Google's Waze makes cuts to APAC ad sales team, focuses marketing in 'high-value countries'

Google's Waze is letting go about 30 of its employees globally and scaling back operations in Asia Pacific and Latin America, as fewer users hit the roads. In a letter to employees, Waze CEO Noam Bardin said the pandemic has led to "a significant drop in kilometres driven, carpools and ad revenue". He added that the cuts involve its ad sales, marketing, performance marketing and partnership teams, in a bid to accelerate its investment in engineering and other technical positions.

In particular, the on-ground sales offices in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as Colombia, Argentina and Chile, will be closed down. According to Bardin, these markets will continue to be serviced via “increased investments” in its self-service advertising platform, Waze Local Starter. They will also be supported by the small medium business teams in its main sales hubs. "The ads team will pare back and focus on the key markets that drive 93% of revenue and carry 95% of the kilometres driven we sell in," Bardin said.

Meanwhile, it is reducing the size of its marketing team due to focus on fewer markets and adjustments in its partnership investments, as well as restructuring the performance marketing team. The latter’s restructure is in line with Waze’s efforts to double down on investments in product to support its growth efforts, Bardin added.

"Uncertainty of back-to-work plans from our employer partners and with employees continuing to work from home means that we will be shrinking the Carpool Partnerships team. Our narrowed product focus also means we’ll reduce our product partnerships and private and public sector teams," he said. Waze declined to comment further on Marketing's queries. According to The Verge, Waze has 555 employees worldwide. 

The latest move by Waze comes as it has decided to focus its resources on product improvements for users, accelerate its investments in technical infrastructure, and refocus its sales and marketing efforts on a small number of high-value countries, Bardin explained. According to him, these investments ensure the long-term success of Waze and that it exits this pandemic stronger than it entered it.

Bardin also clarified that the reductions are being made due the constraints created by the pandemic and to support investments in its focus areas, and not because of individual actions or performance. A severance package will be offered to those affected, which includes career transition within Google, outplacement services, financial aid and healthcare.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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