Business

Why Ads Can Help SMBs Recoup During the COVID Recovery

A conversation with Waze on its new SMB product, the Waze Ad Starter

John Thomey
John Thomey
Apr 1, 2021
Why Ads Can Help SMBs Recoup During the COVID Recovery
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Happy Urban Tech Thursday! The best day of the week for folks interested in how tech is changing our cities more and more by the day.

Iโ€™m really excited for todayโ€™s edition, which features a recent interview with Ori Daniel, Head of Global Self-Service, Waze Ads. Waze recently launched a new suite of tools for small and medium-size businesses. Ori shared more on how the company is thinking about servicing and providing advertising tools to the SMB community.

Before getting to my conversation with Ori, a couple of notes:

On Tuesday, I sent out a quick note that Urban Techโ€™s first official website is now live!!

Right now, it's just a landing page, but pretty soon, this site is where our paid product is going live and where over 170 people are going to help us test the product as part of our beta test group.

This group will not only have an early voice in shaping the platform we build but โ€” and still negotiating the terms of this with my investors โ€” this group will also be the first group of users to receive discounts as we figure out how to price this new product/idea on the internet correctly.

All this to say: you should join our beta waitlist so I can lock you in on some kind of in the works discount plan as we build out the first iteration of the product!!

Now, enough of the self-promotional shit, letโ€™s get to my wayyyy more interesting conversation with Ori! ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Why Ads Can Help SMBs Recoup During the COVID Recovery

In February, Waze launched a new product suite for small businesses that helps them design and target custom ads to reach new customers and continue to building a relationship with existing customers.

Source

Urban Tech sat down with the lead for the product and business line for Waze, Ori Daniel. The conversation below has been slightly edited for clarity and brevity.

โ€” What challenges are SMBs experiencing that led to creating this solution for SMBs?

One of the biggest challenges SMBs are navigating during the pandemic is connecting with existing customers and attracting new customers, while making the most of their marketing investments. They are struggling to connect with customers since so much of their business comes from in-person shopping experiences and in-store shopping has declined during the pandemic. To combat this issue, we launched new features to Waze Ads Starter, an advertising solution tailored specifically for small business owners. We are giving SMBs access to new ad formats, show estimated campaign reach, and recommend budgets that dynamically incorporate locations and other campaign details, based on a total or monthly campaign budget setting. With no monthly commitment, small businesses can advertise on Waze for the low cost of a few dollars per day. ย 

โ€” Can you explain what the Waze ad platform is? How does it fit into the Waze product suite?

Waze Ads Starter was designed with small businesses in mind. We are giving SMBs the opportunity to play on the same field as bigger brands who can often afford to pay $10K+ for a roadside billboard ad. Waze Ads Starters offers campaigns starting at only $2/day. Available on both desktops and mobile devices, users can access a streamlined campaign management dashboard as a way to track and achieve their business goals. The latest updates include ad formats, targeting criteria, goal specific call-to-actions, push notifications, and flexible campaigns, all in an easy to use dashboard. As Waze users utilize the navigation app for their travel purposes, local entrepreneurs and business owners can target those nearby and provide valuable information about their businesses to potential customers.

โ€” Can you share some stats or profiles on the kinds of companies that are using the solution; who is getting value from the product?

From locally-owned regional chains to mom-and-pop restaurants, we are seeing a wide variety of SMBs turn to Waze Ads Starter. The large majority of our advertisers have 1-10 locations. For example, Austin Moon is the co-founder and owner of Mojo Coffee, which has five locations in small towns throughout Central Texas. Once the pandemic hit and Mojo had to close the seating offered in certain locations, Austin turned to Waze to boost brand awareness and increase drive-thru traffic. This was especially important for his Liberty Hill location which sees over 26,000 cars pass by each day. He launched Pins on the Waze map and used the new location personalities badges to indicate to drivers that his business offers drive-thru service and adheres to appropriate safety protocols. With Waze serving as a digital billboard, Mojo Coffee was able to increase traffic through their locationโ€™s drive-through traffic and see some of the best weeks in company history.

โ€” What other kinds of initiatives for SMBs is Waze doing outside of this new product?

Ahead of Small Business Saturday last November, Waze conducted an outreach project to small businesses globally to encourage and help them update their information on the Waze map. The goal of the initiative was to make sure business locations on the Waze map were up to date in order to provide a safe and seamless holiday shopping experience for potential customers. Small business owners could contribute their information via a Google form, which the Waze community of more than 500K volunteer map editors then verified and added to the Waze map. ย We are continuing to explore other ways we can support SMBs during this difficult time. ย 

โ€” Are there any interesting stats or figures on the product or findings you can share with Urban Tech?

Our research shows that 43% of small business owners view COVIDโ€™s impact as a major disruption to their business. With small businesses prioritizing solutions that can help them increase awareness and visits to their business locations over the next 12 months, itโ€™s important to note that businesses currently advertising on Waze have seen a 20% increase in drivers navigating to their business.

โ€” More broadly and looking ahead to the next year or two, what kinds of opportunities are there for SMBs to embrace technology for more resiliency and to bounce back in the face of COVID?

While we remain optimistic that a successful vaccine rollout will lead to increased in-person traffic for SMBs, we still predict that the next year will be all about purpose-driven shopping. With safety concerns still top of mind, consumers will feel less inclined to aimlessly explore new stores and will primarily visit stores to either pick something up they already ordered or view a specific item. The car is going to be the last shopping decision point rather than merely a form of transportation. SMBs that embrace technological solutions that properly communicate and support safe and contactless shopping experiences will be able to withstand the uncertainty of the coming year.

A huge thanks to Ori and the Waze team for chatting with Urban Tech!!

