Waze, or more like: reaching all drivers using digital.

Pierre Gaillard


Waze, an innovative platform.

A bit of history:

You have seen its icon, and maybe it’s your favourite driving partner. It’s estimated that almost 110 million people use Waze every month to make their driving experience better.

Waze, the collaborative GPS, was founded in 2006 and bought by Google for US$966 million in 2013. The platform combines the characteristics of a traditional GPS with the perks of a social network: users can warn the community in real time about traffic conditions like accidents, closed highway exits, traffic jams, etc.

Waze pressed the gas pedal in 2012 by monetizing the platform. What’s interesting is that the digital world is now integrated into Waze, so that drivers are exposed to it, which was never possible before.

Feedback on the recent McDonald’s campaign on Waze:

One of the things that made us want to write this article was the recent McDonald’s campaign on Waze in October.

Waze has geolocated 300 McDonald’s billboards in California. By linking the data found with the itinerary chosen by vehicles, Waze could track which drivers were exposed to the ads.

Once the vehicle was stopped, Waze retargeted users with a “drive there” call-to-action, leading to the closest McDonald’s restaurant.

With almost 6 million impressions and 8,400 drives to McDonald’s, we think it’s fair to say mission accomplished.

This campaign once again highlights the potential of this network and how digital can make the most out of traditional media.

Waze is an innovative network that can bring value to advertisers.

The basics of advertising on Waze:

Waze offers four different ad formats:

  • Pins: These markers are shown on the driver’s itinerary. By tapping the pin, the user can see a banner along with complimentary information. Then, he or she can choose whether to go to the location or keep driving.
  • Zero-speed takeovers: These large-format digital billboards have a call-to-action that pops up when the car has stopped for more than five seconds (this is the format used by McDonald’s). Interesting fact: Zero-speed takeover inventory is now available on DV360!
  • Arrows: These are pins that pop up when a user launches the app and indicate the location of nearby businesses to the user.
  • Promoted search: This is offered with the pin format. It allows a business to be sponsored or promoted to the top of search results, according to the driver’s research.

The targeting on the platform allows advertisers to reach a wide range of customers:

  • According to the driver’s profile : tourists or inhabitants - driver’s language
  • According to the destination : type of location searched (restaurant or supermarket, for instance) - home/workplace
  • According to the context: weather conditions - traffic report - length of the itinerary - time of day

Our thoughts on Waze:

The platform and its different formats can include creative and innovative content. The targeting possibilities are, however, too limited to make Waze a true conversion platform. That’s why we would advise using it for awareness campaigns.

Nevertheless, as the McDonald’s campaign proved, the network is innovating and improving. Since Google owns Waze, we can imagine that the data collected will be shared with other Google tools, or at least that Google will be able to invest in research and development to make Waze grow even faster.

It’s a network we are already using for advertising, so we are pretty confident about its potential!

Why choose an agency to run a campaign on Waze?

Waze is a network with many different and interesting specifications. To be sure to use it to its full potential, it’s necessary to establish a distinctive strategy with original content that will stand out.

The added value of an agency is the expertise and creativity needed to implement innovative strategies.

An agency brings together all the skills and resources needed to integrate Waze into a cross-media strategy. And cross-media strategy means customer journey.

Has the client seen a video on YouTube or a Facebook ad before being retargeted in Waze?
It’s essential to analyze all user interactions with your brand. A Google analysis will lead to a considerable optimization of your investments!

Radiance has advised on and managed multiple Waze campaigns for its partners. We put great effort into proposing strategies and content to help you stand out. We have acquired a solid experience and a true expertise on this platform.

Plus, Radiance is a specialist in customer journeys and attributions. Using Radiance is the best insurance to optimize your marketing investments.

Want to know more about Waze or simply discuss strategy with our experts?

Contact us!


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