May 1, 2013

Q&A, Di-Ann Eisnor, VP of platform and partnerships, Waze

Posted by: in North America

Waze’s Di-Ann Eisnor was among the experts we spoke with for our recent trend report “13 Mobile Trends for 2013 and Beyond,” which is based around insights gleaned at the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress in February. Waze, a “community-based traffic and navigation app,” won Best Overall Mobile App at the Global Mobile Awards held at the Congress. The company claims 40 million-plus users around the world and, after launching an ad platform in late 2012, counts Target, Taco Bell, Walmart, Ramada Hotels and Dunkin’ Donuts among its advertising partners. As Eisnor explained, the company is using its data on “how people move through the world and what their patterns are” to help brands fine-tune messaging to consumers on the go.

Can you give us a quick overview of Waze?

We are a social GPS and real-time traffic—and that means that we have this group of 40 million drivers, or more now, and they are anonymously giving us GPS traces and timestamps just by turning their phone on to get their free voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation and their traffic information. And then we use that to try to make sure that everybody saves as much time as possible every day. Our users are unique in that they’re not just using navigation for when they don’t want to get lost; they’re commuters for the most part. And so they’re using it with great frequency—on average I think it’s now seven and a half hours per month. It’s a fairly high frequency use.

We’re trying to do something fairly new that takes advantage of everything we’ve all learned about location and about navigation. We’re kind of this companion that gets people to where they want to go at different parts of their day—we know if they’re going from home to work and what time of day that is. We know if they’re going from work to the airport or from work to their kids’ school or to the daycare or to the soccer field or to the gym, because they’re doing those searches as soon as they get into the car.

For the advertisers, we call this a location-guided advertising platform. Often when you hear about location advertising and mobile advertising, a lot of people really understand the “what’s near you right now”—like, if there’s a special nearby where I happen to be. But it doesn’t take into account my context or what’s going on with me. What we’re trying to do is weave in, “Where was I? Where am I now? Where am I going?” And to use that information not necessarily as a person-by-person target, but to understand these patterns of insights about how people move through their day and at what time of day different offers or advertisers are relevant.

Can you give an example of that location-guided advertising in action?

We work frequently with Dunkin’ Donuts, and obviously people are doing searches for coffee at a certain time of day and it’s usually when they’re on their way to work. On their way to work is also when they’re open to stopping off at a Dunkin’ Donuts. If you’re doing a search for coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts will come up as the sponsored option. So there is a search component. Then there are pins on the map at the locations along the route or near you. We give you an opportunity from there to reroute to the destination.

If you look at the whole Waze drive experience, we have different advertisers working across different parts of it. When you open the application, if we have an offer that is incredibly good for Wazers, you’ll see something at the beginning of the experience, before you do the search. Then there’s, while you’re doing the search, what results are coming up and how do we highlight advertisers that are part of the community. Then there are the pins on the map. But then there’s, each time you stop—and again, this has to be a relevant offer for users—we have what’s called a “takeover,” and it only happens at zero speed. We’ll put your offer in front of people and give them an opportunity to navigate.

So we’re tracking that whole funnel from impression to click to navigate, and then all kinds of other secondary offers too. Say I don’t want to go to Taco Bell this instant, but I want to save the offer for later or save the information they’re giving me, then that’s automatically saved into your inbox, and you’ll get an email reminding you that you have an offer saved there.

So it’s that whole part of the process, all the way to actually capturing who’s arrived at your location, and that’s pretty unique. As an industry, we’ve wanted to be there for a long time. And I’m excited about the different bits of context we are starting to bring in.

Any other examples of how you’re working with brands?

We have a really fun example with Hollywood Records, when they gave away a free song to Wazers this past Valentine’s Day. That was that takeover scenario: If you’re going at zero speed, then you have an opportunity to download the free song.

Nintendo started a program for the holiday season, and they were promoting a bundle of a game system and some games. They have different bundles that they do with the different retailers, so it was a combined effort between Nintendo and Walmart and then Nintendo and Target, where we could promote the specific bundle and then watch people actually navigate there.

There’s one quick-serve restaurant who considers themselves both a coffee company and restaurant. And we can do an analysis of search behavior at different times of day by different cities, even by the different locations. So let’s just say in San Francisco people are searching for coffee from, let’s say, 8 a.m. until 9:30, but in Chicago, it could be from 7:30 to 9. We have a unique ability to target by that time of day and by that destination to make sure you’re putting your correct offer in front of people at the right time.

That is something we’re developing for this one company right now, and then we’ll be able to roll it out to everybody. The dayparting already exists, but to be able to understand what time of day we serve it for every single location across the country is the part we’re weaving in right now for that company. We call it the temporal interest graph. By May you’ll see that out.

Is there any other context you are taking into account? 

