Re-targeting Customers Using Bluetooth Beacons

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Bluetooth beacons have been around for long now and marketers across various verticals are often associate this BLE based technology as one that it used to trigger in-store coupons or notifications. However, things are fast changing; Nowadays, re-targeting is quickly emerging as one of the most compelling use cases of Bluetooth beacons. Not surprising, given the huge demand among customers for instant gratification and delivery of personalized content.

Re-targeting vs Beacon-Based Re-targeting: What’s the Difference?

What is it? – This typically is more about pushing an ad to a laptop or PC after a consumer visits a page and expresses interest in any merchandise that is available there. It is important to note, that the interest expressed by a user in this case is often tracked by mapping movement of the cursor over a particular item or abandonment of virtual shopping cart by them after having added certain products to it.
Nature of data provided – The data provided by re-targeting technique is less granular and deterministic when compared to the proximity data provided by beacons.
Basic prerequisites – One of the prior requirements here include placing a small, unobtrusive piece of code on your website. Every time a new visitor comes to your site, the code will drop an anonymous browser cookie. This way, when the same visitors visit your website at a later stage, these cookies will keep your re-targeting provider informed on when to serve ads. This also helps you ensure that your ads are served, to only to users who have previously visited your website.
Beacon-Based Re-targeting:
What is it? – This primarily revolves around the use of Bluetooth-powered beacons to send out push notifications via brand specific apps to mobile devices of users who have agreed to receive certain brands’ communications.To give you a better idea, here is a typical example – say, a user visits a physical store and walks into the Women’s Department. When he/she opens the brand’s mobile app on his/her device, the beacon nearby will trigger contextually relevant push notifications on his/her mobile device. In the case of Eddystone beacons, these notifications could direct them to a contextually relevant web page, where an online re-targeting tool has been inserted. While beacons help brands gain deep insights on consumer interests and buying intentions, the online re-targeting tool helps them target users with customized ads online.
Nature of data provided – Beacons help brands gain insights on consumer behavior in the real world with the same granularity and precision that was previously possible using online data. In fact, it is this granularity and deterministic nature of the proximity data that makes it easy for businesses to gain an in-depth understanding of the what users have been doing inside stores, in specific departments and the kind of products they have interacted with. Particularly because no other company including Google and Facebook are capable of providing data with this kind of granularity today.
Basic prerequisites – Following are some of the basic requirements that a user needs to fulfill, in order to receive beacon notifications as a part of the retargeting campaign:(i) Bluetooth Enabled(ii) Location Enabled(iii) Connection to the internet(iv) Install a mobile app that is compatible with the beacons. For example, if you plan to install iBeacon compatible beacons, then the user needs to have the corresponding beacon-enabled app on his/her device (both Android and iOS) to receive notifications.

Why Beacon-Based Re-targeting is of utmost importance Nowadays

1. Beacons provide businesses insights based on 70% of users’ awake time activities against the 30% used generally for online ads – For starters, ads displayed to customers in today’s age are predominantly based on their online behavior, which accounts for about 30% of their awake time. Thus, brands these days are missing out on the remaining 70% of awake time, which primarily revolves around how users spend their time in the real world. Proximity data provided by beacons help brands cover up for that remaining 70%.

2. Mobile internet accounts for 70% of global media consumption – Over the span of 2016, mobile internet has been reported to have grown at a very fast pace at the expense of all other media. According to a forecast by Zenith’s Media Consumption, mobile internet accounted for 70% of global media consumption, while the use of a desktop for internet has fallen by close to 16%. The report also stated that on an average, people around the world were estimated to spend 86 minutes a day using the internet on their phones, compared to 36 minutes on a desktop in 2016.

Thus, while re-targeting in general was aimed at delivering ads to users based on the kind of websites they visited on their desktop, the recent change in trends that saw mobile overtake desktop as the preferred device for internet consumption has left businesses on the lookout for a much advanced re-targeting technology that can put the ‘location’ factor into use as well. This is where beacons come into the picture.

3. Number of proximity companies starting out has been on the rise since 2015 – While the main boost happened after the release of the iBeacon in 2013, 66 new Proximity Solution Providers (PSPs) were founded in 2016 up until Q3, according to Proximity Directory Report Q3 2016. Adding on to that, experts predict that we will continue to see a number of new players come into the industry with innovative products in 2017 as well.

In fact, this steady growth in the number of proximity companies has made beacon-based re-targeting a powerful and more viable approach to push online advertising forward. Particularly because of the sheer volume of data that beacons can provide businesses with these days. Moreover, a lot more marketers have begun to understand the true value of location data today.

4. Beacons provide more accurate and reliable location data compared to GPS and other location tech – To give you a better idea about the kind of granularity possible with beacons, let’s take a look at this – Using GPS a business can easily track if a user is in New York or Manhattan or SoHo. But beacons can help businesses learn if that user is actually in a store, if so in which department and for how long.


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