How to Set Up a Waze Local Ads Campaign

Every small business owner is in search of ways to grow their digital footprint. By expanding its reach, a company has a greater chance of driving additional traffic to their storefront and boosting sales figures.

While the intention is clear, the execution is a different story. With so many platforms and marketing opportunities out there, it’s tough to trim the fat and focus on the methods that will pay off in the long run.

Of course, there are certain options available which are beneficial on a universal scale. Google My Business, for instance, is effectively a mandatory tool for any physical store. This free-to-use platform provides a business with added visibility during local Google searches.

Another advantageous promotional method is positive reviews from customers. Every company can do with a healthy collection of reviews. After all, this type of feedback serves as a form of reassurance for consumers; they will receive high quality products and services.

These are among the tried-and-tested marketing approaches. Yet to be truly successful in promoting your business, the strategies mentioned above need to be combined with more unorthodox tactics.

This is where a platform like Waze Local comes into play.

What is Waze Local?

Before exploring the ‘Local’ part of the story, it’s essential first to explain Waze itself. For the uninitiated, Waze is recognized as the world’s biggest community-based app for GPS navigation and traffic. With more than 90 million active users who contribute to creating a ’living map,’ the platform delivers insights into real-time road and traffic information. A user can then navigate around their area with the knowledge of where to avoid traffic jams, roadworks, police checkpoints, and so on. The app will take into account this real-time information to deliver optimized route suggestions.

The result: every ‘Wazer’ is provided with the best route possible during their daily commute, and they save gas money and time in the process.

Waze Local

This innovative concept has already built up an extensive worldwide user base, but Waze is continually improving and refining its features. One of its most recent additions was a carpool service. This approach to evolving will ensure the app will continue to remain extremely popular for years to come – especially when you factor in that Google owns the company.

Because of this level of popularity, it makes sense that brands have been making use of Waze as an advertising tool. This first started with Waze for Brands, an ad system that was crafted with big brands in mind. In fact, some of the biggest organizations on the planet – including McDonald’s and Peugeot – have made use of Waze for Brands.

However, Waze for Brands wasn’t built for small businesses. With its focus on large brands, it was an advertising platform that was only available to a select few.

That all changed when, in 2018, the company rolled out Waze Local. This platform was built specifically with small businesses in mind. The entry point is particularly inviting for small outlets, with advertising options starting from just $2 a day. Yet it also features additional perks and packages for a business that has up to 50 locations.

How do Waze Local ads work?

Now you have an understanding of Waze Local and the platform on the whole; it’s time to analyze how the ads portion of the process works.

First of all, let’s take a look at the advertising packages available. There are two available with Waze Local: Starter and Plus. Here’s a quick breakdown of their respective features:


Starting at $2 per day

Suitable for 1-10 locations

Pins and Search

Geographic targeting

Self-service sign up

Email support

Credit card billing only


Starting at $100 per day

Suitable for 1-50 locations

Zero-Speed Takeover

Geo & Time scheduling

Dedicated account manager

Email & phone support

Credit card & invoice billing

As you can see, there are a number of differences between the two. For most, the main point is the difference in pricing. While the Starter package effectively lets you utilize Waze Local ads for just $60 a month, the number jumps to $3,000 a month with the Plus package. This is a considerable difference – one that allows a wide range of businesses to use the service.

Starter accounts are aimed at small businesses that have ten or fewer locations in total. For the relatively low fee, you can receive access to two ad formats: Branded Pins and Promoted Search – more on these below. It’s also easy to sign-up for a Starter account, and email support is available if required.

It goes without saying, but Plus accounts bring along a few additional perks in exchange for the higher fee. First of all, you receive everything that is included with the Starter package. On top of this, Plus accounts can stretch up to 50 locations in total. You also receive a dedicated account manager and phone support, giving you that extra level of customer service. One of its main benefits is the inclusion of another ad format in the form of Zero-Speed Takeover.

Waze Local ad formats

Waze Local ad formats

As touched upon already, there are three different ad formats available with Waze Local. These are Branded Pins, Promoted Search, and Zero-Speed Takeover. The former two are accessible to all account types on Waze Local, while the latter, Zero-Speed Takeover, can only be used by those with a Plus package.

Below is a closer look at each ad format:

Branded Pins

A branded pin is effectively a digital store sign for your business. As a user follows their route on the Waze app, your shop’s pin will appear if it’s on the route – or at least near it. The pin will appear as your business logo, and it will be spotlighted on the map once the user’s journey gets closer to your store.