The other context that’s related to mobile and specifically to location-guided in this way is weather. So that’s something you’re going to see from us. It’s incredibly important when you’re hitting the road because not only does it change your time to your destination, but there are different things that are going to be relevant to you when it’s raining or when it’s icy than when not. So extending that to advertisers, whether it’s allergy medicine or tires or even take a retailer like Home Depot, whose offers will need to change based on what the weather is outside.

At MWC you talked about how the mindset among marketers has been changing quickly. How do you see it evolving right now?

Most of the companies we’ve worked with so far, we’ll get a call from the VP of marketing and they’ll say, “I’m a Wazer. How can I put my brand on here?” So it’s not that we’re at a massive scale yet. But when we were having these conversations when we launched our ad platform in November, there were very small test budgets. And I think those early customers saw the value so fast that they just kept allocating more and more. We launched with somebody in December, and they’ve already allocated a budget for us that’s their No. 2 spend in all of digital for the year. So that was a big surprise.

An experimental budget was literally $5,000, and then, December or January, it was $50,000, and now many of the conversations we’re having around experimental budgets are more like $500,000.

Have you had any pushback from users who are now seeing more ads?

We’ve had some pushback. I think anytime you’re bringing in ads for the first time, you’re going to get people saying, “Oh, I don’t want ads.” But when it comes down to it, I think people are glad they have this service for free, and most of the sentiment when we reach out to people is fairly positive to neutral. I was surprised at how much positive sentiment. On almost every program we’ve launched, I find great things on Twitter about how happy people were or how they bought something or how it’s part of the map.

Is there any personalization based around individual users or is messaging based more on general context?

Well, it’s personal to individual users in that it will be [tailored] to the end destination. So if something called “work” is the end destination and something called “home” is the beginning destination, we take that into account. If something called “airport” is the end destination, we’ll take that into account, or something called “Walmart,” for example. The destination and the origin are really important to advertisers. So we’re focused on that. And that would be by the individual drive but not the individual user.

One thing we want to do is to have categories of drivers based on the behavior. For example, many people have asked us to identify if there’s a category of driving behavior called “frequent business traveler” based on number of trips to an airport or number of cities where you’ve opened the application. And you can tell maybe a specific kind of professional if the commute time is, say, before 7:30 a.m. There are different driving behaviors based on the time of day, based on frequency of driving, based on the number of different places, the consistency of the route. We’re working through that now.

But right now we’re not doing too much that’s related to a specific user. We want to walk that line very carefully and together with our users and with our advertisers. But what we’re doing so far is just gathering insights about the way our users are using the system and where they’re stopping, and it’s pretty incredible. For example, the number of people that still stop at a bank on the way to or from work is much higher than we would have imagined.

We’re trying to figure out, what does the work commute look like, because it’s not just a here to there. It’s a there to drop off the kids, to pick up your coffee. It’s all these different pit stops. And on the way home, it’s much more flexible. So depending on the day, it’s either, I’m stopping for groceries or I’m going to a restaurant to meet friends or I’m going to a friend’s house or I’m picking up the kids or I’m going to the gym—there’s all these different things that constitute this notion of “my drive back home” at the end of the day. We’re learning a lot about that and sharing that with our advertisers and using that to help make sure that we’re connecting brands and users in the right way.

How do you envision Waze evolving as you get a more sophisticated sense of your consumer base and more advertisers?  

I’ve touched on a lot that has to do with the combination of time, of origin and of destination, and then weather is one layer on top of that. We’re not very far away from being able to serve up those messages according to the optimal time frame in each location for each group of drivers. One of the things I think is exciting is that mobile in general is going to take a much, much bigger share of how advertisers understand how to communicate with users. Right now it’s all so new. I think we’ll be broken out of the category of “experiment” as a group in mobile.

My vision here is that the way Google was for purchase intent for the Web, we like to imagine that we are becoming purchase intent for the real world. You need all these different pieces of context, and each drive is any number of given searches. That’s kind of where we’re headed.

We have platforms out there who can actually tell you your impact on sales. We’re working with some brands right now on, if there’s an impact on turn and velocity. We’ve always said we wanted this information, but now we might be buying against it as a combination of brands and performance. And performance is no longer possibly a proxy for just a search or a click; it might actually be dollars spent. And so this is a new and kind of scary area that we don’t know how to charge for—we don’t know what it all means, but it’s where we’ve wanted to be.

A lot of advertising has taken us away from what we wanted, which was to impact sales and build our relationship with the customer. And now these platforms allow you to actually get back to, how are you both going to build that relationship and that engagement, but actually know how it impacts sales?

So you know exactly whether that person went to the store, how much they spent, what they bought?

It’s going to be at least until next year to really tie in that “how much they spent” piece of it, but the arrival piece we’re already tying together now. So yes, if you click on the “navigate” button [after seeing a takeover ad pointing to a retail location], we can actually tell if you made it to the destination.

