If you use Waze, you may have stopped at some red traffic light (hopefully you did stop) and “plop” – you saw an ad in your Waze App.

At that moment, you may have wondered whether this couldn’t be worth trying for your real estate business.

Based on the calculated estimation and the sources I analyzed, Waze Ads is worthwhile trying for real estate due to its relatively low required daily ad budget of $3 and the likely low costs you will have per buyer lead.

You can learn how I came to this conclusion when you read the rest of this article, where I discuss…

…what Waze is
…what Waze Ads are
…how many ad solutions are available
…how much Waze ads cost for real estate
…a Waze ads case study
…and Waze Ads targeting for real estate

So don’t be a stranger. Just keep reading.



What Is Waze?

Waze is a subsidiary of Google and a social traffic and navigation app with over 130 million active monthly users.

It was formerly called FreeMap Israel and was founded by the Israeli entrepreneurs Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar, and Uri Levine. (source)

If you like to speed, text, and drink coffee while driving (not sure who is driving then), the Waze app can help you get alerts from other users where traffic police are stationed.

But it is not only this type of information shared by other users.

Other Waze users can also share information about accidents (of drivers speeding, drinking coffee, and texting simultaneously), road closures, evacuation zones, and hazards, to name a few.


What Are Waze Ads?

Waze Ads is an advertising platform that uses the Waze app as a channel to display them depending on where the user is on the route and how he behaves.

This means ads are embedded in different places over the map, and a particular ad is shown when a driver approaches a specific area or location.

Additionally, when the driver stops, for example, at a stop sign or traffic light, another type of Waze ad can also be displayed.

Waze ads are particularly interesting for local businesses that can benefit from spontaneous drops or walk-ins.

This use case is beneficial for stores and brands but also for businesses that count on potential walk-in customers.

The latter is also the case for several real estate scenarios, such as open houses or a user wanting to look at a property on the way to another place.

The Waze app also features pre-determined calls to action, reporting & insights, and advanced targeting options.



How Many Ad Solutions Are Available in Waze Ads?

Five ad solutions or ad types are available in Waze ads: Pins, Search, Zero-Speed Takeover, Arrows, and Location Personalities.


1) Pins

Pins behave a bit like store signs, and their main aim is to remind potential customers that a business is near or on their route.

A store sign is usually a constant element to stay in a potential customer’s mind. The store would barely be remembered if they were used one day and not the next.

The same is true for Pins; they should always be active to increase location awareness and thus that your (real estate) business exists.

This is also what Google/Waze recommends as best practice. (source)


2) Search

The search ad targets another type of user, namely one looking for a solution to a need.

It is a bit similar to a Google search ad, and the difference is that this is a user ready to get into their car and go to a specific place that hopefully can fulfill their need.

One real estate scenario you could think of is a user looking for an open house in a particular neighborhood or area.

Another could be a potential buyer client who likes to meet personally and is looking for “drop-in” friendly brokerages on his route.

3) Zero-Speed Takeover

Imagine driving in your car and having the Waze app running, and it’s one of those days where it seems as if the only color traffic lights have is “red.”

So you have to stop more than you’d like to, and then you see a little digital billboard on your Waze app.

The “Zero-Speed Takeover” ad is only displayed when you stop for more than 4 seconds.

This type of ad is a good complimentary ad to Pin ads and can extend the reach of the overall Waze ad campaign.

4) Arrows

According to Waze, the Arrow ad type has the highest engagement rate (not to be confused with conversion rates) compared to all other types.

It is a variation of the Pin ad, showing the user on the map when a particular business is nearby. It then points with an arrow towards the location depending on where the user is on their route.

5) Location Personalities

Waze didn’t include “Location Personalities” as a fifth ad type but it should be considered an additional type.

This Waze ad type helps you highlight a particular place with special badges.

So, when a potential client plans a trip and uses the search, the highlighted place will draw attention and stick out compared to places that don’t use this ad.

