Ori Daniel is the Global Head of Waze Ads Starter, Waze Ads self-service solution for small businesses. Waze Ads Starter aims to make advertising on Waze easy and affordable for business owners, enabling them to drive awareness and store visits in their local area.
Prior to Waze, Ori focused on financially enabling small businesses through AI-driven risk assessment for loans, and consulted companies on increasing profitability and efficiency through data and analysis.
What would you say are the main factors that have contributed to the company’s success?
Having reached 140 million monthly active users, Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. We work alongside our partners and communities to beat traffic and improve driving conditions for all. We attribute our success to our active community of 50,000 volunteer Map Editors, Localizers, and Beta Testers who freely give their time each month to help build and improve our product using their local insights. Our user community also enables us to provide people on the road with the most relevant, up-to-date information possible by submitting 60 million incident reports each month.
What are the unique challenges faced by small businesses now in managing advertising budgets?
With in-store shopping declining as a result of the pandemic, many small businesses are struggling to connect with existing customers and attract new ones, while making the most of their advertising investments. But with the COVID-19 vaccine rolling out in many countries now, small businesses have the opportunity to kickstart their operations and capitalize on the anticipated influx of customers.
What are the new advertising solutions introduced by Waze to help Small Businesses thrive?
We’ve introduced a number of solutions to help small businesses thrive. Most recently we rolled out updates to Waze Ads Starter, making it simpler for small business advertisers to create and manage Waze ad campaigns with Ad Manager, a streamlined campaign management dashboard. Now, in minutes, small businesses can begin advertising, see how campaigns are performing at a glance, and easily make changes — as well as gain access to new ad formats and other capabilities.
We also introduced Location Personality badges, which enable businesses to show if they offer a contact-free drive-thru or curbside pickup. This has helped businesses large and small continue to operate while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
And last year, we launched a campaign designed to drive footfall to small businesses by making sure their location listings on Waze areas visible and accurate as possible, including opening hours, contact information, and service information. Over the space of just a couple of weeks, our volunteer Map Editors updated listings for around 500 businesses on Waze, helping attract customers during the critical holiday period.
What is the most challenging part of launching a new product or service during a global pandemic?
Taking a global point of view, we always want to make sure we build the most relevant and helpful product features to as many advertisers as possible. To help our advertisers maximize their success, we frequently talk to them and take their feedback, so we know we are building the right things. Taking this approach during COVID-19 proved to be more challenging as every business reacted very differently to the pandemic. At the end of the day, the most important thing to us is to make sure our advertisers, whom we think of as our partners, come out of these challenging times in the best shape possible.
The history of GPS navigation is interesting, how has GPS technology evolved over time?
GPS technology has evolved at a tremendous rate, and today is relied upon more than ever to get drivers where they need to be. At Waze, we’ve really focused on building our global Community to provide drivers with the most relevant and accurate real-time information to help them get where they need to be in the most efficient way.
We’ve also focused on layering innovation for advertisers on top of GPS technology, and providing ways for brands to target in-car customers’ undivided attention, moving people to brick-and-mortar locations.
On a final note, what is your key advice to small business owners on innovation?
Keep testing your assumptions — fail fast and learn often. You can’t afford to be stagnant; your industry and competitors are constantly shifting and improving their positioning in the market. Try new strategies, develop new incentives, and adopt new technologies, but make sure you test everything first, prove that you see the value, and only then commit.