If a user is interested by your Branded Pin, they can click on it for further details about your business. You’re then given the option to provide added information such as your contact details, store hours, address, and any current special promotions. When this convinces a potential customer to visit, they can select the “Drive There” button to receive the direct route to your shop’s location.

Branded Pins

If you’re wondering about the pricing for Branded Pins, it follows a CPM (cost per thousand views) model. If you want your Pins to appear more frequently on the map, you will naturally have to spend more money. Aside from your budget, the local competition can also affect the regularity of your Pins popping up.

Promoted Search

If you have ever utilized Google Ads before, you will already understand how Promoted Search works on Waze Local.

Simply put, this ad format places your business at the top of search results for any relevant queries. When a user does enter a query and presses the “Search” button, it will produce a collection of organic results. Yet before a user browses these organic matches, the search result will also throw in a Promoted Search ad at the top of the page.

Promoted Search

In fact, results are produced via Waze’s auto-complete function before a search query is even completed. If your business matches up to their inquiry – and it is within close proximity – your store will appear instantly at the top of the results. As with Branded Pins, there’s also a “Drive There” option – among others.

Now for the big question: How much does Promoted Search cost? Well, here’s the good news; it is added alongside Branded Pins at no additional cost.

That’s right: you don’t pay a penny for Search Impressions with Waze Local ads.

Zero-Speed Takeover

With a name like Zero-Speed Takeover, you have to expect something a little special with this type of advertising!

This ad format is particularly built to drive engagement from users. Zero-Speed Takeover is a high-impact ad type, one that appears when a user has completely stopped during their commute – hence the ‘zero-speed’ element of the name. This means that, when someone hits a red light or fails to avoid heavy traffic, Waze will throw a visual ad in their direction.

Zero-Speed Takeover

Of course, the advert being displayed is also dependent on the user’s location. If it lands within a certain radius, the visual ad will appear, alongside an info button and “Drive There” option.

As with Branded Pins, this ad format follows a CPM pricing structure. The more you’re ready to invest with your marketing budget, the more your ad will be visible to potential customers.

If you are already somewhat familiar with Waze as a marketing tool, you may also have heard of a fourth advertising method. This method is known as Arrows. If you’re nearby to a user, a digital signpost advertising your store will be shown within the first few moments of the app opening. However, this hasn’t been mentioned in more detail for one reason: it’s only available to Waze for Brands users. It is not an option if you’re using Waze Local.

The benefits of a Waze Local ads campaign

As you would come to expect based on what has been said already, there are various advantages to running a Waze Local ads campaign. The following will explore a few of the main benefits.

Brings in real-life foot traffic

Waze is a navigation app. Because of this, it doesn’t take much work to decipher the biggest advantage of utilizing Waze Local.

Ultimately, it brings in direct foot traffic. You drive, quite literally, potential customers to your store. The main aim of any brick-and-mortar business is to get people through the door. Waze Local can target people across the area – the type who might not otherwise realize your store exists – and boost visitor numbers in the process.

Build brand awareness

As you expect with any form of advertising, Waze Local helps to increase awareness and visibility for your brand.


Think about this scenario: if a potential customer utilizes the same routes frequently, they will naturally become aware of any brand that is located on said route. They will view that logo again and again, becoming familiar with the business in the process – including where it is located.

This is especially beneficial if you have just opened a new store in the area. It can also help any shop that fails to gain organic visibility because it’s located on the outskirts and away from the action.

It’s easy to control

It is fair to say that certain marketing platforms don’t deliver the type of control you’d desire. That’s not the case with Waze Local. Your entire ad campaign is one that is extremely simple to manage.

The reason for this is simple: there is no commitment required. You don’t have to sign a contract or agree to minimum length terms. With Waze Local, you are free to stop your campaign whenever you require. In addition to this, you can easily adjust your budget if you want to either increase or reduce your financial commitment.

Plus, if you ever require any additional assistance, there are various communication channels available to provide a helping hand.

Even the smallest of businesses can get in on the action

The varied pricing of Waze Local ads means it is accessible for businesses of all kinds and sizes. The more beneficial advertising packages are only available to those who are ready to pay a premium, obviously, but that can be said about pretty much any digital ad campaign.

When a business only has to invest $60 for a full month of Waze Local ads coverage, this opens the door for virtually any outlet with a physical store to get in on the action. Plus, with the small investment required, it means a company can attempt this form of advertising without worrying it will blow through its marketing budget.

If it works out, they can gradually grow their investment in Waze Local ads. If it doesn’t demonstrate any significant results, they can move on to a different form of marketing without worry.