Happy Urban Tech Thursday! The best day of the week for folks interested in how tech is changing our cities more and more by the day.

Iโ€™m really excited for todayโ€™s edition, which features a recent interview with Ori Daniel, Head of Global Self-Service, Waze Ads. Waze recently launched a new suite of tools for small and medium-size businesses. Ori shared more on how the company is thinking about servicing and providing advertising tools to the SMB community.

Before getting to my conversation with Ori, a couple of notes:

On Tuesday, I sent out a quick note that Urban Techโ€™s first official website is now live!!

Right now, it's just a landing page, but pretty soon, this site is where our paid product is going live and where over 170 people are going to help us test the product as part of our beta test group.

This group will not only have an early voice in shaping the platform we build but โ€” and still negotiating the terms of this with my investors โ€” this group will also be the first group of users to receive discounts as we figure out how to price this new product/idea on the internet correctly.

All this to say: you should join our beta waitlist so I can lock you in on some kind of in the works discount plan as we build out the first iteration of the product!!

Now, enough of the self-promotional shit, letโ€™s get to my wayyyy more interesting conversation with Ori! ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Why Ads Can Help SMBs Recoup During the COVID Recovery

In February, Waze launched a new product suite for small businesses that helps them design and target custom ads to reach new customers and continue to building a relationship with existing customers.

Source

Urban Tech sat down with the lead for the product and business line for Waze, Ori Daniel. The conversation below has been slightly edited for clarity and brevity.

โ€” What challenges are SMBs experiencing that led to creating this solution for SMBs?

One of the biggest challenges SMBs are navigating during the pandemic is connecting with existing customers and attracting new customers, while making the most of their marketing investments. They are struggling to connect with customers since so much of their business comes from in-person shopping experiences and in-store shopping has declined during the pandemic. To combat this issue, we launched new features to Waze Ads Starter, an advertising solution tailored specifically for small business owners. We are giving SMBs access to new ad formats, show estimated campaign reach, and recommend budgets that dynamically incorporate locations and other campaign details, based on a total or monthly campaign budget setting. With no monthly commitment, small businesses can advertise on Waze for the low cost of a few dollars per day. ย 

โ€” Can you explain what the Waze ad platform is? How does it fit into the Waze product suite?

Waze Ads Starter was designed with small businesses in mind. We are giving SMBs the opportunity to play on the same field as bigger brands who can often afford to pay $10K+ for a roadside billboard ad. Waze Ads Starters offers campaigns starting at only $2/day. Available on both desktops and mobile devices, users can access a streamlined campaign management dashboard as a way to track and achieve their business goals. The latest updates include ad formats, targeting criteria, goal specific call-to-actions, push notifications, and flexible campaigns, all in an easy to use dashboard. As Waze users utilize the navigation app for their travel purposes, local entrepreneurs and business owners can target those nearby and provide valuable information about their businesses to potential customers.

โ€” Can you share some stats or profiles on the kinds of companies that are using the solution; who is getting value from the product?

From locally-owned regional chains to mom-and-pop restaurants, we are seeing a wide variety of SMBs turn to Waze Ads Starter. The large majority of our advertisers have 1-10 locations. For example, Austin Moon is the co-founder and owner of Mojo Coffee, which has five locations in small towns throughout Central Texas. Once the pandemic hit and Mojo had to close the seating offered in certain locations, Austin turned to Waze to boost brand awareness and increase drive-thru traffic. This was especially important for his Liberty Hill location which sees over 26,000 cars pass by each day. He launched Pins on the Waze map and used the new location personalities badges to indicate to drivers that his business offers drive-thru service and adheres to appropriate safety protocols. With Waze serving as a digital billboard, Mojo Coffee was able to increase traffic through their locationโ€™s drive-through traffic and see some of the best weeks in company history.

โ€” What other kinds of initiatives for SMBs is Waze doing outside of this new product?

Ahead of Small Business Saturday last November, Waze conducted an outreach project to small businesses globally to encourage and help them update their information on the Waze map. The goal of the initiative was to make sure business locations on the Waze map were up to date in order to provide a safe and seamless holiday shopping experience for potential customers. Small business owners could contribute their information via a Google form, which the Waze community of more than 500K volunteer map editors then verified and added to the Waze map. ย We are continuing to explore other ways we can support SMBs during this difficult time. ย 

โ€” Are there any interesting stats or figures on the product or findings you can share with Urban Tech?

Our research shows that 43% of small business owners view COVIDโ€™s impact as a major disruption to their business. With small businesses prioritizing solutions that can help them increase awareness and visits to their business locations over the next 12 months, itโ€™s important to note that businesses currently advertising on Waze have seen a 20% increase in drivers navigating to their business.

โ€” More broadly and looking ahead to the next year or two, what kinds of opportunities are there for SMBs to embrace technology for more resiliency and to bounce back in the face of COVID?

While we remain optimistic that a successful vaccine rollout will lead to increased in-person traffic for SMBs, we still predict that the next year will be all about purpose-driven shopping. With safety concerns still top of mind, consumers will feel less inclined to aimlessly explore new stores and will primarily visit stores to either pick something up they already ordered or view a specific item. The car is going to be the last shopping decision point rather than merely a form of transportation. SMBs that embrace technological solutions that properly communicate and support safe and contactless shopping experiences will be able to withstand the uncertainty of the coming year.

A huge thanks to Ori and the Waze team for chatting with Urban Tech!!

Why Ads Can Help SMBs Recoup During the COVID Recovery

John Thomey

John Thomey is a founder of Urban Tech, a newsletter and podcast. Heโ€™s a graduate student at the University of Southern California, studying Public Policy and Urban Planning.

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