According to Waze, using these badges or “Location Personalities,” engagement can be increased by 35%. (source)


Waze Call to Action Buttons

The whole point of advertising and good copywriting is getting someone to act on your offer.

But getting them to act on an ad while driving is tricky unless a driver is some mutated human being from another planet with four arms.

Besides, not all people are spontaneous, and many have already made plans once on the road.

This is why Waze ads offer a pre-determined call to action for the different ad types. And there is only one suitable for the spontaneous kind of driver, labeled “Drive There.”

The remaining CTAs all revolve around postponing the taking of action. They are labeled as follows:

  • Save location
  • Save for later
  • Save offer
  • Remind me

Depending on your monthly ad spend, you can customize what copy the CTAs will have. But Waze/Google doesn’t indicate what particular monthly ad spend is required to do that on their website.

The interesting part is that when you use the above four CTAs, you can also engage potential clients after the drive with push notifications.

For example, a push notification can be sent when they are close to a location you are promoting.



How Much Do Waze Ads Cost for Real Estate?

Another difference between Waze Ads and Google Ads, and/or Facebook Ads is that there are no reliable sources to get information about costs per click or costs per acquisition/costs per lead.

The only information available is that you can start with a daily budget of $3 and how many impressions you can expect to get monthly (see screenshot below) for this budget.

waze ads

There is not much further detailed information about costs per click or action.

So, this is something you will need to get used to when you have worked with Google Ads before.

Because in Google Ads, you can get at least a pretty exact estimate of how many clicks or actions you will get for your daily budget per keyword.

It would be nice if the developers of the Waze Ad platform could implement something similar soon.

Via anecdotal evidence, however, I came across some performance data during my research (as time has passed since writing this article, the website is not reachable anymore).

However, here are the metrics you may need to take them with a grain of salt:

  • Total spend: $249
  • Total impressions: 136,458
  • Total actions (clicks): 2,357

Based on these numbers, we can calculate the cost per action or per click (CPC), which is $0.105.

Since no real estate industry data about lead conversion rates exist to my knowledge regarding Waze ads, we will need to resort to real estate lead conversion rates of the largest social media platform, which is Facebook.

Why use a social media platform for this?

Because Waze is a social navigation and traffic app and thus has more similarities with Facebook than with Google.

And according to my article, real estate prospecting conversion rates with Facebook ads is 10.68%.

So, if 10.68% of the above 2,357 actions/clicks convert into sales appointments, you are looking at a cost per lead or cost per acquisition of $0.98 per lead ($249 divided by 251.72 leads).

This would be an astonishing number.

But let’s get a bit more pessimistic, and assume that it is unlikely to get with Waze Ads the 10.68% from Facebook ads.

Since Waze is a subsidiary of Google, let’s treat it with Google Search Ad lead conversion rates for real estate, which is 3.9%.

In that case, you would pay $2.70 per lead ($249 divided by roughly 92 leads you can generate with a 3.9% conversion rate).

These are still awesome numbers when you compare them with how much you pay in other marketing channels per lead, as I laid out in my article here.


Waze Ads Case Studies for Real Estate

In the below video, a realtor from Berkshire Hathaway shows how her agency uses Waze Ads mainly for open house events by using open house pins, Zero-Speed Takeover Ads, and Waze Search Ads.

But there are many other use cases for real estate.

Another one I already mentioned earlier is to use them to promote spontaneous showings (it wouldn’t be my favorite as an agent since it is more efficient to schedule showings in batches).

But it hasn’t to be a spontaneous showing you promote. It can be just a property for sale, and by the additional information displayed in the ad, drivers can schedule a showing or contact the realtor in charge later.

In writing this, I got a rather creative idea that may be a bit cheeky to use Waze Ads to generate seller leads.

You may have some properties on the shortlist you would like to get under a commission agreement.

Why not run a Waze Ad for these properties using sales copy such as “This property might be for sale”?

If the owner (or seller) or some neighbors use Waze, it may come to their ears that their house might be for sale, and they will be a bit confused seeing an ad about their property.

