Take SXSW 2015, where, as reported by Mashable, more than 1,000 beacons were installed to connect users (and their devices) to the latest conversations and info about events. Attendees simply downloaded the SXSW Go app and could instantly network with others around them.
These beacons, supporters say, are enabling ways of connecting people—and brands—in ways that weren’t previously possible.
The concept is fairly simple: Small beacons, ranging from quarter-sized to palm-sized, are loaded with Bluetooth technology that can connect with smart devices. When a user’s smartphone comes into range of the beacon, it triggers proximity-based features, usually via an app.
Retailers are keen on using beacons to create a more engaging in-store experience with location-specific coupons, maps, or product suggestions that present themselves the moment a customer enters a store. For conferences and events, beacons create “smart networking,” allowing users to see who’s who around their immediate area. At sporting events, users can access detailed information about the facility or even play related videos.
But the utility doesn’t end there. Medea vodka created a bottle that lights up with customizable LED messages when a user is nearby, AdWeek reports. Moreover, the band is able to sense when a bottle is nearly empty—and prompt folks to stock up at a nearby store.
Brands are jumping on beacons for one very good reason: they work. Research shows smartphone users who receive a beacon message are 19 times more likely to engage with an advertised product, according to inMarket. People who receive a beacon message are 16.5 times more likely to use an in-store app, and they’re also more likely to keep that app on their phone once they leave.
For content marketers, the rise of beacons represents an opportunity, but it also serves as a warning. Beacons offer the potential to deliver great content to a consumer at the right place and right time in order to push a consumer into the funnel. But brands who have not yet embraced a mobile marketing strategy could quickly find themselves falling behind. Study after study shows smartphone usage continues to tick upward, and brands that cannot shift resources to make content great on mobile will ultimately pay the price.
Enjoy this story? Become a Content Standard Insider to receive new stories, tips, and tricks directly to your inbox.