GPS Nav Start-up Waze Launches U.S. Local Ad Platform

GPS Nav Start-up Waze Launches U.S. Local Ad Platform
Mobile navigation start-up Waze launched yesterday in the United States their advertising platforms allowing local merchants and brands to target the 30 million (claimed) Waze users during their drives. This U.S. launch follows Israel, where the company was born and where the company is usually trialing their new ideas.

The advertising format is a sort of in app roadside billboard,a branded pin on the map that is displayed at the location of the advertising merchant. Drivers can click on the pin to find out more about the shop; a “navigate to“ button is proeminently displayed on the retailer’s page to encourage a visit.

Waze will make sure drivers will not see advertising pins everywhere. “We don’t want to bombard you, so you’ll never see too many businesses crowded on the map at once,“ they wrote in a blog post. Instead, the algorithm that powers Waze Ads aims to bring you helpful selection of the various retailers around you on your daily drive. We’ve designed the system to fit into your daily driving experience seamlessly, so that the businesses you see can be useful while you take care of your errands or shopping needs.“

Advertisers are also highlighted in search results. For national accounts the ad unit can be further personalized and include for example a coupon or a link to download the app of the retailer.

Waze is indeed launching the platform as a self-serve system for local businesses as well as working with national U.S. brands such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Circle K MACS, Kum & Go, Wyndham Hotels, Jamba Juice, and P&G.

Our self-serve platform trial for GPS Business News
Our self-serve platform trial for GPS Business News
Self-Serve Platform
On the self-serve system the advertising is based on CPM, local merchant bidding to buy 1,000 impressions of their pin on the map with a minimum monthly spending of $50. In our test, Waze suggested a bid range of $1.00 to $1.10.

For advertisers the system provides analytics about their campaigns: number of impressions, unique viewers, pin clicks, click-through rate and number of navigations sessions to their business across a timeline. The system is very simple to manage for a local business and the account set-up can be done in 15 minutes.

It is however a bit surprising to see Waze launching a CPM ad unit for local businesses. A cost per click or a “click to drive“ ad unit could have been a bit more innovative and more interesting for small businesses that are most likely not looking for branding but for new customer leads. However one can not ask eveything to be perfect for the first iteration of the platform.

At this stage this self-serve advertising platform has been developed for the United States market (English language, payment in $US) but it could quickly come to other countries. Waze recently announced a partnership with mobile marketing provider Lumata in Italy to monetize their users in this country (read here).

Thursday, November 8th 2012

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