Ever since its introduction, Google’s Physical Web project has been attracting the attention of marketers worldwide, largely due to the ease of providing contextual and location-based marketing opportunities. This year, at Google I/O, the annual developer conference, Google made significant upgrades to the Physical Web project by introducing Nearby Notifications. Nearby Notifications are essentially a way by which brands can link a website or an app to an Eddystone beacon (the beacon protocol used for Physical Web interactions), thus sending out relevant content (via a URL) every time a user/customer is in the vicinity of that beacon.
Nearby Notifications are already creating a buzz in the proximity industry and many leading brands like Airside Mobile and CVS are leveraging the solution. These contextual notifications are proving to be a boon to marketers since they provide the opportunity to engage customers, without the need to build or maintain native apps. Proximity marketers can leverage Nearby Notifications to fulfill a wide range of marketing needs, from driving app installs to encouraging customers to explore products, to driving traffic to social media pages.
Given the imminent advantages, let us now understand how Nearby Notifications work.
How do Nearby Notifications work?
Nearby Notifications are native on Android devices, meaning, Android users will be automatically onboarded when they are in the proximity of an Eddystone beacon for the first time. A first time user will receive a notification that says ‘Tap to explore or turn off this feature’; once the user taps on this notification, he/she can see the list of beacons (through the attached URLs) in the vicinity. At this point, the user will also be asked to opt in for receiving such notifications in the future. Here is a screenshot of how Nearby Notifications work for first time users:
Nearby Notifications runs in the background on all Android devices (Kitkat 4.4 and above) and Android phones are constantly scanning for beacons. Once a user has opted in for Nearby Notifications, he/she will automatically receive passive Nearby Notifications when in the vicinity of beacons. Here is a screenshot that shows how Physical Web URLs are displayed after a user has opted in:
It should however be noted that certain key criteria need to be fulfilled by users in order to receive Nearby Notifications. They are as follows:
– Should be connected to the internet through a WiFi network or a phone data plan
– Must have Bluetooth turned on
– Location has to be turned on
– Nearby Notifications should be turned on
All these requirements can be easily met by going to the Settings section of smartphones.
Experiences that can be built using Nearby Notifications
Primarily, there are three types of experiences that can be delivered using Nearby Notifications, as mentioned below:
1. Advertising a HTTPS URL – This is a basic level of notification, where a relevant URL is transmitted via Nearby Notifications to people in the vicinity of a beacon. Once a user clicks the URL, he/she will be redirected to the relevant website.
2. Triggering an app intent – While Nearby Notifications allows for proximity interactions without the need for an app, brands with native apps, can also leverage it for boosting engagement on the app. Sending such Nearby Notifications, will launch the specific app installed on users smartphones’. In the event of the app not being installed, users will be redirected to a relevant website (as chosen by the brand)
3. Triggering an app install – With Nearby Notifications, brands can also direct users straight to the Google Play store where the app can be installed with a single click. However, it should be noted that such Play Store URLs require explicit whitelisting from Google. This kind of notification can also be used to launch an already installed app and perform a specific function.
How proximity marketers can enhance Nearby Notifications
Nearby Notifications are surely a great way to contextually connect with customers. However, in order to further boost the engagement and open rates of such notifications, brands can leverage tailored Eddystone solutions, like Beaconstac, that offer special features like customizable metadata and rich content to such notifications.
Marketers can target customers using catchy URL metadata. For example, a message like, ‘It’s Happy Hours now, 20% off on drinks’ can prompt the customer to take immediate action, thus ensuring high CTRs. In addition, the Beaconstac platform also allows for rich visual content to be transmitted, through its pre-built, customized, content cards. Here is a sample of a rich content card, developed using the platform:
You can read more about boosting engagement through Physical Web interactions in our earlier blog.
The Physical Web is a great tool that proximity marketers can leverage in order to connect with the target audience at the right time and place with the most contextual content. The solution is also very versatile and is capable of adapting itself to many unique scenarios. In a recent example, media company, Entertainment One, leveraged Nearby Notifications to promote the new Roald Dahl movie, BFG through an innovative campaign called the ‘BFG Dream Jar Trail’. The campaign proved to be highly successful and witnessed a high engagement rate, where 75% of unique users viewed the content more than once (in the span of just 1 week).
In conclusion, while Nearby Notifications are great for proximity marketing, it is equally important that marketers keep in mind the real needs of the target audience while leveraging the proximity solution.
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!