Waze had a tough business road to travel during the depths of the pandemic. With fewer people on the highways commuting to work and elsewhere, the Google-owned navigation app took a hit and was forced into layoffs and office closures.
Now, even as work commuting habits remain permanently altered in some cases, Waze’s top marketing executive says the app has rebounded, as it leans into hyper-local ad-selling and services to account for the new ways people travel.
“We've recovered and we are thriving,” said Harris Beber, Waze's chief marketing officer. “Last month we just had our highest month ever in our company history of monthly active users, we passed 150 million.”
Beber, who joined Waze in April after serving as CMO at Vimeo, details Waze’s new approach on the newest edition of Ad Age’s Marketer’s Brief podcast. The strategy involves doing local ad deals with small businesses, as well as striking big sponsorship deals with traffic-generating events such as the Tour de France, to help people maneuver around road closures.
“If you only used Waze on those long-distance trips in the past, now you are finding ways to use us going through the local neighborhood,” Beber said, citing how Waze users crowd-sources real-time road updates that uncover everything from hidden police officers to a crane in the middle of a road.