Track the stats

One advantage of using the Waze Local platform is that it’s simple to monitor campaign results. By simply accessing the dashboard, you can track all relevant stats that are dispensed with real-time results.

This is especially beneficial if you only want to test the waters with a Waze Local Ads campaign. Post your ads, track to see the number of conversions and people who directly navigate to your Branded Pin, and see if it’s worthwhile running a larger campaign.

Getting started with Waze Local

You know what Waze Local is and the benefits it supplies. Now it’s time to find out how to set up a Waze Local ads campaign.

Fortunately, the process is a relatively simple one. Nevertheless, there are several pitfalls you want to avoid when getting your business on the Waze Local platform – and this guide is here to identify them.

Step one: Create a new advertising account

How you begin creating your Waze Local account depends on the plan you select. If you want a Starter account, simply visit the Waze Local homepage, scroll down to the “Solutions” section, and click the “Start today” button under the Starter section. For a Plus account, you first need to contact Waze with some basic details about your company, including its name, country of advertising, and the number of physical locations.

Create a new advertising account

Going back to a Starter account, from this point, you can either sign in with your Waze account or with a Google account.

Google account

Now you have to provide Waze with your business name. This is the search phrase that people will be using to find you on Waze, so always opt for the most recognizable name for your business.

When doing this, there are a few other guidelines to follow:

  • Keep the name under 30 characters and use proper case. Always avoid typing the name in block capitals.
  • If your business features a well-known slogan – such as ‘The Best Burger in Town’ – don’t add it to the title. You can do this in the next step.
  • Unless it’s part of the name for your business, avoid including the city/state/country within the title. This also goes for any specific branch names.
business description

Next, it’s time to add a short description of your business. This is the perfect opportunity to entice people to visit your store. As a result, ensure the description is snappy and informative. You might even want to incorporate a call to action, such as ‘10% Discount for Waze Users.’ Here are a few other pointers:

  • The max length for your description is 80 characters. Waze recommends aiming for 60 characters.
  • Avoid including your address, website URL, or contact details. These details are added later on.
  • The description has to be clear and to the point. Even something as relatively simple as ‘Scrumptious homemade burgers made with local ingredients’ will work.
  • Don’t repeat your business name in the description. This will waste precious real estate.
business description

To run ads on Waze Local, you, of course, require a physical address for your business. This is the stage where you input the location – or locations – of your company. Thankfully, this is made easy by Waze and its implementation of Google Maps.

Simply type your business address into the search bar and select the result which is most accurate to your location. A traditional Google Maps pin will then represent this location. If the accuracy of the pin doesn’t match up to your exact location, you are free to move the pin to wherever you desire.

business location

Note: You can alter the address text once the advertising account has been created.

Now you have to select your business category. A wide range of categories are provided by Waze, with the following covered:

  • Food
  • Shops
  • Services
  • Healthcare
  • Sport
  • Travel and transport
  • College and university
  • Official centers
  • Entertainment

Then under these categories, you will find more descriptive options. For example, “Travel and transport” includes the likes of a hotel, gas station, and parking lot.

Even with the number of options available, in some instances, a business will not fall into one of the defined categories. If this happens with your company, simply pick the category most similar to your business type.

When the category is selected, your listing will be assigned with a relevant generic image. This should only be used as a placeholder during the setup process – it’s crucial you replace it with your own image later on.

business type

Step two: Budget and billing

As part of the creation of your advertising account, you will be asked to select a daily budget. As mentioned previously, this can begin as low as $2 a day. For a Starter account, the daily budget can go up to $333 – beyond that, and you are eligible to sign up for a more premium service.

When entering your daily budget into the system, Waze supplies a handy guide for you to follow. Along with totaling the daily budget to show how much it will cost on a monthly basis, it also reveals the estimated impression figures to expect from the budget.

For example, say you stick with the $2 daily budget and enter this into the system. Waze then shows the per month maximum for this budget as $60, and that it will generate an estimated 30,000 impressions each month.

You can also use these stats to deduce the type of impressions you will receive daily. Simply divide the 30,000 impressions by 30. So for every $2 you invest, your ad typically generates 1,000 impressions. This scale remains linear as you up the budget – a $20 daily budget brings 10,000 impressions, a $200 daily budget provides 100,000 impressions, etc.


Keep in mind that the budget can be edited at any time. If you decide to drop from, say, $50 to $5, you are only charged by Waze for the impressions it delivered. There’s also no worry that you’ll go beyond your set budget. Once the daily limit has been hit, your ad will stop showing on Waze – until it starts up again the next day.

