According to Q1 2016 Proxbook report, currently there are a little over 4 million beacon deployed globally – a number that is well aligned with ABI Research’s forecast which predicted that 8 million beacons will be deployed by the end of 2016. And it goes without saying that Eddystone with its recent updates (announcement of Chrome browser support on Android and a new secure beacon format called Eddystone-EID) is one of the primary factors that is fast shaping 2016 as the year of the beacon.
Now while Eddystone solves one of the primary barriers to beacon adoption (i.e the need for a beacon-enabled app) it still leaves another crucial question unanswered – ‘how do I convince my users to turn their Bluetooth on?’ After all switching on Bluetooth in critical to any beacon experience, be it via iBeacon or Eddystone beacons.
Common myth around turning Bluetooth ON
‘How do I convince my users to turn on their Bluetooth?’ – typically, this is one of those questions that are frequently asked by businesses which are yet to get started with beacons. And this is one question is rooted in the belief that the usage of Bluetooth results in a significant drain on battery life.
Now, while this belief did hold true in early days of smartphones when Bluetooth didn’t provide much value beyond hands-free headsets and Bluetooth enabled vehicles, things have changed.
The new Bluetooth specification called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE or Bluetooth 4.0) has made some massive improvements with respect to the impact of Bluetooth on battery life. So much so that over the course of a day, power implications only equate to about a 1-2% drain on the battery of a device.
While there are still a couple of devices that use the older Bluetooth protocol, it is projected that by 2018 over 90% of devices will support Bluetooth Smart globally. Therefore, a vast majority of mobile devices that are currently available in the market are equipped to have Bluetooth ‘on’ without any noticeable impact on battery life. You might want to check out the list of BLE enabled devices in today’s market here.
How many users generally have their Bluetooth turned ON?
One of the other questions that often turns up in most of our client conversations is – What percentage of my users will have their Bluetooth turned on? The answer to the question varies significantly based on device type, user profile and country.
For example, with 45% of mobile users enabling Bluetooth across devices, North America boasts of some of the highest rates of Bluetooth usage across the globe. On a similar note, it is also important to note that youngsters and users with connected devices are significantly more likely to turn their bluetooth on than others.
While there are a number of factors that have contributed to the rise in Bluetooth usage, the rise in the adoption of connected devices such as smart watches is one of the major factors that has had a huge impact on these figures.
Apple, in its efforts to encourage Bluetooth usage has started rolling out a host of devices or products that require bluetooth. For example, starting with iOS 7 and onward, Bluetooth is automatically turned on every time a user does an OS update on the iPhone. Adding on to that, with the rise in IoT, smartphones are becoming increasingly connected. While other technologies such as NFC continue to play a role in device connectivity, Bluetooth has emerged as the dominant wireless technology connecting our phones with the world around us.
How businesses can encourage users to turn their Bluetooth ON
Let’s take a look at the ways in which you can encourage the rest of your audience to turn it on as well. To make things a little more easier to understand, we have classified them based on the two approaches that are possible as of now.
(a) Using a beacon-enabled app
1) Educate users on the value proposition offered during on-boarding
On-boarding screens play a critical role in transforming first time users of your beacon app into valued customers. Given that, it is highly important that you focus on explaining the benefits (this could be any feature that helps users save on their time or money) offered by your beacon app in the on-boarding session. Educating users on this value proposition in a clear and precise manner will go a long way into ensuring that your users turn their Bluetooth on when they enter your store premises.
But for this you need to first look beyond one-sided benefits that deploying beacons in your stores could provide your business with and picture it from the user’s point of view. For example, if your app by itself provides no significant value beyond that provided by your in-store or online experience, there is little reason why users would want to turn their Bluetooth on.
A good example of a beacon app that has mastered the art of educating users on benefits offered is Tile. In order to brief their users on how to turn on the Tile device and start using it, the app uses illustrations which clearly show users how these actions will manifest later. While this is commonly done with micro copy, Tile has customers across the world and therefore didn’t find localized text as a scalable option. Hence the app focuses on illustrations to convey value without the aid of text.
Image source: vektordigital.com
2) Educate users that turning bluetooth ON won’t impact the battery life of their device
Like I mentioned before, this is the one common myth that consumers and even few marketers live by. Given that, breaking this myth among your users will probably prove highly advantageous in encouraging them to turn their Bluetooth on. For example, say you have a section where users can view the items that are on sale in your app . When a user opens the section, he/she should be directed to some text that reads as follows:
“To receive notifications on promotions and offers related to your favourite brand enable Bluetooth right away. Turning Bluetooth on will not drain the battery of your device.”
This kind of brief and informative copy could play a critical role in educating users on the real impact of Bluetooth on the battery life of their smartphone and in turn encourage them to turn on their Bluetooth when in-store.
3) Proper use of Bluetooth OFF states via geofencing
While many beacon apps present their users with a request to turn their bluetooth on during the on-boarding session, most of them fail to re-engage users after the initial session. This is a bad practice, as it often results in them missing out on a golden opportunity to remind their users to turn the Bluetooth on.
In other words, if you’re truly providing value to your users using beacons, you could use these Bluetooth OFF states to send unobtrusive empty states and messaging that would nudge your users to turn their bluetooth on via geofencing. This can be easily implemented using ‘Places’, a Beaconstac platform feature that allows businesses to define a geofence with ease.
All they have to do is choose ‘Places’ from the navigation, click on ‘Add a new place’ and type in the attributes such as name, address (latitude and longitude values). Once that is done, they can easily define the range of a geofence (in metres).
Once a business has set a geofence for a place, he/she will receive callbacks when the fence is breached and a user enters or exits the region. Retailers can then use these callbacks to show a notification, that gently nudges the users to keep their bluetooth turned on.
4) Send informative notifications to users as they connect to free Wi-Fi in-store
It is no secret that free Wi-fi often tops the list when it comes to things that consumers expect of their favourite brands. Aiming to offer their users an enhanced in-store experience, many leading retailers and malls currently provide their users with free Wi-Fi. And now there is one more way you can use this to your advantage.
You can send out notifications to users who have connected to the Wi-Fi in-store, asking them to turn on their bluetooth to receive personalized promotions and offers.
(b) Without using an app
1) Put up posters that educate users on how to go about setting up their phone to receive beacon notifications
This is one of the methods that is widely adopted by businesses to educate users to turn their Bluetooth on at the deployment venue. For example, Entertainment company Fox, recently leveraged a beacon network in London buses to push Kung Fu Panda 3 content to commuters via Shazam, a popular music streaming app. As a part of this beacon campaign, commuters were prompted to open the Shazam app on their smartphone by the ads posted on the interior of the buses.
You could put up such posters at the store entrance or other places that generally see more footfall in-store like the ‘New Arrivals’ section, or ‘On Sale’ section.
2) Encourage users via the store’s or mall’s Facebook Page
You would have already read a number of articles that talk about how malls have used their Facebook Page to promote sales at featured retail stores. You could use the same technique to brief your users on the enhanced proximity driven experiences that they could enable by turning their Bluetooth on.
Given the amount of time that users spend on Facebook while they hang around in a mall, this is definitely bound to spread the word and show results to a great extent.
3) Put up a banner ad on the free Wi-Fi login page
If the free Wi-Fi login page at your mall or store opens up on a browser then you could even try putting up a banner ad just beside the form asking users to switch their Bluetooth on to experience enhanced proximity driven experiences in first-hand.
Do you have any other ideas around how businesses could encourage their users to turn their Bluetooth on? Please share in the comments below.
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!