If you haven’t heard of it yet, you will now. In 2013, Google bought a company named Waze from Israeli-based CEO Noam Bardin. Since then, Waze has acquired over 50 million users across the globe and continues to see exponential growth year after year.
Before I can even begin talking about how this app is shaping the modern advertising landscape, I should probably mention some of its key features that attracted advertisers in the first place. Waze is a GPS navigation map that not only gives turn-by-turn directions, but also allows users to submit information about traffic, accidents, speed and police traps, updated landmarks and house numbers. It’s basically like looking into a fortune teller’s glass ball before you head out for your trip.
So how exactly are advertisers utilizing these features to their advantage?
- Zero-speed takeovers: When a driver is stopped for more than 3 seconds, Waze will show high impact ads. Before your cautious mind wanders, Waze does close the ad once the car is set into motion again.
- Branded pins: Brands can place their logos and personal identities on their locations in users’ maps. Waze also allows its users to save a company’s pins for later use. These are a cheap replacement for billboards and posters on the side of highways.
- Voice integrations: Even entertainment brands can join the fun. Voice-overs allow the user to select a celebrity’s voice to read them the directions instead of the standard computerized voice. “Cars 3” recently did this with Owen Wilson.
- Sponsored search: Brands can also buy ads at the top of search results. This is especially useful when users add their home and work locations because companies can gauge what time of day their ads would be most effective.
What separates Waze from other navigation apps is its ability to form an interactive community between its users. With so much communication going on between consumers, it’s no wonder advertisers were quick to hop on the Waze train. Companies such as McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Adidas and AT&T are just a few that have become a part of the conversation in this app. Waze is a strong example of how important community and interactivity is becoming when targeting audiences.