Case study: Waze Local ads drove a 57% increase in leads to local auto dealer

After roughly a year of testing, in March, Waze launched its ads product Waze Local. Designed for smaller businesses and local retailers primarily, it features a number of different map-based ad units that offer both search and display inventory: branded pins, promoted search and “zero speed [screen] takeovers.”

These are relatively low-cost ad units ($2.00 per day to start) designed for businesses with only a few locations or a single location. Upgrades are available (Plus enterprise) for businesses that have many more locations. During its beta program, Waze reported that advertisers saw “20.4 percent more monthly navigations when they started advertising with Waze Local.”

I recently spoke with a Kia dealer from Bedford, Ohio (outside Cleveland). Dave Gruhin, director of operations at Kia of Bedford, said that since being hired earlier this year, he has implemented a broad digital marketing program, implemented via agency PureCars, that includes multiple channels. One of those channels is Waze Local ads.

Gruhin told me that Waze Local ads alone resulted in a 57 percent increase in service leads in Q1. This translated into more than 120 additional repair orders per month, or 360 “direct navigations to the service bay” during the quarter. In real-dollar terms, that’s potentially more than $125,000 in repair revenue (based on average repair pricing in Ohio).

Gruhin didn’t provide his revenue figures or tell me his Waze budget. But for a single location business, the budget maximum is $3,000 per month. Using that figure (max ad budget) and the average repair pricing figures above, Kia of Bedford received a hypothetical ROI of 42:1.

Gruhin explained that most of the ad creatives included incentives such as free coffee or popcorn. He said that the search ads generated the most clicks of the various Waze Local units.

He added that the company’s total marketing program, which combines traditional radio with search and social media, has elevated Kia of Bedford above eight other Kia dealerships in the greater Cleveland area and made it one of the top 10 dealers in the US.

About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.

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