Waze: The New Advertising Frontier


Normally that's the last thing I want to hear when I'm driving. It typically means I missed a turn or did something wrong. However, if I'm using the navigation app Waze, it's a completely different story. 

Waze is either doing one of two things- rerouting me around an obscene amount of traffic (Atlanta, I'm looking at you) or taking me for a pit stop to one of my favorite stores or restaurants. I'll never complain about avoiding a fender bender or swinging by Chick-fil-A. In case you're wondering, I'm a classic gal. #1 combo with a Coke Zero and Polynesian sauce is the way to my heart. 

Waze, a Google product, is the world's largest community-sourced navigation app. It's essentially social media for navigation with users reporting incidents and other important information. The app then aggregates the reported information and plans user's routes accordingly- helping them circumvent traffic, warning them about traffic cops and other dangerous road hazards. 

Waze isn't just for big business anymore. 

Waze's popularity with advertisers and users continues to grow. With 100+ million users spending around 11 hours/month in the app, it's a prime platform to literally drive users to your business. Waze takes advantage of a host of environmental advantages- users are particularly likely to be influenced by food, gas and lodging ads while on the road. If those options are conveniently on their route, or they can easily alter their route, they're even more likely to visit those establishments. Waze also has a captive audience with the ability to display pop-up ads to users within a certain mile radius of a business' location when they're stopped. 

Big-time brands such as McDonald's, Wendy's, and Red Roof Inn have been advertising on the app for years with impressive success. For example, QSR Autogrill saw 28,000 restaurant navigations in a 3 week period, twice the QSR navigation average, by taking advantage of Waze's advertising options. 

But, like we said, Waze isn't just for big brands anymore. The company recently released Waze Local which allows local businesses to advertise within the app with their own unique pin and effectively paid search. A local pin pops up on the Waze app when the users is driving and users have the option to click on that pin and re-route to that business' location. The search option promotes the advertised business, much like Google, to the top of search results. 

Waze isn't just a big time-saver. 

While the app saves countless users time, it's also saving local business big bucks. As platforms such as Facebook continue to grow in popularity, more and more people seek to advertise on these channels. In 2017, Facebook reported over 5 million advertisers on the platform. As the number of users and advertisers grow, so does the cost of advertising. In a classic case of supply and demand, small businesses are paying more than ever to communicate with their audience on Facebook and Instagram. 

Waze presents a more viable and affordable advertising option. We recently partnered with a few local businesses and were happy to discover the following:

  • Facebook's average CPM: $11.50*
  • Waze's average CPM: $2.00
  • Facebook's average CPC: $0.49*
  • Waze's average CPA: $0.12

We're also noticing an average of 419 location navigations on just a $121 ad spend.

While businesses might experience higher ad clicks on Facebook than on Waze, for businesses without an e-commerce option the transaction gets lost in the mix. Waze gives brick and mortar locations the data they've always been looking for- how many people are seeing my ads and visiting my business as a result? 

With lower CPAs and CPMs it's no wonder local business and larger brands alike are adding Waze to their digital marketing mix. 

Ready to change your digital marketing waze? We can help. 



Hannah Collins