Google is ramping up brand integrations on its popular in-car navigation app Waze, starting with the addition of an “order-ahead” feature that allows drivers to order from certain partnered QSR brands and retailers straight from the Waze app. At launch, Dunkin’ Donuts was announced as the first partner, and Google says it plans to team up with other merchants if the test goes well. Outside Waze, mobile order-ahead apps have also been gaining tractions with other QSR brands such as Taco Bell, Starbucks, and more recently, McDonald’s.
What Brands Need To Do
The goal behind app integrations like this is to create a seamless mobile experience by allowing users to complete several tasks without having to jump between apps, such as ordering coffee and doughnuts for pickup while navigating through their morning commute. A similar example would be when Starwood Hotels integrated Uber services into their own mobile app to enable quick ride-hailing for people arriving or checking out of the hotel. From a brand perspective, choosing the right partner to integrate with can help boost brand loyalty, and integrations with popular apps serve as a valuable marketing channel for brands to reach new customers on mobile.
Yogurt brand Actimel is using context-based targeting to offer people a little pep talk when they need it the most. As part of its #StayStrong campaign, the company is using multiple ways to target users who express dissatisfaction and frustration in real time across social media, digital out-of-home, and TV. For example, the brand is serving people who are stuck in traffic with ads with positive messaging via popular navigation app Waze, targeting drivers who been stationary for a while.
What Brands Need To Do
This Actimel campaign serves as an example of how brands can leverage contextual targeting to reach customers at key moments to make an emotional connection with tailored messaging. More brands can benefit from this type of real-time micro-targeting and reach customers in moments that truly matter.
Popular navigation app Waze introduced its first native ad product named Favorite Brands on Monday at its NYC AdWeek event. Marketers can now invite Waze users to tap an ad to “favorite” a brand to make their favorite stores and restaurants more accessible in Waze’s mobile map. It will also surface customizable brand messages in some on-the-road features such as Planned Drives, Calendar Sync, and Speed Limit. Dunkin’ Donuts is the first brand to sign on for this ad product, which will be in beta testing for the remainder of the year.
What Brands Should Do
Waze has 65 million monthly drivers worldwide, which presents a sizable audience for brands with physical stores to make a play for. By integrating brand messaging into its app, Waze manages to deliver location-based native ads in the form of utility with minimal disruption to its user experience. Brands that are looking to drive store traffic and engage their customers to build long-term relationships should consider giving this native ad product a try.
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Since Google’s acquisition of Waze in 2013, the real-time data-driven navigation app has been steadily growing its popularity among drivers. As a result, Google has decided to include Waze as one of the pre-installed apps on new Android phones, along with other Google staples like Maps, YouTube, and Gmail. With this move, Google is set to expose Waze to a larger potential audience, presumably readying it to take center stage of Android Auto system for connected cars.
Though Google bought Waze – the social mapping, traffic, and navigation app – some time ago, the two are now sharing their respective features for the first time. The Google Maps app for iOS and Android will feature real-time incident reports from Waze users in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, UK and the US. In the Waze app, Google Search will now feature prominently, and Google Street View is now accessible within the Waze Map Editor. As the two apps continue to fuse it will be interesting to see if they can combine to be greater than the sum of their parts.
According to the Israeli business publication Globes, Google will acquire the Ra’anana-based Waze for $1.3 Billion in the near future. If the deal does go through, it will knock a major mapping-data resource out of the game, as Waze’s socially oriented data-collection means that they have a social map that is unrivaled – in fact, Apple Maps used Waze when it discontinued Google Maps data in the Maps app. It seems likely that Waze will remain independent, much like Google’s 2010 acquisition ITA Software. By the same token, it seems reasonable to assume that the social functions of Waze’s app will be included in Google’s social networks, and will increase the accuracy and robustness of Google’s existing traffic-reporting systems. Either way, Apple and Facebook will certainly not have access to the data, which might have been the point of the acquisition in the first place.
The crowd-sourced directions provider today proved that it’s showing Facebook exactly what it’s missing. Before, users had to sift through Facebook to find the event, copy and paste the data into Google maps, and follow Google’s direction. Now, if you RSVP to an event on Facebook and click the Facebook button on Waze, directions will appear 48 hours prior to the event. If there is no address listed in the event, other guests can input the correct address. Waze will also show you the locations and timing of other friends who have RSVP’d to the event, allowing you to track their progress. How this affects the three-way bidding war for the startup remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction; social driving just got a major upgrade.
HopStop today is pushing an update to its iPhone app called HopStop Live! that includes real-time user feedback in seven countries for 20,000 public transit lines. Users can submit info on any of the 750,000 that HopStop services that cues other users in to real-time updates, problems, or construction that transportation authorities might be slow to push out. According to HopStop, there are over 2 million active monthly users on the app, so this feature should prove effective at crowd-sourcing commuting information. Of course, many subways and public transit systems are without cell service as of yet, so such an update might not actually be quite as real-time as advertised. But if and when such service comes, this data could change the way users interact with their public transportation systems.
One of the most buzzed-about fashion apps to come along in a while has officially launched today. Created by London startup Chapeau Labs, Bokenhat recommends the type of hat you should wear on a given day. It determines this from a variety of sources including the weather, your location, current fashion trends and current traffic conditions via a partnership with Waze.
As you might recall from earlier this year, Accuweather and The Weather Channel engaged in a fierce bidding war to provide the weather data for Bokenhat. “I usually never regret losing a bidding war,” the CEO of TWC was quoted as saying after Accuweather was chosen, “but this one stung. No one is really capturing the hat-wearing audience and this was a good a shot as any.”
Similarly, the selection of Waze to provide traffic data was quite a coup for the social driving startup. Heretofore Waze had been used for a wide variety of campaigns, including the famous Tylenol “Traffic Headache Simulator” and the Carnival Cruises “Imagine Your Car Was a Big Cruise Ship” efforts. By breaking into the hat space, Waze has opened up a whole new market for them to monetize.
“This app is going to be a big deal” said industry analyst Reginald Goodwin Esq. this morning. “This pulls the entire hat-choosing experience together in one place and makes a tough choice easy. Chapeau Labs can do no wrong.”
It’s been a big month for Waze, the crowdsourcing mobile traffic app that already has over 30 million Wazers. After being tapped by FEMA and The White House to identify gas stations in need of fuel in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the startup also just launched its advertising platform showing the most relevant local merchants and big brand stores along your route. The self service platform is already being deployed by Dunkin’ Donuts, Circle K, and Jamba Juice. We’re big fans of the Waze’s technology which illustrates the power of knowing not only your audience’s demographic, but where they are and where they’re headed on the road.