Everything You Wanted To Know About Beacons, But Were Too Afraid To Ask

Everything You Wanted To Know About Beacons, But Were Too Afraid To Ask
SHARE
THIS



The concept of ‘beacon technology’ has been tossed about lately and many agencies and brands are probably wondering what the big deal is. So what is the big deal?

“Beacons come in all sorts of shapes and sizes,” Ed Welsh, channels and distribution manager at technology company Inlight told the crowd at a Miami Ad School seminar Breaking Down the World of Beacons.

Essentially, a beacon is a device that uses a more sophisticated version of bluetooth, called bluetooth low energy (BLE). Welsh said: “The beacon constantly emits a bluetooth signal and we program how far that signal will be sent. A five-metre radius for example.”

Historically, many marketing approaches have been considered rather broad but with beacon technology we can send the right message, to the right person at the right time. “It’s that one-to-one marketing we’ve never been able to do before,” said Welsh.

For beacons to do their thing, users generally need a brand’s application installed on their mobile device which allows for push notifications. “When the phone comes within range of that signal emitted by a beacon, the app can trigger a push notification, an event, or a call to action,” said Welsh.

Although Samsung has just released ‘Proximity’ – a mobile marketing platform which will allow for push notifications from a brand without needing the brand app installed on your phone. At the moment, as long as the device has bluetooth switched on and the app has push notifications and background location enabled, you can still receive notifications, even if the app is closed.

For a beacon to operate, there are three requirements:

  • A beacon needs to a physical location in which to be stuck.
  • Need a native smart phone app, so an app that is coded specifically for a phone’s operating system. (Most likely iOS or Android)
  • Bluetooth capabilities on the mobile device need to be switch on.

Welsh explained that there isn’t a lot of literature in Australia to suggest Australians constantly have bluetooth switched on. “However, with more and more people using bluetooth in their cars – what we’ll most likely start to see is bluetooth, rather than being on at a privacy level, it will be at an app level” which means you can scroll through individual app settings and turn bluetooth on or off for each brand app.

“It’s been proven that sending push notifications through an app, means the user is then re-engaging with that app. We’re told we have 20 apps on our phone, and we only use six of them. Through BLE we can re-engage with them rather then having them sit there dormant on your phone.”

Beacons work across three ranges: immediate, near and far.

Far is when a person walks past a store and gets a push notification that might offer them a discount to get them into the store. Upon entering the store, they enter the near field, where they might get a push notification telling them a retail assistant will be with them shortly – offering a very personalised experience. The immediate field is comparable to an NFC experience – so that tap – it might be some sort of redemption –  by tapping a phone to the beacon a user can redeem a coupon or discount,” Welsh explained.

Beacons also have the ability to recognise when someone is entering or exiting or entering a store. “For example, as you leave the store, you might get a push notification that offers a discount next time you shop in store.”

The cost of a beacon ranges from $25-$35 and Welsh warns brands and agencies to consider the battery life of individual beacons. He recommends brands use a beacon with a battery life of three years. Some beacons have been known to run out of juice after just three months.

The biggest players on board with beacon technology is of course Apple and Google with its iOS and Android operating systems. “This is filling us with confidence that this isn’t a technology that will just come and go, Apple is heavily invested in it,” said Welsh. Beacons and iBeacons are the same technology, but iBeacons contain Apple specifications.

Inlight have been exploring a pilot using beacons for a local pay TV provider. “I have the TV guide app on my phone, I’m walking to catch my bus in the morning, I get near the bus shelter and I get a push notification for example; Hey Ed, Walking Dead is coming out tonight at7pm, if you’re not going to be home, would you like to record it? It’s a great example of how it doesn’t need to be deals, rewards or coupons – it’s that value-add of the service that beacons can provide.” They are able to capture data like how many people walked past the advertisement, how many people opened the push notification and how many people recorded the show.

Although the issue of privacy is one that needs addressing. “It’s a conversation we constantly have with brands who ask; How do we get users to opt-in? ” Welsh said it’s about educating the user about the value-ad that comes from allowing push notifications to be turned on. He recommends brands don’t immediately send users push notifications when they first engage with a brand app, instead he suggests letting the user familiarise themselves with the app first.

“In a supermarket setting, it’s expected beacons will become sought after real estate where companies can rent out the beacon to specific brands.”

Australia has not yet got the data to support this claim, but a US supermarket chain found some interesting stats from packaged meat manufacturer, Hillshire brands and its loyalty app:

  • 19 x increase in product interaction
  • 2 x increase in purchase intent
  • 16.5 x higher app engagement
  • 6.4 x more likely to keep app on their phone.

Uses of beacon technology for brands:

  • Various airlines are using beacon technology to offer flight information to customers as they enter the airport – For airlines, beacon technology is hoping to reduce flight delays which “cost airlines millions of dollars each year” while also trying to increase the one-to-one service offering.
  • Events and tourism; if someone approaches a gate at a festival – it might automatically bring up the ticket sitting inside the festival app. “So companies like Ticketmaster and Ticketek as well as festival sponsors might consider using some of their marketing spend on beacons.
  • Augmented spaces, like art galleries; “Down at the MONA in Tasmania, when people enter a room, artworks will have accompanying push notifications allowing you to further explore the piece of art or the artists background rather than just the same plaque that everyone reads.”
  • Market Research: A passenger might have just flown with Virgin Australia when they receive a push notification asking the passenger what they thought about the experience. “Never before have we been able to collect that data at the right time.” Additionally, beer companies might offer a free beer in return for feedback about a specific beverage.