The final step in creating an account is filling in your billing details. To do this, you require a valid credit card – debit cards are not accepted – from one of these providers:

  • MasterCard
  • Visa
  • JCB
  • Discover
  • American Express

Don’t worry: no payments are taken immediately. Waze will start charging for the ads at the end of each month.

billing details
Manage Campaigns
Manage Locations
Manage Ad

Step three: Managing your account

Once you have completed the sign up process, you are free to manage and alter your account. Within the Waze Local dashboard, there are three main sections to keep in mind: Manage Campaigns, Manage Ads and Manage Locations.

Manage Campaigns

In the Manage Campaigns section, you have the ability to edit the monthly recurring budget of your ad campaign. You can also modify the start date of your ads showing up on Waze.

One of the more interesting features is that you can target your ads. This means you can select specific times of the day, or even certain days of the week, for your ads to appear. For example, you can decide to only run the ads during the opening hours of your store.

Manage Ads

The Manage Ads section is where you can edit and refine your current advertisements. It’s essential you visit this section from the beginning to do one specific thing: upload your business logo.

To replace the current placeholder with your logo, simply visit the Manage Ads page. Under the “Ads” section, select the default ad that’s located on the list. Now under the “Display” section, you have the ability to drag and drop your logo file. When doing so, ensure the logo meets the specified guidelines. It can take up to 48 hours for your logo to be approved and publicly displayed.

Along with the logo, you’ll also want to take the time to include a banner image to give your advert that added visual appeal. You can do this in much the same way as uploading your logo.

Manage Locations

As the name suggests, the Manage Locations section is the place to go if you want to modify or add information to your current locations.

Along with being able to change your business name, description, pin location, and business category, you can also:

  • Edit the text for the business address. Ideal if the original location search didn’t produce the specific address for your store premises.
  • Include additional location details. Is your business situated on a particular floor of a building? Maybe the entrance is obscured and not immediately noticeable? You can add this information, so people know exactly where your business is positioned.
  • Include contact information. You can supply details such as your telephone number and website URL (if applicable).
  • Change your opening hours. Edit your opening hours to fall in line with your weekly schedule.
  • Add/edit location services. These include the likes of parking, curbside pickup, and drive-thru services that your store features. Certain services can be awarded a Location Personality badge, which gives your Branded Pin an extra visual element to stand out from other advertisers. It’s not just a visual aid for customers, either. It will also ensure your business is included within Promoted Search results that only include a specific service like parking.
Add/edit location services

The Manage Locations section is also where you need to go to incorporate any additional locations. Simply fill in the details in the same way as before for each store location.

Note: Your daily budget is split across each location.

With this in mind, make sure to increase the budget for every additional store to guarantee they’re all effectively promoted on Waze.

Measuring the success of your Waze Local ads campaign

When it comes to analyzing your Waze Local ads campaign, this is thankfully made easy. Waze supplies an overview page for every Waze Local account holder, which includes an in-depth look into the performance of your campaign.

Measuring the success of your Waze Local ads campaign

As you can see from the above image, you are provided an instant overview of how your ads are performing. It shows the number of times your Branded Pins have appeared on the GPS map of Waze users, as well as how many appearances it makes in search results. You can also view how many times a user has taken action from seeing your ads, and the amount you have spent on the campaign.

When analyzing the performance summary, you can do this per ad unit or as an overall total. This is an effective way of measuring the performance of your campaign. For instance, you have the ability to see which ad units are causing customers to take action, and which are failing to leave a lasting impression.

You’re at a particular advantage if you have multiple locations. You can try a certain ad description and image combination in one area and a different one in another. You can then compare the results and see which one delivered the best overall performance. Yet even if you only have one store location, you still have the ability to experiment on a week-to-week basis.

It can also pay off to experiment with your budget – especially with how easy it is to scale up or down your daily expenditure. See if you can find the right balance where you’re attracting enough customers to justify your advertising efforts on Waze.


If you own a brick-and-mortar business, you’ll already be aware of how difficult it can be to attract new customers through the door. While the digital world is one that may have reduced sales numbers due to the rise of online retailers, Waze Local gives you the chance to use a digital platform to your advantage.

It’s a platform well worth exploring. Waze boasts a large user base that is seemingly only going to get bigger in the future. The inexpensive entry point for a Waze Local ads campaign also means it is accessible for virtually any physical business, big or small.

If you’re in search of an effective way to drive foot traffic to your local store, Waze Local is an often overlooked method that can produce big results.