Waze and McDonald’s Connect OOH, In-Car Ads with Geofencing

Google’s Waze and McDonald’s teamed up last October to coordinate out-of-home (OOH) billboards and in-car advertising. The two geofenced roughly 300 billboards in Southern California and served Waze “zero-speed takeover” ads to drivers within proximity of the OOH placements.

These units only appear when the car has come to a complete stop.

The ads included a “drive there” call-to-action, which then took users to a nearby McDonald’s location. Reportedly, there were more than 8,000 “navigations.” Almost 2 million Waze users saw the coordinated campaign, which will be now expanded to additional markets.

There was no reporting on how much lift was provided by the addition of the Waze ads. However there’s other data that show the combination is more effective than either medium on its own.

Waze ZST ad unit

These units operate both as direct response and awareness ads. Not all drivers are able or willing to take immediate action but may later visit a McDonald’s and buy one of the advertised items. Other studies have shown that the impact of geofenced advertising is as much about brand awareness as it is immediate action.

Using mobile-location data to measure the impact of exposure of OOH ads has been going on for some time now. However, this is a unique campaign coordinating in-car digital ad exposures with billboards. And while it has been possible to do something like this for at least a few years, this is the first such campaign that I’m aware of. It should cause many other brands to follow suit.

OOH is the only traditional advertising medium that is seeing growth; even TV is not. That’s partly because digital has still not reached the majority of commuters but also because location data now makes OOH much more data-driven and measurable.

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