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Waze Advertising in Healthcare: A New Kind of Billboard

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

person in car holding a cellphone with the waze advertising app displayed on screen“Location, location, location.” It used to be one of the most important factors when starting up a new practice location (or any other healthcare business). But the way people find healthcare is changing rapidly.

Today, it’s easy for your competitors to win patients near you—whether or not they’re closer to those patients’ homes. Patients are searching online and in smartphone apps to find what they need, and your competitors are meeting them there. A prime location means little if you don’t find new ways to take advantage of it—as a few savvy organizations are doing with Waze advertising.

Related: Digital Ads and Healthcare: What Makes Some Companies So Successful?

What Is Waze Advertising?

Waze is a popular navigation app owned by Google. It differs from Google Maps and other navigation applications by crowdsourcing traffic information.

With community-based reporting, others along your route (passengers, hopefully) can report an accident, stalled vehicle, construction, and more. From this information, Waze helps you find the fastest route to your destination.

The app has a pretty impressive reach, too, with over 100 million active users. Some important stats on the average user:

  • Most users utilize Waze at least 2x a week
  • Average age of 25-55
  • Average user has 2-4 people in the home
  • Average household income of $75,000+
  • 60% of Waze users use the app within 12 miles of home

Many of my colleagues at Healthcare Success fit the description perfectly, using Waze for the daily commute or when visiting clients. Even if it often means taking an unfamiliar route, the goal is to arrive quickly and to help others accomplish the same thing.

Waze Advertising Opportunities

But what does this all mean to your business? Waze offers practices and hospitals the opportunity to reach locals in an app they use every day. Remember, most Waze users have the app open close to home, where you’re most likely to reach them.

waze advertising pins

A few branded pins in Southern California.

Waze uses the term “billboards with a digital backbone” for its in-app advertising features, which can take a few different forms:

  • Branded pins - Branded pins appear along users’ routes as they drive, or when they scan the map. Only your logo appears to drivers (rather than the entire billboard) to reduce safety hazards.
  • Search results - Your brand shows up as a sponsored ad at the top of the search results.
  • Zero-speed takeover - Users may be shown your digital billboard without clicking on a branded pin—but only if they come to a complete stop.

You can target patients or customers based on their home or work address. Many Waze users save their home and work addresses in the app for easy access when they need it, which works in your favor.

Some Real-Life Examples

We tested out the Waze app near our own office to find out what kinds of advertisements are out there right now. We found lots of ads for gas stations and restaurant chains. But healthcare is certainly starting to move into the spotlight.

We spotted branded pins for one local health network’s urgent care locations, as well as an ad for a hospital. And here was one major retailer with an important reminder for us all:

waze advertising healthcare

My team wasn’t searching for a place to get a flu shot, or even for a Rite Aid. We were simply on our way to lunch, and this friendly reminder appeared along our route as a branded pin, and as a clickable “digital billboard.”

Branded pins like these drive awareness of local practices, hospitals, and businesses. According to Waze, there’s an 82% uplift in successful brand recalls amongst Waze users when businesses advertise in the app.

And while most businesses appear on the app whether or not they pay for ads, Waze reports that businesses see an increase of 20.4% in monthly navigations once they begin sponsored advertisements.

Waze Advertising for the Healthcare Industry

So how can healthcare take advantage of these in-app advertising opportunities? Nearly any organization can benefit from promoted search. When someone is actively searching for a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon, for example, you want to appear at the top of the list, and promoted search helps you get there.

More in line with Waze’s unique features is the opportunity to find people when they’re not necessarily ready to make a purchase. I might not have time to get my flu shot right now. But this weekend, I’ll remember that there’s a convenient location nearby.

Urgent cares, hospitals, and primary care practices may be particularly suited to these branded pins and digital billboards. But nearly any brand can benefit from expanding their reach into promoted search.

Waze advertising makes it possible, and I’m happy to help guide you through it. For healthcare digital advertising information, contact Healthcare Success at 800-656-0907.

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