenced ads or notifications don’t change behavior in the moment, but create awareness or reminders that influence later shopping patterns and purchases.

In a survey of 800 SMBs, Waze found the following were the most important program considerations features:

Most important SMB considerations re Waze Local

Waze SMB survey

What’s interesting about the above data are the following:

  • SMBs care about specific local reach
  • They want to pay based on “results” (meaning concrete actions or something closer to a sale)
  • They’re interested in self-provisioning ads themselves

Starter program users will see reporting on: impressions (reach), clicks, navigations to their storefronts and other on-screen actions. As you might infer this is principally for businesses with physical storefronts and not “service area” businesses. However, it would work well for them in an awareness context I’m sure.

Plus or Brands advertisers get some additional metrics and reporting.

Right now this is being sold directly by Waze and not through Google. I can imagine over time there might be an AdWords/Google Maps ads tie in, in the same way that one can buy Facebook and Instagram ads at the same time.

Phillips told me that there are a few resellers (e.g., Smart1) in the market. However, the company is “open” to additional reseller partners.

Waze will also be coming to LSA18

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