Businesses today are up against a rising tide of change and challenges, all driven by technology, with many struggling to adapt to changing consumer behaviors and competition from disruptive innovators. In fact, today’s consumers consider being connected as a crucial utility and expect almost all facets of their shopping experience be accessible to them through their personal mobile devices. This is where Facebook beacons come into the picture.
Having realized that being able to target consumers with right information at the right time, in the right context can be extremely lucrative, Facebook recently launched a new service called ‘Place Tips’. This new feature that invaded the territory occupied by Yelp and Foursquare, is currently being launched for the Facebook iPhone app and helps delivers information about shops and landmarks to users who are nearby, above the news feeds on users’ smartphones.
With industry experts predicting that proximity marketing with beacons could be one of the most effective tools that can help businesses generate higher ROI with ease, it is no surprise that Facebook took a step in this direction. What is surprising is that inspite of all the hype around proximity marketing with beacons, there is very little actionable information on doing it right. If you too have been hunting all over for proximity marketing campaign success secrets that will help you ace your next campaign, you will find this new ebook ‘The A to Z of Proximity Marketing with Beacons’ handy.
In this post we will discuss 3 ways businesses can use Facebook beacons to their advantage and ensure that they get their share of 138$ million that is expected to flow in through retail sales at stores using beacons, this year. They are:
1. Wider User Reach:
With a total of 1.19 billion mobile monthly active users, Facebook’s network is something that even the most popular brand apps can’t compete with in terms of both scale and daily active usage. In other words, by tying up with Facebook’s new service ‘Place Tips’ businesses can deliver potentially relevant ads to the news feeds on users’ smartphones when they are nearby.
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Though the service is free for now, we expect a land rush in local marketing dollars as app developers plant ads in users’ Facebook feeds so that they can find a way for users to pop open the brand’s in-store app when they are closer to a location. Moreover, brands also have a lot to gain from campaigns that connect and promote Facebook business pages as soon as a consumer enters a business’s vicinity, interacts with a product or leaves instant reviews, feedback etc.
However, this doesn’t mean that Place Tips gives brands unlimited access to all Facebook users. Similar to all beacon projects, Facebook beacons also require consumers to actively opt-in by turning on their device’s Bluetooth and allowing the Facebook app to access their location.
While there are lots of other strategies to achieve a wider audience reach ( such as opting for a beacon ad network) we expect to see even more robust APIs and ad placement options to achieve the same effect: grabbing attention based on a user’s location so that you can start feeding content based on proximity.
2. Offer Great Contextual Experiences:
With most consumers today being already inundated with push notifications from different brands on a daily basis, the relevance of content to the current context of the consumer is of paramount importance. Thus, creating contextual consumer experiences that revolve around consumer interests and behaviours, hold the key to accurate contextual awareness. This is where Facebook beacons come handy. By integrating Facebook beacons with deep insights on the needs and preferences of consumers, as gained from the pages he or she has liked, the photos that he or she mostly views or the conversations that he or she mostly engages in, brands can collect invaluable data points around which engaging ads can be tailored.
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“While Place Tips pulls up data from existing information on businesses’ Facebook Place Pages, like upcoming events, for now, this pilot is more focused on learning about how people use and get value out of Place Tips”, said a Facebook rep to Geomarketing, an independent news site.
For example, a user near New York’s famous Dominique Ansel Bakery, sees a feed of information about the place. Should the user choose to tap on the information, he/she will be able to check in to the location and see photographs and posts shared by their friends who’ve also visited the same spot.
Meanwhile, Facebook will be doing research to see what kinds of Place Tips information people find valuable, and what other information they could add to Place Tips to make the experience richer for people, and places/businesses.
3. Higher Chances at Receiving Notifications:
One of the major challenges hindering the success of beacons in general is – what if the user has turned off push notifications for the particular mobile app? This however, is not a new challenge for Facebook. In fact, the social network launched a separate Facebook messenger application hoping that by giving their users a new approval process within a unique application, they would leave push notifications turned on.
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For example, Facebook in their attempt to entice users to turn on notifications on the Facebook Messenger application, currently greets any user who turns off his or her notifications with a dark screen designed to mimic an error message, stating “Please turn on Notifications” for the “app to work best” along with visuals on how to re-enable what they deem optimal for the user.
Adding on to that, to provide accurate location information, Place Tips goes beyond Bluetooth beacons by using signals from cellular networks, Wi-Fi and GPS, to perform well in large open spaces such as parks and airports.
Thus, with so much to offer to businesses it won’t be far before Pinterest and other social networks get onto the iBeacon bandwagon.
What do you think about Facebook beacons? Let us know in the comments.
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!