Waze’s Branded Pins Drive — Literally — Map Users To Local Shops

The average lift in recall for Takeover ads is over 162 percent, suggesting that the crowdsourced traffic navigation app’s users are being reached at a moment of heightened awareness.

WazeMap_2D_nightTime_noLabelsGoogle-owned traffic alerts map app Waze’s 50 million global users are relying on its directional tools for more than just avoiding gridlock, as an in-house study of 47 brands shows ad recall on the mobile platform generating double digit — and in some cases, triple — levels of advertising attentiveness.

The study, which is part of an ongoing series that Waze regularly updates for advertisers, is based on how its app users respond to its two main ad vehicles, Branded Pins and Takeovers, which appear on the screen when a user’s car is stopped.

Advertising Detour

The study also measures “navigational lift,” which refers to how many people searched — not clicked —and then continued to navigate to a related business location, and ad recall, which shows whether users recognized an ad they had seen on Waze.

The average lift in recall for Pins is pretty high, with 88 percent of users citing ads seen on Waze after arriving at the advertiser’s location. Meanwhile, Waze’s Takeovers performed even better, as the average lift in recall for those ad units is extremely high at over 162 percent, confirming Waze’s hypothesis that its users are paying strong attention to messages being shown to them in the app.

“Not surprisingly, we see that recall is highly correlated with frequency, particularly for pins,” a Waze rep told GeoMarketing. “It stands to reason that repeated viewings of a branded pin marking a specific location will have a greater impact than just one or two impressions. By comparison, fewer Takeover impressions are required to make a significant impact on recall.”

route calculationMarketing Navigation Tools

Waze compared the navigation activities of a group of users that saw a particular brand’s ad to a “randomized, representative control group” that was not exposed to those marketing images. The company’s ad team then compared the frequency with which people searched for and navigated to the advertiser’s locations before and after ad exposure — in the case of the exposed group — and before/after the start of the campaign in the case of the control.

“By comparing to a control, we removed the effect of other variables to which both groups have been exposed — e.g. other marketing efforts, day-of-week effects, etc.,” Waze’s rep said. “As a result, we can confidently conclude that any difference in navigations was a direct result of Waze advertisements.”

In each Waze study, the goal is to be able to demonstrate a “positive navigation lift,” meaning Wazers were more likely to visit an advertised business after ad exposure.

The average navigation lift is 53 percent, the study found.

“Not surprisingly, we see that brands offering a compelling reason to visit one of their locations see the highest navigation lift,” the rep said. “The better the offer or promotion, the greater the impact on driving behavior. One brand offered a specific promotion for customers and saw a navigation lift of plus-119 percent.”

In multiple cases, exposed Wazers were more than twice as likely to navigate to a business as a direct result of seeing associated Pins and/or Takeovers.

One of the best performing brands in this study, for both competencies, was Wells Fargo, though Dunkin Donuts and Panera Bread also score highly among the 47 brands that were examined, Waze said.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.