So, they may contact you want to find out how you dare offer it for sale.

But I must admit this might be a bit riskier, so you may want to go the safer route to generate seller leads via open houses by promoting them via Waze Ads.


Waze Ads Targeting for Real Estate

Earlier, I already discussed the different targeting options you have with Waze Ads.

But it may also be important to know about the general demographic data of Waze users in the U.S.

Here it is:

  • 48% are women.
  • 52% are men.
  • 35% are between 25 and 34 years old.
  • 48% are between 35 and 54 years old.
  • 65% have between 2-4 people in their household.
  • 46% have a household income of $100k+ per year.

Another interesting detail is that one-third of the Waze users that could be reached via ads live within 6 miles of the businesses promoting their goods or services on Waze (source).

This brings me to a word of caution. During my research, I stumbled across this YouTuber.

What does he mention in this video?

You may not target the right audience when using Waze Ads because you may accidentally target many who drive for a living for various transportation-sharing apps (Uber, for example).

This might be true for the 54% of the drivers that don’t have an income of $100k+ per year.

Unfortunately, there are not many ways to filter them out or at least decrease the risk of accidentally targeting them with a Waze ads campaign.

But before I get into some ways of mitigating this risk, let’s look at your audience targeting options with Waze Ads.

The targeting options are limited compared to Facebook or Google Ads, but there are some.

You can target the potential real estate clients based on them being either tourists or locals, their interests, operating system, cellular carrier, age & gender, and their loyalty (e.g., loyalty targeting).

There are also live-targeting options based on the following:

…the time of day or day of the week
…the opening and closing hours of your local establishment (e.g., real estate office)
…the way to a particular type of location (work, home, or category of business)
…the type of traffic the respective driver is stopped in (e.g., heavy, standstill, medium, red light)
…the user’s language settings
…the navigation route length
…and the weather conditions

So, based on the above, you could only do the following to mitigate the risk of targeting car-sharing app drivers:

  1. You only use Waze Ads if you live in a rural area where the share of Uber drivers is pretty low and thus neglectable.
  2. You use only loyalty targeting. This targeting feature only targets users who have visited you locally in your office. The below video explains this targeting feature in more detail.


A better way would be if the Waze Ads platform would offer targeting features that allow you to target drivers based on the number of hours they drive daily.

Since car-sharing drivers do this for a living and often drive 9 to 5 or more hours, you could filter them out more efficiently by targeting the drivers with fewer hours per day (e.g., up to 2 to 3 hours per day).

Nevertheless, since the earlier calculated ad costs or costs per lead are likely pretty low, it may still be worthwhile using Waze Ads and just accepting that you can’t target in a granular way.



Do Waze Ads Work for Real Estate, and Are They Worth It?

With enough testing, you can make any ad campaign work, so this also includes Waze ads for real estate.

Not one marketing channel works from the get-go.

It is especially worthwhile testing when you want to target potential real estate buyers because of the naturally strong local characteristics of properties and real estate.

Additionally, it is still affordable to test because a daily minimum ad budget of $3 is required, and you can run several ad creatives simultaneously. (source)

Finally, you will likely benefit because the daily necessary ad budget is low, and the likelihood of generating buyer leads at low costs is high.

Regarding seller lead generation, you may need to get more creative to target them correctly with Waze Ads.

Finally, two types of Waze Ads accounts exist: Waze Brands and Waze Local.

If you have more than 50 real estate brokerages, you qualify for Waze Brands.

The Waze Local account would be subdivided into Starter and Plus for everyone else. Whether you are a “Starter” or “Plus” depends on the daily ad budget.

If you start at $3 per day when you are on a budget, you will have a “Starter” account and cannot use the Zero-Speed Takeover ad type. (source)

But this shouldn’t be a problem since, to test, I would start with the “Arrow Ad” type because it supposedly gets the best engagement rate.

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.

Tobias Schnellbacher