Waze CMO Harris Beber on local marketing and adapting to new modes of transportation

Waze has had a tough business road to navigate in the depths of the pandemic. With fewer people on the highways to get to work and elsewhere, the Google-owned navigation app has taken a hit and was forced into layoffs and office closures.

Today, even though commuting habits remain permanently changed in some cases, Waze’s marketing manager says the app has rebounded as it relies on ad selling and hyper- premises to accommodate the new ways people travel.

“We’ve recovered and are thriving,” said Harris Beber, chief marketing officer of Waze. “Last month, we just had our highest month ever in our company’s history in terms of monthly active users, we surpassed 150 million.”

Beber, who joined Waze in April after serving as CMO at Vimeo, details Waze’s new approach in the latest edition of Ad Age’s Marketer’s Brief podcast. The strategy involves striking local advertising deals with small businesses, as well as big sponsorship deals with traffic-generating events such as the Tour de France, to help people get around road closures.

“If you only used Waze on those long-distance trips in the past, now you find ways to use us going through the local neighborhood,” Beber said, citing how Waze users get their supplies. mass for real-time traffic updates that uncover everything from hidden police officers to a crane in the middle of a road.