How do you see this kind of targeting evolving?

We talked a lot about the trend of context and how it really needs to include the origin and destination—not just the now, but the before and the after. The technology and the algorithms that are needed to pull that off are going to advance significantly; targeting is going to look very different. We’re going to be able to target based on context, but it will also automated, the way we’re used to now as we’re targeting 18 to 24. So I think it will be all about executing very, very well on those systems.

We currently have these different systems where you couldn’t think of customer acquisition in the same way that you can think of loyalty in the same way that you could think of basket size, for example. And some of these new platforms are allowing you to have a relationship across all of those, because when you talk about location and you talk about patterns, then you’re able to get information all across. You’ll be able to weave together better a customer from acquisition to basket size or to lifetime value even.

Do you have a hypothetical example of how that would play out?

It can play out in many different ways, but if you look at the data, even on an anonymized level, you can tell when, say, this device ID used to be seen at Starbucks, now it’s seen at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s been seen there 12 times this month. The dwell time was seven and a half minutes. And most people have a good sense of, if someone stays there X minutes, how much was that sale. And then through offers and things like that, we can track specific redemption values and dollars.

We’re building a picture of how people move through the world and what their patterns are. And pulling all of that information together is going to be very, very exciting, all the way from to the user to the advertiser, and put us all on the same team.

No Responses to "Q&A, Di-Ann Eisnor, VP of platform and partnerships, Waze"

Comment Form

New: 2014 iPad App

The Brazil Opportunity

Updates

Sign up for Email Updates

JWT AnxietyIndex

Things to Watch

  • Brands + Google Glass
    July 15, 2014 | 6:09 pm

    SPG

    As Google Glass makes its way into the hands of more people (last month it became available in the U.K.), brands are experimenting with the new possibilities that the platform affords. In March, Kenneth Cole became the first to launch a marketing campaign—the “Man Up for Mankind Challenge”—through a Glass app. Users were challenged to perform and document good deeds for the chance to win a prize.

    Starwood’s new Glass app, billed as the first such app from the hospitality sector, lets people voice-search its properties, view photos and amenities, get directions and book rooms. An array of other marketers have turned out apps for early adopters, from Sherman Williams’ ColorSnap Glass (easily create a paint chip that mirrors anything in view) to Fidelity (delivers daily market quotes for Glass wearers). —Tony Oblen

    Image credit: SPG

  • Ugly produce
    July 10, 2014 | 2:45 pm

    Intermarche

    Ugly Produce, on our list of 100 Things to Watch in 2014, is proliferating in Europe, thanks in part to government efforts to reduce the 89 million tons of food wasted in Europe each year. In France, Intermarché has been getting buzz for creating a produce section dedicated to “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables”; a whimsical ad campaign reportedly drove a 24 percent rise in store traffic.

    U.K. supermarket Waitrose recently began selling packs of tomatoes that are misshapen or have fallen off the vine naturally. And in Portugal, Fruta Feia (“Ugly Fruit”) is a cooperative launched in late 2013 that sells unsightly produce that would have gone to waste. Per The New York Times, the group already has a waiting list of 1,000 customers. In line with one of our 10 Trends for 2014, Proudly Imperfect, watch for ugly produce to catch on with both retailers and shoppers. —Jessica Vaughn

    Image credit: Intermarché

  • The $1.25 Cube
    July 3, 2014 | 12:30 pm

    As we outline in Immersive Experiences, one of our 10 Trends for 2014 and Beyond, entertainment and narratives are becoming more enveloping in a bid to capture consumers’ imagination and attention. An immersive project from JWT Israel, a winner of the Cannes Chimera challenge, aims to help people experience what it’s like to live in extreme poverty. Once it’s created, the cube will create a multisensory experience that uses tools like augmented reality to simulate sights, sounds and smells and elicit certain feelings. Participants can exit only when the person in line behind them inserts $1.25, a metaphor for the collaborative efforts needed to fight poverty. The aim is for the cube to travel to international events like the Davos conference in order to influence global leaders. —Hallie Steiner

    Image credit: JWT Israel

  • Google’s Android Auto
    June 26, 2014 | 3:00 pm

     

    Android

    The connected car is rapidly becoming a reality. Fast 4G LTE connections are turning vehicles into hot spots that come with a data plan, while Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are making their way onto dashboards. This week Google introduced Android Auto, with the first compatible cars expected by year-end. Apple’s similar CarPlay, which turns the car into a platform for an iPhone’s content, was announced in March and is included in new Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo models.

