Waze (pronounced ways) is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app, and second largest navigation app. But there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard of it. Not because Waze is a sub-par navigation app, in fact, it’s very much the opposite. At Mobile World Congress Waze received the coveted Best Overall Mobile App award. The fact is, most drivers prefer Google Maps (around 67%).

So what exactly is this award-winning navigation app that around 12% of drivers prefer? Unlike Google Maps, Waze relies heavily on a community of 100 million Wazers for updates on traffic, speed traps, gas prices, and more. In 2013 Google acquired Waze to use all that social data to enhance Google Maps.

Although Waze is now technically part of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, the app operates independently. Today they’re Google Maps largest competitor in the navigation app market, with 100 million drivers.

How to add your business on Waze

If you’re just hearing about Waze, here’s how to get started with the world’s largest community-based navigation app. For starters, you can add your business to Waze. Although it won’t show up as prominently as Waze Local ads, it will allow you to start to show up in searches within the app. Here’s how:

Step 1 – Download Waze from the app store

Step 2 – Go to the Reports Menu

Step 3 – Click on the “Place” Icon

Step 4 – Take a picture of your store

Step 5 – Enter your business name

Now that your business appears in Waze, you can test Waze Local Ads. After nearly a year in beta, Waze introduced local ads aimed at small-to-medium-sized business owners. Waze Local allows you to tap into a highly engaged, location-based marketing channel that’s ideal for attracting local customers.

Waze Local Ads

Waze Local Ads Page.

Waze offers three ad types, each with its own benefits and considerations. The format that will work best for your business will depend on the type of local business you operate.

Branded Pins

Branded pins are the digital equivalent of the McDonald’s arches. It’s an online reminder of your offline business. Since Wazers often rely on the app to check traffic on their way to work or school, branded pins are a great way to get in front of customers without annoying them.

Businesses selling consumables, like grocery stores and restaurants, are a perfect fit for this ad type. Branded pins are location-based and thus highly relevant to passersby, especially if you’re trying to reach impulse buyers.

Promoted Search

Promoted search is exactly what it sounds like—appear at the top of search results when Wazers search for a business like yours. This ad unit features your logo and basic business information. If you have multiple locations, or your business is new to the area, promoted search can help customers find you.

Zero-speed Takeover

Zero-speed Takeovers appear when drivers are at a complete stop, like at lights or in heavy traffic. This ad unit is the most noticeable and also the most expensive. Unlike any other ad format, Zero-speed takeovers help you reach the right person, at the right time, with just the right message. But be prepared to spend at least $100 per day in order to run these ads.

Takeovers let you customize the location and time of your ads to attract just the right audience. Imagine a gas station advertising their post-game munchies and gas deal right after a sporting event, to drivers just outside the stadium. Not only are zero-speed takeovers highly relevant, but with a “Drive There” call to action that redirects to your business, they can literally bring customers to your door.

Waze Local vs Waze for Brands

Waze Local ads are meant for businesses with less than 50 locations. The three ad types, mentioned previously, are self-serve much like Google Adwords or Facebook Ads. However, for larger businesses and global corporations, Waze offers a more hands-on option called Waze for Brands.

Much like Google Maps, Waze is another channel to help you get found by your customers. With several paid options, starting at $2 per day, it’s easy for any business to get started with Waze Local ads. Even if you don’t have the time or resources to run paid advertising, it’s still recommended to create a Waze business listing to make it as easy as possible for customers to find you.

Nico Dato
Nico Dato Executive Vice President of Marketing

Nico Dato is the EVP of Marketing at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers. He fuses his passion for statistics, design, and digital marketing to produce measurable results.

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