What is Beacon?

Beacons (Bluetooth Based Interaction Technology) are small wireless transmitters that send signals to other smart devices via low energy bluetooth technology. Beacon is often used in location technology or proximity marketing to send messages to mobile devices within range. Each beacon is a very simple device with a CPU, radio and battery. Since they use low energy, they broadcast uninterrupted signals many times after installation. The complementary part of the beacon is detected by smart devices as a unique beacon and has a unique identification number on smart devices. After that, smart devices connect with beacons and perform beacon functions. Beacons can perform multiple functions depending on their purpose. For example, when you walk in the mall, pass by the target store, the beacon connects to your mobile device and sends an advertisement about the store to your mobile device. This advertisement appears as an SMS on your mobile phone or as a pop-up window in the application you enter while using it.

How Do Beacons Work?

Beacon Technology from Past to Present

June 10, 2013: Apple introduced iBeacon as part of iOS 7 at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC 2013).

December 6, 2013: Apple deployed beacons at all 254 US stores to provide customers with in-store notifications about products, product reviews, and deals.

July 31, 2014: More than 50 of the Top 100 US retailers began testing beacons in their stores.

Early 2015: Some of the biggest and most downloaded apps, including Facebook and Shazam, have started integrating beacons into their functionality.

July 14, 2015: Google launches Eddystone, a platform-independent competitor to Apple’s iBeacon. Eddystone is designed to deliver location-based content to your smartphone. It aims to encourage developers to work with beacon technology as it is compatible across platforms.

Late 2017 – Present: Marketers or local business owners around the world are starting to use beacon technology for their different strategies.

What are the Benefits of Beacon Technology?

Improved Offline Attribution with Google Ads

By linking beacon signals to your Google Ads account, we can get a lot of useful information about the searcher’s offline activity and even track store visits. This means that when you serve your Google search ads, you can assign the number of online users who enter the store.

Traditionally, understanding how online marketing efforts are linked to offline attribution has been elusive for those with a traditional understanding. However, by monitoring the key interaction points of users who click on your digital ads, you can understand how effective your digital ads are in increasing customer numbers and store sales.

A typical example would be:

Step 1: The user types the search term “shoes”.

Step 2: Your Google search ad appears.

Step 3: The user clicks on the search ad, browses the product, and then hangs up.

Step 4: This user decides that he wants to try on the shoes before buying them, and thus enters your store.

Step 5: When they enter the store, their phone receives an identifying signal from your store’s beacon technology.

Step 6: Beacon recognizes that this phone is the same one that clicked on your search ad and links that data to your Google Ads account as a “store visit”.

In this way, warning the customer with a message or notification that you know has been interested in you before will contribute positively to both user action and customer awareness. When you go to the physical store for a shoe that you have previously looked at in the internet store, you will be surprised to see that you get a discount for that particular shoe on your phone.

Positional Out-of-Store Marketing.

Using this location-based technology, you can personalize your out-of-store marketing and help you monetize potential foot traffic.

Sending a discount notification to devices outside the store by using beacons on the strategy of a business located on a street where thousands of people walk will greatly improve the out-of-store marketing of that business.

Advanced Data Collection.

One of the biggest advantages of beacons for businesses is to be able to map customer movements on a store basis. In this way, you can collect more reliable information about how and where your customers move through your store. You can use this data in conjunction with your ecommerce statistics to tailor and improve your product listings and in-store layout. If you notice that most of your customers spend their time browsing the homeware section at the back of your store, perhaps you can expand or highlight this space. Ultimately, this data can help you improve your customer journey, tailor future marketing campaigns, and increase your in-store conversions.

Google My Business Optimization.

Placing a beacon device in your business will help improve integration with Google My Business (GMB). Beacon device itself, you can monitor popular visit times for your company by increasing the accuracy shown in the GMB list. You can collect more reviews for your business through Google’s Local Guides service. The sign will also help you gather more information on check-in and ask users to upload photos of the venue.

Customer Benefits.

We can see that the benefits of beacon technology for the marketer are obvious, but we cannot forget the consumers themselves. Beacon devices help improve the user experience by adding an additional layer of personalized interaction between the customer and the store during the shopping experience. Targeted ads and offers from their favorite brands build trust, belonging and familiarity. With consumers now having so many options in the retail market, both online and offline, building trust in your brand has never been more important. A study this year by PWC found that 35% of consumers have “trust in the brand” among their top three reasons for purchasing retail.

Low Power Usage.

Although beacons can help with so many functions, they are actually small and energy-consuming devices. Clock battery powered beacons only need maintenance once a year after installation.

Beacon Technology and SEO

It is possible to stand out in local searches with beacons.

While beacons offer many benefits to local businesses, the biggest share of this benefit is the prioritization in local search results. With Beacon technology, Google has customized data about your business, and this data puts you at the forefront of local search results.

The right traffic routing strategy.

Organic traffic is the most important consideration for SEO. SEO studies aiming for the right experience for user candidates browsing the web are an indispensable factor for the pedestrian traffic flow targeted by beacon technology. By measuring the right content and user behavior, the best perception of the user will be created by SEO.

Determination of user behavior.

Thanks to beacons, customer experiences can be measured at the highest level within the enterprise. Examining and understanding customer behavior is the biggest factor in seeing the problems they frequently encounter or the situations that interest them. In this way, customer-specific content such as frequently asked questions will be personalized.

Prepared by: Bugra Tan