Google and Beacon Technology
One of the most exciting revolutions in digital marketing has been the evolution of Proximity Marketing. Also known as ‘beacons,” this technology allows business owners to market directly to their audience, an audience that is only a few feet away and ready to make a purchase. Google is adjusting its platform so that business owners can get their message to potential customers when they are close to the store. How does it work? A potential customer walks past a storefront, and a beacon signal hits his or her phone. The phone’s owner reads an on-screen prompt which then directs the phone owner that brand’s website URL or perhaps an app. The beacon message provides a promotional offer so that the phone’s owner can enjoy significant savings in the store.
Huge Shift in the Marketplace
Google is about to transform the marketplace and take proximity marketing to an entirely new level. Beacons have a great ability to offer contextually relevant ad messages for individuals. The main hurdle is that in order to deliver these messages you have to go through an app. And many folks still don’t have these apps installed on their mobile devices. That means beacon deployment still only reaches a limited audience.
Google is attempting to nullify this problem with their Nearby Notifications feature. The primary benefit is that it allows developers to link any website URL or mobile app to a beacon. This offers countless opportunities for business owners to promote their sites and apps.
For example, let’s say you’re an airline or retailer with a location in an airport terminal. By placing a beacon in a public space like an airport, every time a mobile user walks by, their phone will ping with a Nearby Notification featuring a contextualized message advertising a loyalty program, duty-free promotion, or other brand messaging. Another application is that an individual can wear a transmitting device that broadcasts a 40 character message. The 40 character message again promotes an offer directing the mobile phone user to a website.
According to the Internet Marketing Association (IMA) “one big implication is that is no more searching the Google App Store for specific beacon-compatible apps. In all, this feature allows brands to offer three different messaging experiences to the prospect. These are:
- advertise a website URL
- trigger an app intent
- trigger an app install
So, with this feature a brand can not only send the message mentioned above directing the prospect to their website, but they can also trigger apps.” To look for these beacons before, the triggered app had to get Bluetooth Admin Permissions. Google changed the rules with Nearby Notifications, so now all installed apps circumvent this and seek out any beacon in the area, so long as Location Permissions are enabled. Plus, they’ve made this feature retroactive and compatible with previous Android versions.
Other Solutions in Google’s Platform
Google addressed other hurdles in their quest to free up apps to receive beacons. Up until now, it has been the norm that for a specific app on a mobile device to receive a beacon, it had to be open and running in the background or foreground. That was the only way an app could search for a beacon transmission broadcast. Google remedied this by allowing any app with the Nearby Notifications feature to enable the user’s mobile device to scan for beacons—even if that app has been killed. It does this via Android’s pending intent feature. The result is efficient background scanning that doesn’t drain a mobile’s battery life.
Finally, Google is going all in on beacons by making their deployment networks more accessible. Not only will it be easier for your business to “lease” a beacon deployment location, but you can monetize it by connecting it to even more apps. The math is simple: with more brands leasing more locations and connecting more apps, it will be easier for mobile users to receive these beacons.
Imagine the Impact
Imagine a future in which consumers are receiving location-specific, relevant push notifications that facilitate the customer experience while easing pain points on the purchase cycle. Apple certainly didn’t think this big with their strategy. One company that has embraced beacon technology is Genusity. Genusity offers six transmitting devices where 40 character marketing messages are broadcast. Depending on the device, the broadcast ranges from 150 up to1,500 feet from the transmitting device. Visualize the impact this will have for businesses as well as consumers. Beacon messages searching for Android cell phones in a range of 150 up to 1,500 feet. Over 81% of new smartphones run Android, and this operating system still leads the global market where it concerns overall users.
For more information on Genusity Beacon devices please visit