iBeacon app – dynamic duo for proximity marketing

An iBeacon app is like a dynamic duo when it comes to proximity marketing. Proximity marketing solutions cannot be implemented without an app. The app is useless without beacons.  However, it remains a popular misconception that iBeacons don’t work without an app. Beyond proximity marketing, iBeacons  can actually be used without apps. But more of that later. 

WHAT IS PROXIMITY MARKETING?

What are proximity marketing solutions and how are they implemented with an iBeacon app? Proximity marketing – also Bluetooth marketing – means the provision of content for mobile devices, i.e. smartphones or in rare cases tablets, depending on the location of the user. A user comes into the reach of an iBeacon with his smartphone and receives certain content. The advantage of this marketing method is that the content is adapted to the location of the user. Example: In the shoe department of a department store the user gets extended offers about sneakers. Proximity ensures with sufficient probability that the user is interested in the topic “shoes” at this moment.

iBeacon App Proximity Marketing Screens

In this case one speaks of beacon proximity. Another possibility of proximity marketing is geofencing or zone proximity. This refers to the automated triggering of a function when entering or leaving a defined geographical area. Not even beacons are necessary in the open air. Here the smartphone can access GPS. Within a building or a building complex, however, the use of iBeacons is recommended due to the weak signal penetration. If actions such as push messages are to be triggered when entering, leaving or staying in certain zones, for example in the exit or entrance area of a trade fair, and not at a certain point, we speak of geotargeting. As an example, a festival visitor who has installed the corresponding app on his smartphone enters the festival area and thus within the previously defined radio radius, a push message is triggered on his mobile phone screen. This is independent of the point at which he steps through the imaginary “fence”. Yeah, it’s worth it. A list of 25 successful proximity marketing campaigns realized by the dynamic duo ibeacon app can be found here. ATTENTION: Proximity marketing campaigns are not self-running. We have explained the dangers of push spam in this highly regarded text.

HOW DOES THE CONTENT GET ONTO THE SMARTPHONE?

A still widespread error is that the iBeacon sends the content to the smartphone via bluetooth. In fact the beacon signal “triggers” only a certain predefined action. In our example: “Show the user the additional offer tailored to the topic “shoes”. This also means that this content must already be available somewhere on the user’s smartphone. This is where the app comes in. Because the contents are stored in it and are continuously updated. Their function in the topic field iBeacon app is basically “only” to stay attractive enough to the user so he can be addressed  on his smartphone. Nowadays, marketing employees can set the content themselves at any time via comfortable backends. This, as well as the formerly complicated configuration of the Beacons, is not more complex today than the maintenance of any social media account. In our example, it does not necessarily have to be the department store app – so-called carrier apps with high distribution can also serve as a channel for proximity marketing. In German-speaking countries, for example, the Shazam music recognition app is such a back door. Shazam had 600 million installations worldwide in 2016, 36 million of which in Germany alone. And has been marketed by Ströer Mobile Media since 2015. Ströer, in turn, has installed 50,000 beacons on advertising media throughout Germany. And can thus establish a connection between poster and mobile phone. Without the user even having to know where the push message he is seeing on his smartphone is coming from. Consent hides somewhere in the depths of terms and conditions. Which we all always read carefully with every app.

DO I NEED A SPECIAL iBEACON APP?

Basically, any app can be enabled for proximity. Developers can integrate certain program snippets from specialized vendors – such as Favendo – into their app. These program snippets are called Software Development Kits, SDK for short. The advantage is, that an existing and already well established app can be continued to be used. For example, Favendos Commander SDK includes positioning, turn-by-turn navigation, asset tracking, notifications based on beacon and zone proximity, and analytics. The code can be integrated into any mobile app and is used for example in the Adler Mannheim Fan App and the GetYourAudi App.

Are there applications for iBeacons without apps? Yes, but they are far from proximity marketing. For example, in industry or logistics, workpieces or pallets can be equipped with beacons, so that the asset can be easily identified within the production site. With the help of appropriate receivers it can be tracked at any time. You can find out more about this topic here.

Thomas