Latest News

Starts At 60 Makes Two Executive Appointments
  • Media

Starts At 60 Makes Two Executive Appointments

Mature-age media platform Starts at 60 has welcomed two new leaders to its executive team as it looks to scale up and broaden its commercialisation. Amena Reza (pictured above, right) moves into the role of chief operating officer. She was formerly the managing director of ML Design, and is a chartered accountant and a non-executive […]

HubSpot Creates ‘Marketing Hub Starter’ For Small Businesses
  • Marketing
  • Technology

HubSpot Creates ‘Marketing Hub Starter’ For Small Businesses

Marketing software player HubSpot has launched Marketing Hub Starter, a new software offering that aims to give growing teams the tools they need to start marketing right. This new tier of HubSpot’s platform is designed with small businesses in mind, consolidating the capabilities of existing disparate marketing tools into one platform and offering an affordable […]

Market Research Industry Cracks Down On Shonky Behaviour With New Digital Platform
  • Marketing

Market Research Industry Cracks Down On Shonky Behaviour With New Digital Platform

The Association of Market and Social Research Organisations (AMSRO) has launched a digital platform to highlight fake or illegitimate research activities to the public. ‘Phish of the Day’ enables AMSRO members, as well as the general public, to report any scams or non-genuine market and social research activities to the association. These might include telemarketing […]

Pooled Energy Appoints Magnum & Co And The Wired Agency
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Pooled Energy Appoints Magnum & Co And The Wired Agency

Swimming pool electricity retailer Pooled Energy has appointed Magnum & Co and sister agency The Wired Agency to its roster, following a competitive pitch. Magnum & Co will handle Pooled Energy’s social media and PR, while The Wired Agency has been appointed to manage the company’s search and display advertising. Both agencies will collaborate with […]

Masculinity Roasted In Clever New Ad
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Masculinity Roasted In Clever New Ad

Think masculinity means drinking a case without chundering? Well, rediscover it (& possibly yourself) with this top ad.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
WPP AUNZ Partners With Career Trackers Indigenous Internship Program
  • Advertising

WPP AUNZ Partners With Career Trackers Indigenous Internship Program

Advertising and marketing network WPP AUNZ has joined the Career Trackers Indigenous Internship Program as part of its commitment to a diverse workforce, and the creation of opportunities that inspire excellence. As part of the program, WPP AUNZ has welcomed its first three interns: Abi-Leigh Dillon (WPP AUNZ), Amy Mccutcheon (MediaCom) and Jacinta Evans (Ogilvy), […]

Taboo Goes On A Hiring Spree
  • Advertising

Taboo Goes On A Hiring Spree

Taboo has gone a hiring spree. And when it comes to sprees, that's far better than a shooting one or a farting one.

M&C Saatchi Group’s 1440 Shuts Up Shop
  • Marketing

M&C Saatchi Group’s 1440 Shuts Up Shop

Sadly, M&C Saatchi's 1440 is no more. And chances of it being reborn as 1550 not looking much chop either.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Luke Kelly Becomes A Partner At HBT
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Luke Kelly Becomes A Partner At HBT

B&T's not sure what's with that twirly thing in the press photo, suffice to say a vortex to an alternate dimension?

Women In Media Profile: Alison Michalk
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Alison Michalk

If B&T's Women in Media profiles were an animal they would be a gazelle or lioness, or even a lioness eating a gazelle.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Grant Broadcasters Makes Several Changes To Senior Executive Team
  • Media

Grant Broadcasters Makes Several Changes To Senior Executive Team

Independent media company Grant Broadcasters has announced a number of changes to its executive ranks. Grant Cameron will move up to become non-executive chairman for the company, and Alison Cameron (pictured above) – currently the chief operating officer – will assume the CEO role. Dugald Cameron remains responsible for the family’s investment portfolio and is […]

Shopper Media Group Partners With Mist To Offer New Tech & AI-Driven Capabilities
  • Advertising
  • Media

Shopper Media Group Partners With Mist To Offer New Tech & AI-Driven Capabilities

Australian retail out-of-home (OOH) business Shopper Media Group (SMG) has announced a partnership with AI-powered wireless networks provider Mist. The partnership will see SMG offer new WiFi, analytics and location-based services across the company’s portfolio of Australian shopping centres. Mist currently provides WiFi and location services using virtual Bluetooth LE technology to businesses across all […]

Indy Agency This Is Flow Wins Cruiseco’s $5 Million Media Account
  • Advertising
  • Media

Indy Agency This Is Flow Wins Cruiseco’s $5 Million Media Account

Travel organisation Cruiseco has announced the appointment of Sydney independent agency This is Flow (TIF) to handle its $5 million media account. This is the first time Cruiseco has appointed an agency, having managed its communications internally. Cruiseco is the largest and broadest distributor of cruise products in the Southern Hemisphere. With a membership base […]

Women In Media Profile: Naomi Shepherd
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Naomi Shepherd

Need a Monday morning pick-me-up? You could stand naked next to the office fridge or read these inspiring words.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
APN Outdoor Takes Off With Queenstown Airport Contract
  • Advertising
  • Media

APN Outdoor Takes Off With Queenstown Airport Contract

Out-of-home media business APN Outdoor has won the tender for New Zealand’s Queenstown Airport. As part of the new agreement, APN Outdoor has flagged extensive development plans for Queenstown Airport’s advertising assets. The new contract adds Queenstown Airport to APN Outdoor’s existing portfolio of Auckland and Christchurch Airports. The media company will hire a South […]