Waze conquers ‘digital dark zone’ with in-car, out-of-home ad coordination

Waze has figured out something that Google Maps has not: advertising. In 2017, Waze tested its first ad units and in 2018 formally rolled out Waze Local advertising. Since that time it has expanded the offering, including a new relationship with WPP and a compelling new tie-in with traditional out-of-home (OOH) billboard advertising that could be a big update for the industry.

Partnership with McDonald’s. Last October, Waze (which is owned by Google) and McDonald’s tested a campaign that connected OOH with in-car ads. Waze geofenced roughly 300 billboards in Southern California. Drivers along routes passing McDonald’s billboards were shown “zero-speed takeover” ad units, which only appear when the car is stopped.

The ads included a “drive there” call-to-action, which then routed drivers to a nearby McDonald’s location.

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