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, using 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 the first quarter. In real terms, this equals more than 120 additional repair orders per month, or 360 “direct navigations to the service bay” during the quarter. That’s potentially more than $125,000 in repair revenue (based on average repair pricing in Ohio).

Gruhin didn’t provide 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 also said that of the various Waze Local units, search ads generated the most clicks.

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