Beacons and Proximity Marketing: all you need to know

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– Beacon devices: an overview
– Proximity marketing: the use of Beacon technology to provide a location based experience
– BeaconsInSpace: a monetization opportunity for Netmera app partners

The future of mobile marketing relies on personalised campaigns. The more you get to know your users and target them according to specific parameters, like their demographics, in app behaviour and location, the quicker your app user base will grow alongside engagement and retention.

Location based campaigns are especially relevant for retailers, because these campaigns deliver informative messages at the right time, such as when users are close to the store, and drive footfall.

Among the strategies mobile marketers can use to target users is proximity marketing based on the use of Beacon devices. This is now becoming more and more popular. Beacons are proving crucial to help retailers drive foot traffic to their stores, increase conversion rates and sales volume. But what exactly are Beacons and how do they work?

Beacon devices: an overview

Beacons are small devices that send Bluetooth Low Energy signals (BLE)  to smartphones and tablets nearby. Once emitted, these one way radio waves reach the phones in the vicinity of the Beacon device and interact with the mobile applications installed on those phones. That means that when the signal from a Beacon reaches a phone, it triggers specific actions, like location-based notifications, in that phone’s mobile apps. Beacons don’t send notifications themselves. What they really do is send a piece of geographic information, a unique identifier, to the mobile applications within their range (about 50 metres).

The unique identifier, which is different for every beacon, contains three types of data: information about the beacon vendor; information about a certain location, such as a store location; information about a specific subregion within a store, such as a store department. To be able to receive the signal from a beacon, a mobile app needs to be previously enabled to communicate with it. That means the unique identifier of a specific beacon has to be included in that mobile application code.

Moreover, the interaction between a mobile phone and a beacon device is not automatic. It requires users to enable the Bluetooth device on their phones and to opt in to receive signals from Beacons for a specific mobile application.

Finally, iOS and Android platforms interact with Beacons in a different way. The reason behind this is that Apple implemented an iBeacon protocol which enables iPhones and iPads (running the latest version of iOS7) to constantly scan for Beacon devices in their proximity. When a beacon is detected, it can automatically ‘talk’ to the mobile applications installed on those Apple devices, even if those apps are closed and not running. Due to the iBeacon protocol, we refer to such Beacons as iBeacons. On the other hand, Android platforms don’t have such a protocol, so Android apps need to be running on the phone, at least in the background, to receive signals from Beacon devices in their proximity.

Beacons can emit BLE signals for up to 5 years and have very little cost (a few dollars each).

Proximity marketing: the use of Beacon technology to provide a location based experience

As highlighted by this article, ‘total BLE Beacon shipments will comfortably exceed 400 million units in 2020’. The reason behind this impressive growth trend is that a wide range of new marketing opportunities are now accessible, and very promising, thanks to Beacons. Retailers are more and more keen to use these devices in their marketing strategies to make sure their customers receive a deeply personalized and time relevant user experience. Proximity marketing, based on the use of Beacon devices, is the future of mobile marketing. Let’s have a look at the main Beacon-based opportunities for retailers.

Location-based campaigns

Beacons can trigger location-based notifications in specific apps on customers phones. These notifications might inform customers, in a personalized way, about special promotions, discounts or new products available within the store where the beacons are placed. Location-based notifications can be used to invite customers to enter a nearby store, or to welcome them when they enter the store, or to greet them when they leave by providing a discount or a special treat to encourage them to come back. All these strategies are very powerful tactics to drive foot traffic to retail stores and increase their conversion rates and sales volume. Also, this use of Beacons can help retailers attract users to their apps, retain those users, and increase engagement on those apps.

Data collection

By interacting with the mobile applications installed on smartphones and tablets within their range, Beacons can help retailers track users behaviours and collect relevant data about users preferences and actions. This data is a powerful source of information for retailers because they can use it to re-target customers with even more personalised campaigns.

Beacons with free access

Retailers could enable developers and app owners to have free access to their beacons in order to increase foot traffic to their store. For example, mobile applications about food and dieting could send location-based notifications to users within the range of a specific beacon and encourage them to enter the store and buy what they need for their food plans.

BeaconsInSpace: a monetization opportunity for Netmera app partners

Imagine how useful could it be for app publishers to use all the location data provided by Beacons to generate an additional revenue stream for their apps without compromising the user experience with in-app ads. Well, this scenario is now reality thanks to BeaconsInSpace, Netmera’s strategic ibeacons infrastructure partner. With over 50k beacons available globally, BeaconsInSpace provides a way to make the best of proximity data by giving the chance to app publishers to sell this data to brands and advertisers, who will be using it to retarget users with future marketing initiatives on different platforms.

There is a wide network of Beacons available and accessible all around the world. It’s worth mentioning that only in Europe there are 5k beacons in the UK, 15k beacons in France and 10k beacons in Germany. Such numbers confirm there is a real opportunity to leverage the data these devices provide to generate an alternative revenue stream for mobile applications.  


Beacons distribution in UK, France and Germany.

Once app users opt in for location services, Beacon detection is passive in the background and drains almost no battery. Thanks to beacons, mobile app publishers can collect a lot of information about users behaviours and preferences that they can leverage to passively monetize their users and generate proximity location analytics.

The SDK can be implemented in mobile applications in less than 10 minutes and allows automatic access to their beacons infrastructure. All the location data provided by their beacons is securely stored in the cloud and can then be sold to brands and advertisers for their ad retargeting campaigns. All proceeds are finally split between Netmera and and your mobile application.

We make it easy for you to gain an additional revenue stream coming from your mobile application, without showing in-app ads or changing the user interface and experience.

Moreover, with our service you will have the chance to easily track your app users behaviours and receive location analytics in an anonymous and aggregated way, with less than 1% battery drain per day and with no cost for the use of their infrastructure.

Netmera partnered with BeaconsInSpace to give their customers the chance to make the best of their mobile applications. The combined use of a massive beacon network and Netmera’s advanced targeting capabilities to drive up engagement and conversion enables app publishers to gain a very deep insight into users behaviours and preferences, collect all relevant data and generate an alternative revenue stream for their applications, without sacrificing the user experience.

Want to learn more about Netmera and BeaconsInSpace? Contact us!

August 24, 2016 / Laura Cerone

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