Waze Location Based Advertising

Last updated:
September 8, 2022

Harris Beber became the CMO of Waze, a Google subsidiary, in April after serving five years as the marketing head of Vimeo and a stint selling diapers at Amazon.

According to Beber, the key to successful marketing is to understand customers and solve their problems no matter where you're located. An example of this is giving customers access to same-day diaper delivery or guiding them to places safely and conveniently.

One of Beber's duties is to aid Waze in growing its user base and maintaining user interest in the app.

Since its acquisition by Google in 2013, Waze has attracted 150 million monthly users worldwide.

Beber commented that Waze and Google Maps do not compete against one another as the user base for each application is different because of their other use cases.

Google Maps is mainly used for locating businesses in your area and planning journeys by foot or car. In contrast, Waze is better for driving directions as it relies on user-provided data to alert drivers about traffic, road works, and other obstacles.

Understanding the Context Is Essential

Waze has access to many user location data, but they don't use it for marketing and only utilize it while the app is being used. According to Beber, no data is collected for advertising.

Waze, which depends on advertising for revenue, uses location data to display ads that are contextual and based on where the user is located, according to Beber.

Waze provides location-based ads in real-time, which they call "contextual," as the ads depend on a device's current position rather than any relationships or patterns involving an individual user, he said.

Aiding Waze's objectives, Beber stated that contextual ads are more valuable than data-driven advertising, which generated tens of billions in quarterly revenue for its parent company.

An example of Waze's capabilities is the recommendation of businesses near a user's route, such as a fast food restaurant, gas station, or coffee shop. These stops can be made with minimal impact on the total travel time.

According to Beber, it was advertising a retailer on Waze is pointless if it's far away - like 50 miles or more.

Waze takes advantage of users' real-time locations on roads to drive increased sales, thanks to its ability to serve ads in the vicinity of retailers, according to Beber.

Prioritize Safety

Aside from enticing advertisers, Waze is focused on growing customer engagement.

Waze has been continuously expanding its offerings of real-time alerts for users, including road hazards, accidents, and traffic congestion updates. Their data obtained from numerous traffic cameras has grown to a much larger size with the help of Google's support. According to Beber, it produced "exponentially."

Waze offers users more valuable insights, making the app more engaging. That is why in 2016, they launched their Global Event Partner program.

Waze partners with event organizers like the Tour de France to provide directions and road closures on their maps for users' safety. It also serves as a user acquisition opportunity for Waze.

Beber remarked that it was beneficial not only to the community as a whole but self-sufficiency. "People love being the first to have insider knowledge," he said.

However, this data can sometimes be beneficial in unexpected ways.

For instance, Beber pointed out a Portuguese journalist looking into a traffic collision in 2018 found out that someone on Waze had already informed about the accident eight minutes before emergency personnel was informed.

Beber mentioned that Waze integrated more direct and faster accident alert reporting within the app, resulting in an average 7-minute reduction in Portugal's ambulance dispatch times.

US regulators believe that reducing average 911 response times by one minute can save 10,000 lives annually.

Crafting a user interface with game elements and security protocols is a difficult task, Beber stated.

Waze uses cartoon characters to ask drivers if a traffic stop, accident, or other roadblock has been cleared. Users can easily report an incident using their phones.

According to Beber, the goal is to make user interactions as brief as possible, and the app should be used with a device securely mounted on the dash or by the car's passenger.

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