In the relentless race of digital advertising, change is the only predictable element. Recently, we've seen this demonstrated by Waze, the leading GPS navigation software, with the announcement of their sudden exit from Waze Ads, effective from August 31, 2023.
The news has left advertisers in a quandary, especially those who had leaned heavily on Waze's distinct geo-targeted advertising capabilities. Waze Ads had served as a lynchpin in many local advertising strategies, offering a simple yet effective platform for businesses to engage consumers based on their real-time location. Its services, encompassing Branded Pins, Promoted Search, and Zero-Speed Takeovers, enhanced local visibility, spurred in-store visits, and presented unprecedented promotional opportunities for local businesses.
However, as we say adieu to Waze Ads, the end heralds a new beginning. Waze has hinted at a transition towards Google Ads technology, signifying a shift rather than an end, and committing to a new dawn of advanced business solutions.
During this transition phase, Waze is steering advertisers towards Google's Performance Max for Store Goals (PMax). For SaaS companies, this strategic redirection opens an opportunity to rethink and reinvent advertising strategies. PMax, powered by AI, optimises ad delivery across the extensive range of Google platforms, including Search, Display, Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube. It analyses various signals to ascertain where and when to display ads for optimal conversion, with an emphasis on boosting in-store visits and sales.
For businesses with dedicated budgets for local online advertising, other channels, such as social and programmatic display are being proposed. Yet, these alternatives require additional assets. The beauty of Waze was its simplicity – a company logo was enough for advertising. Today, if you wish to move beyond search, you need graphic designs, static or dynamic images, audio and video formats – all leading to extra costs for advertisers. In terms of production and agency autonomy, the task becomes more complex, straying far from the simplicity of Waze Ads.
Many are speculating if this move is a part of a broader strategy to integrate Waze with Google Maps, another tool offering local business information. Could we see Waze's different technology integrated into Google Maps? Only time will tell.
The end of Waze Ads underscores a crucial lesson: the peril of relying solely on a single advertising platform. It stresses the need for diverse media mix in advertising strategies to cushion against the impact of abrupt market changes. Now, more than ever, is the time to explore alternative avenues like Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and programmatic display networks to maintain a robust advertising presence while still maintaining a local focus.
The sudden exit of Waze Ads has undeniably left a void. Yet, in this void lies an opportunity for innovation and strategic overhaul. As leaders in the SaaS space, this is our cue to adapt and evolve. We can leverage changes like these to reimagine our local advertising strategies, utilising platforms like DeepReach to continue engaging with customers at a local level.
The closure of Waze Ads, though challenging, serves as a stark reminder of the ever-dynamic nature of the digital advertising landscape. As we navigate this change, we can utilise it as a stepping stone towards more efficient, effective, and integrated advertising strategies.