Podcast: Waze Finds A Way

AdExchanger Talks is a podcast focused on data-driven marketing. Subscribe here. This episode of AdExchanger Talks is supported by Tealium.

The social navigation app Waze inspires great loyalty among its users. While the app may at first seem to compete with its corporate sibling Google Maps, there are big differences.

“Waze is for drivers. Waze is about traffic. Waze has a community of more than half a million maps editors,” Managing Director Suzie Reider says in the latest episode of the “AdExchanger Talks” podcast. “Google Maps is about navigating the world.”

Those half-million editors drive around and constantly recommend adjustments based on bridge closures, road work and other changes to their transportation environment. It’s that spirit of collaboration that has fed lasting engagement for Waze.

Waze has built extensive relationships with brands, too. Open the app and you’re likely to see one of its branded pins showing the location of a Dunkin’ Donuts or another nearby retail or QSR chain.

“Waze does one thing incredibly well, which is we have the power to drive people to locations,” Reider says. “We drive people to curbside, drive-through, front door.”

Another ad format is its zero-speed takeover, which, for safety reasons, is served to users only when a car is stopped for three seconds. Brand integrations are also popular. The voices of Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and other stars have been used to provide directions in concert with major film releases. And users can avail themselves of a branded car. (Mazda Miata is a current sponsor.)

Listen to the whole episode for a deep dive on Waze, including how it uses location data and why it maintains its own ad infrastructure rather than rely on the Google stack.

Two small corrections in this episode: Midway through the interview, Reider mentions in passing that three branded pins show up on the Waze map at a given time, when the actual number is four. She also refers to CCP as the Connected Citizens Project, but the acronym stands for Connected Citizens Program.

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