Waze partners with WPP to grow ad platform

The navigation app has opened up its platform to clients of the GroupM parent company, offering four different ad units.
Waze

Google-owned navigation app Waze has partnered with WPP to give the holding company’s retail clients access to its in-car platform. This is the first time Waze has undertaken a partnership like this with an agency.

Canada is among the first countries for the program to launch, and it is currently live. It is also in the midst of a roll-out in France, the U.S., the U.K. and Italy.

Besides the main purpose of the program, which is to target drivers through what it calls “non-intrusive” en-route messaging and direct them to advertisers’ locations, the partnership will provide clients with insights into “how, when and where people are engaging with brands during their drive.”

A Waze spokesperson told MiC the partnership will include four different ad units including a branded pin (a marker inside the navigation app alerting drivers that a retailer is nearby; more info is available if users tap on the pin), a zero-speed takeover format (retailers can do a full ad on the app, including custom directions, when the car is at a complete stop), sponsored search and a branded “arrow” unit (which points drivers to nearby points of sale that they can reroute to).

In addition to the four units, advertisers will also gain access to the voice command feature, which will allow them to engage with recognized drivers while they are using their voice command system.

Waze formally brought ads to the platform in 2015. While non-WPP clients have access to these ad units, WPP clients will be able to access them “more easily,” according to the Waze spokesperson. In addition to gaining unique access to onboarding and monitoring software, WPP will also collaborate further with Waze to identify and develop further platform solutions.

According to Waze, 100 million people access its app per month.

The partnership was born from a “Swarm session,” which is part of a series of hackathons co-sponsored by WPP and Google. WPP owns the GroupM family of agencies, which includes Mindshare, WaveMaker, MediaCom and others.

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