In today’s fast paced world where people are constantly connected to smart devices, the best way to engage them across their many micro moments is by leveraging proximity solutions. Proximity marketing is based on the core premise of delivering the most contextual and personalized content or experiences at the right time and place, thereby ensuring a higher rate of engagement. Given this significant advantage, marketers started leveraging various proximity technologies, such as, iBeacon, NFC and RFID among others. While all these technologies have been leveraged by many brands and businesses, mass scale adoption is yet to be witnessed, due to several constraints (like, iBeacon technology only functions with native branded apps). The latest proximity solution, Google’s Physical Web powered by Eddystone beacons promises to address several such constraints that are observed with other proximity technologies. So, let us first understand what the Physical Web is and how it helps proximity marketers.
The Physical Web is essentially a proximity ecosystem that leverages the Eddystone beacon protocol to bring the power of the web to objects in the physical world, through smartphones. This solution is a boon to proximity marketers, as it is significantly easy to implement, while delivering equally effective proximity experiences, when compared to other proximity technologies. In order to leverage the Physical Web, all that a proximity marketer has to do is to purchase a few Eddystone beacons and maintain a website/URL that can be broadcasted to people. Another unique quality of the Physical Web is that it can be leveraged for a wide variety of scenarios. For instance, proximity marketers can use the Physical Web for many use cases – from sending promotional offers to navigation assistance to sending live updates.
Why proximity marketers should leverage Eddystone and the Physical Web
With the technology being relatively new, many proximity marketers are still unsure about completely banking on it. Let’s have a look at some of the most compelling reasons why the Physical Web promises to be a huge phenomenon and why proximity marketers worldwide should leverage the technology:
1. Provides seamless and smooth customer interactions
The Physical Web provides the ability to offer one of the most seamless proximity interactions in the market. The Physical Web is designed such that it allows people to just walk up to any smart device (installed with an Eddystone beacon) be it a movie poster, a bus stop, a vending machine or any other physical object and receive relevant content straight on their smartphones via the Chrome app. This frictionless nature of the Physical Web can engender high engagement rates, thereby proving to be a good bet for marketers.
2. Ensures a massive audience base
As mentioned earlier, Physical Web interactions are channeled through the Chrome app on users’ smartphones. Chrome is a high utility app and is among the top mobile search browsers in the market today. Chrome is native on Android smartphones and Google recently reported that the app has more than 1 billion monthly users. This opens up a window of opportunities for proximity marketers and ensures that their marketing efforts reach a large audience base.
3. Suits multiple use cases
One of the best qualities of the Physical Web is its ability to suit a diverse range of scenarios or use-cases. From sending live score updates at a football match to sending payment links at parking meters to sending event based promotional offers, the Physical Web lends itself to practically any situation. In an interesting example, media agency, Entertainment One promoted the new movie, BFG, by leveraging the Physical Web. As part of this initiative, huge glass jars depicting the movie (and fitted with Eddystone beacons) were placed across several places in London in order to send notifications to people and prompt them to visit the jar and find out more about the movie.
Here is a short video on how the BFG Physical Web campaign worked:
4. Allows for easy deployment
Deploying Eddystone beacons is relatively simple. In comparison, while deploying iBeacons, certain key aspects, such as, floor maps and key interest areas need to be identified and tested before kickstarting the project. However, with the Physical Web, a proximity marketer simply needs to place an Eddystone beacon near the required physical object in order to trigger notifications to passersby. This ease in deployment makes Physical Web campaigns to be set up in a very short period of time.
5. Enables creation of rich and engaging content
Unlike popular conception, Physical Web solutions too have the ability to send rich content such as text, video and audio to customers. Beaconstac’s Eddy platform is a good solution to send such rich content to customers; the platform comes with pre-built content cards that makes it easier to send rich notifications. In addition, Physical Web content can also easily be integrated with social media content, making it highly attractive to customers.
Here is a sample rich content card that can be made using the Eddy platform:
6. Provides a familiar user experience
The Physical Web creates familiar user experiences; the ‘search results’ format of displaying Physical Web URLs is fairly standard and understood by all, thus, making technology adoption easy for both customers and proximity marketers. In addition, the Physical Web ensures reuse of existing content (online digital content/assets), which is owned by most brands today.
7. Provides for a strong pull strategy
When it comes to marketing, it is no secret that a pull strategy creates stronger customer relationships that a push strategy, which may be considered as annoying by customers. Physical Web interactions are based on the idea of fulfilling the need of customers in his/her immediate environment by sending him relevant content via a passive notification which he/she can choose to engage with. Thus, the Physical Web presents the perfect platform for proximity marketers to attract the attention of customers in a seamless and effective way.
8. Creates an additional marketing channel
The Physical Web can be leveraged by brands in conjunction with their other proximity initiatives. For instance, a brand leveraging iBeacon technology (through their beacon-based app) can also leverage the Physical Web in order to increase their reach. This way, brands can reach customers who do not have the brand’s native app installed. Hence, the Physical Web is a great marketing channel for any brand.
9. Captures valuable proximity analytics
Much like iBeacon technology, Eddystone beacons allow proximity marketers to gather valuable proximity metrics such as impressions, dwell time and engagement rates among many others. The Eddy platform, for instance, has a user-friendly dashboard that helps in managing Physical Web campaigns and capturing proximity analytics. In addition, the dashboard also captures data from customer survey forms, that can be sent using the Eddy beacons. To find out more, you can read our earlier post on Eddystone proximity metrics.
10. Provides enhanced privacy
When a customer clicks on a Physical Web URL, he/she is directed to a website as required by the business. What is interesting however, is that the browsing of this website is by default anonymous. Hence, with the Physical Web, customers have the option of browsing privately. This anonymity is a great factor for proximity marketers to build trust with customers.
While it is still early days for Eddystone and the Physical Web, given the imminent advantages, it sure promises to create huge opportunities for proximity marketers. In addition, the Eddystone beacon protocol can integrate with other Google products and services, thus making the solution truly versatile.
If you are planning an Eddystone beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to kickstart your campaign in under 15 minutes. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!