Can Beacon Notifications Bring Personalization to Push Messages?

Need the scoop on beacon-based push messages? We wrote a 35-page white paper on it. Here’s our most important findings. Or get the complete paper here.

Proximity-based marketing has taken over retail, but that’s not the only vertical. Museums, events, transit, and everything in between can benefit from better, more personalized messaging.

In fact, Google’s VP of marketing, Lisa Gevelber, recently shared statistics on how consumers are changing. The numbers reflect a troublesome fact businesses must face: customer expectations are changing.

“70% of smartphone owners who bought something in a store first turned to their devices for information relevant to that purchase. And when people search on mobile, it tends to lead to action: 92% of those who searched on their phone made a related purchase.”

Customer expectations are changing

There are countless ways the smartphone is transforming how we shop. It can aid and it can distract. Most importantly, it can be used against businesses. Customers want better interactivity and options when shopping. They also have more options than ever. The result is a customer with high expectations and the ability to take their business elsewhere. However, this shouldn’t be seen as a negative development. Rather, it’s a great opportunity for business owners everywhere.

The same technology empowering customers to raise their expectations also gives managers the chance to raise their own, internal bar. Smartphones bring one missing piece of the marketing puzzle to the forefront: proximity data. You may know who your customer is, what they like, and what they’ve bought, but can you appeal to them at the moment of truth?

For example: as of now, you may know that Andrew is 35, has bought before, and would love your upcoming seasonal line. In fact, he’s already saved one of the new products online. In the past, you could send him an email or hope that he happens to find your upcoming products in-store. Beyond these kinds of interactions, there weren’t many options. Proximity data, however, can let you know when Andrew is actually in proximity to the products he’s likely to love.

The big question: who needs push messages and how can you send them?

There are several ways to get messages to your users’ phones. WiFi, QR, Bluetooth, and others can all do the job in general. But each one will have different results. This diversity is great, as there is an equally diverse breadth of use cases and verticals for push notifications.

Are you a retailer who needs to instantly pop up on the phones of their customers? Are you a bus operator who needs to keep their users up-to-date and always on the right path? For many of these use cases, managers will need to actively push messages to users’ devices (as opposed to waiting for a user to scan a code). This brings us to the first key takeaways from our Proximity Notifications study.

Takeaway #1: Beacon notifications have been found to be much cheaper than comparable WiFi-based systems.

Proximity has always played an important role for businesses as exemplified by the explosion of out-of-home advertising in recent years. There are several options available for proximity campaigns.

Technologies like QR, NFC, and Wi-Fi have all contributed to proximity advertising; however, they all lack the interactivity and direct connectivity of beacon notifications and push messages. Unlike most other solutions, Bluetooth benefits from a huge existing ecosystem.

Takeaway #2: Beacon notifications can have better reach

Beacon solutions have two key capabilities: data integration and direct communication. Instead of waiting for a customer to scan a code and interact with a message, beacons push messages directly to mobile phone users through the pre-existing Bluetooth ecosystem. These messages can be enhanced using relevant data about the user.

Shopping histories, preferences, or demographics can all help a company make better, more meaningful messages for their customers. While an ordinary QR code can only lead to a single message, beacons can connect users to the message most pertinent to them.
These capabilities have obvious usages in retail, but they can also be creatively used to send a number of push messages.

reach more customers with proximity notifications 

Takeaway #3: Push notifications have a HUGE number of use cases across verticals.

bluetooth push notifications

How do beacon notifications and push messages work?

A beacon is a small piece of technology that sends out almost continuous radio waves that can be picked up by the phones of passers-by. These waves manifest themselves either as push messages in a downloaded app or a URL through the Physical Web. This means a message can include much more than just text.

It can have links, images, promotions–just about anything the designer would like to include. The result is a message tailored and personalized to the individual reader. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with useless messages (and disillusioned about a company’s ability to communicate), a customer feels that the business is offering them a real value.

Takeaway #4: Smart campaigns can provide clear data on returns.

Once you have your campaign in place, the success of beacon push notifications campaigns can be easily measured. All the data generated by customers and their app usage creates a clear image of how the app is used and whether it is valuable.

For example, Proxama and Mapway outfitted dozens of buses in London with beacon technology. These travelers spent an average of 17 minutes on any given bus, and beacon notifications and push messages helped brands engage more efficiently with their target audience. They found their beacon-triggered real-time travel update notifications received a 44% click-through rate. That means they didn’t have to guess whether their campaign was successful–they know it was.

And they’re not the only ones. Retailers, hotels, airports, sports stadiums, museums, and everyone in between are finding practical usages for beacon notifications.

Takeaway #5: There’s a LOT to learn about beacon push notifications and proximity messaging

We couldn’t fit all the findings from our 35-page white paper in one blog post, so be sure to download the whole paper here for free and get all the details. Learn more about the proximity-based messaging methods, cost, use cases, and 7 steps to getting started with beacon notifications.