    Car-based app ecosystems will provide relevant info (traffic, maps, vehicle diagnostics, restaurant suggestions) and entertainment, combined with safety precautions like voice control. As we outline in our mobile trends report, connected cars—complete with Internet hot spots, a suite of apps and sensors that communicate—will eventually link up with drivers’ homes, mobile devices and other gadgets to form a seamless system. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Android

  • American Eagle Outfitters’ recycling boxes
    June 19, 2014 | 3:45 pm

    American Eagle

    In a bid to create a more closed-loop production cycle, retailers including Puma and H&M are partnering with I:CO, a Swiss reuse and recycling firm that sets up collection points in stores for used clothing and shoes. The latest retailer to link up with I:CO is American Eagle Outfitters, which has added collection boxes in all its North American stores. Customers who participate in the “Live Your Life. Save Your Planet” initiative get a $5 credit toward AEO jeans. Any proceeds gleaned from the program will be donated to the Student Conservation Association.

    “The vision is for all products to be designed with future uses in mind, so materials can be 100% reused in a truly endless cycle,” explains a post from I:CO on American Eagle’s blog. An array of brands are taking steps toward a similar vision, as detailed in our upcoming report on the circular economy. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: American Eagle Outfitters

  • Marriott’s #LoveTravels
    June 11, 2014 | 1:45 pm

    Americans are now largely open to seeing LGBT characters or couples in ads, as recent JWT research confirmed, and thus “advertising is coming out of the closet, with visible and innovative LGBT Pride campaigns from a diverse range of brands,” writes GLAAD’s Rich Ferraro in Brandchannel. One of the more notable campaigns this Pride month is Marriott’s #LoveTravels, featuring portraits of people including gay NBA player Jason Collins, transgender model Geena Rocera and two dads with their kids. The campaign includes print and display ads and building wraps at five Washington, DC, hotels; a microsite details the individual stories.

    “This is one of the most diverse and inclusive campaigns to have ever run in mainstream advertising,” writes Ferraro. Meanwhile, rival Hilton has revamped its LGBT-focused site and is hosting a wedding reception at the Beverly Hilton for the co-plaintiffs in California’s Proposition 8 gay-marriage court case. —Marian Berelowitz

  • Vogue’s shoppable Instagram
    June 4, 2014 | 2:36 pm

    As we outline in Everything Is Retail, one of our 10 Trends for 2013 and Beyond, shopping is shifting from an activity that takes place in physical stores or online to a value exchange that can play out in multiple new and novel ways. Instagram, a platform ripe with potential, is among those new ways. Vogue’s Instagram feed is now shoppable for consumers who have signed up with rewardStyle’s Like to Know service; liking certain images triggers an email with instructions on how to buy featured items.

    RewardStyle tells DigiDay that more magazines will be signing up shortly. Other firms helping brands monetize Instagram include Soldsie and Hashbag. —Marian Berelowitz

  • Ethically sourced electronics
    May 29, 2014 | 10:45 am

    Last year’s launch of Fairphone, an ethically sourced and produced mobile phone, put a spotlight on the raw materials in our digital devices. Currently taking orders for a second batch of 35,000 phones, the Dutch company ensures that minerals come from conflict-free areas so they’re not helping to fund armed groups. Now a two-minute spot from Intel showcases the company’s commitment to using conflict-free minerals in its microprocessors. Intel’s website delves into the issue, and CEO Brian Krzanich also spoke on the topic at this year’s CES.

    Alongside sourcing sits labor issues, another ethical consideration that Fairphone addresses. Expect more tech companies to start improving their track record when it comes to how their products are made. —Will Palley

  • ‘Look Up’ and the ‘Heads-Up Movement’
    May 20, 2014 | 3:45 pm

    As noted in our new mobile trends report, people are developing a love-hate relationship with our phones. We’ll see a “heads-up movement”—something we forecast in our 100 Things to Watch for 2014—as people try to become better attuned to their real-life environment. The video “Look Up” from Gary Turk, a British writer-director, dovetails perfectly with this idea, with lines like “Look up from your phone, shut down the display, take in your surroundings and make the most of your day.”

    After its release in late April, “Look Up” quickly went viral; it’s now accumulated some 38 million views, approaching the numbers racked up by last year’s similarly themed “I Forgot My Phone,” and inspired a few parodies. —Marian Berelowitz

  • RIFT’s immersive ‘Macbeth’
    May 15, 2014 | 1:00 pm

    As we explain in Immersive Experiences, one of our 10 Trends for 2014, entertainment, narratives and brand experiences will are becoming more immersive and enveloping in a bid to capture consumers’ imagination and attention. An upcoming production of Macbeth, created by British theater company RIFT, puts the audience in the middle of the drama via an unusual overnight performance that runs from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

    Located on the top floor of an east London tower block, the show assigns audience members to rooms, where they settle down to sleep following the first several scenes. Overnight, characters visit the rooms to enact events from the play, with the final act taking place at dawn. Coincidentally, one of the best-known immersive theater pieces, Sleep No More, also takes inspiration from Macbeth. —Will Palley

    Image credit: RIFT

  • RSSArchive for Things to Watch »