How to run a powerful proximity marketing campaign on iOS devices?
Last Updated:  February 22, 2021
According to a recent survey by Statcounter in December 2017, 19.91% of the mobile market is occupied by iOS devices. For the last few years, sending proximity marketing campaigns to iOS was a breeze – Chrome browser scanned for beacon signals and displayed the notification on the device as soon as it detected a beacon signal. But Chrome discontinued support for Physical Web notifications in October 2017.
In this blog, we will discuss how to create and implement powerful beacon campaigns for the iOS devices using iBeacon and Eddystone. We will also talk about best practices and more.
What is iBeacon? How does it work?
iBeacon was the first beacon-based proximity solution that was introduced by Apple in 2013. iBeacon technology leverages beacons to send contextual, personalized and location-specific content to customers/users, however, only through a native beacon-enabled app. 6 iBeacon apps
Under the iBeacon protocol, beacons simply send a unique identifier (UUID) to a beacon-enabled app, to inform the app that it is entering beacon range. This signal makes the app aware that it’s time to send the user a notification and triggers a message or performs an action.
What is Eddystone? How does it work?
Eddystone is a beacon format that was introduced by Google in July 2015. It leverages the fundamental ability of beacons (broadcasting content to smartphone users in a specific area) to offer a wider range of solutions from what was previously possible through Apple’s iBeacon format.
If the motive of the campaign is to enhance the engagement and upsell products, having a brand app definitely helps. Most proximity campaigns that leveraged their own apps have witnessed impressive click-through rates. This is because –
The campaign talks to consumers who have already had multiple touchpoints with the brand
It is highly personalized (for eg, the name of consumer, gender, age etc)
Product recommendations offer based on previous purchases
Many companies also collaborated with high install base apps to run their proximity campaigns.
Companies that have seen massive results with proximity marketing campaigns on apps
Campaign – Heineken entered into a collaboration with mobile shopping app Ibotta. Heineken’s beacon project aimed to drive purchase intent, in-store sales, and brand awareness in conjunction with the release of the 2015 James Bond movie Spectre. The brand leveraged multiple collaborations with mobile leaders and roped in beacons to ensure that its products were top-of-mind for grocery shoppers. Heineken drew in-store supermarket shoppers to an interactive display via beacons.
Results – Heineken had an estimated revenue of $320,000 from the campaign with 200,000 in-store and points-of-sale engagements. The purchase intent of customers increased by 7 times, with an increment in revenue on investment by 6.2 times. The alcohol marketer received nearly one million shopper impressions as a result of the beacon implementation.
(Image source – https://goo.gl/MZ2ihb)
Campaign – Coca-Cola leveraged beacon technology in movie theatres in Norway to both target and then retarget smartphone-equipped consumers. One of the goals of the campaign was to collect data on moviegoers so Coca-Cola could then retarget them a week later with an offer for a free ticket to return the movie theatre.
Results – Coca-Cola saw some exceptional conversions from this campaign. 60 percent of the consumers who received the notifications clicked on it and 20 percent redeemed the offer.
Campaign – Screenvision, which runs advertising at roughly 2,300 movie theatres, worked with a range of tech companies to experiment with proximity marketing. They launched Project Lynx which debuted at Screenvision’s 2015 Upfront. They used two apps for the campaign – Movietickets and Dealflicks. The project allowed retail marketers and agencies to connect with their consumers via geo-targeted, beacon ads at and near movie theatres. The aim of the project was to drive in-store purchases.
Results – Screenvision Media’s use of geofencing and beacons has driven an average 15 percent lift in store visitation rates for its retail partners. In Screenvision’s VP Christine Martino ’s words, “When you place an ad in cinema, we can then connect how many of those people who saw the ad went to a retailer. And over the last four months of testing, we saw a 15 percent lift in the amount of foot traffic involving people who went to the movies and then went to a retailer within the next seven days.”
A lot of other brands, predominantly in retail, have also witnessed impressive success with iBeacon apps. Here are 5 apps that stand out for their novelty and innovative use cases.
P.S. – Are you looking to build an app for your business? Here are few tips for building a successful beacon app.
If you do not have your own iOS app
High-performing, innovative third-party apps provide proximity marketing that retailers can easily implement while avoiding many logistical concerns. Reputable partner apps have strong systems in place to prevent data breaches and have the experience to know how to interact with consumers without being intrusive. Some view this need for action as a potential hurdle. However, with an estimated 90% of smartphone users having at least one subscription to a rewards program, it may not be as significant as many people think.
Third-party apps strike the right balance between respecting a consumer’s privacy while providing timely marketing. They turn applied beacon technology into an interactive, fun experience that consumers want to engage with. They also manage and consolidate the user agreements necessary to collect consumer data. With the right third-party app as your partner for a tech-forward proximity marketing campaign, you can gain access to a user base that is already active and engaged.
These third-party apps continuously scan for Eddystone URLs and display the notifications as soon as they detect an Eddystone URL.
Beaconstac has developed an app – “Nearbee”. This app scans for Nearby notifications and displays the notification on the iOS device. Here’s how it is superior to any other third party app –
Add an app intent to the campaign
It allows notifications to be sent at a specific time of the day, or days of a week
The app is designed to run and scan quietly in the background. This means users get the notification even when the device is locked
With the app, you can send telemetry information to the Google beacon platform where you can monitor the health of beacons
Send multiple notifications from a single beacon
Some of the other third-party apps are –
Physical Web by Bleesk
Myths about running campaigns on iOS devices
1. Have to have an app
That’s not necessary. You could either collaborate with other apps in your domain who have a good install base or you could also leverage apps such as Beaconstac’s Nearbee.
2. Locked phones have no effect on notification experience
After the iOS 7.1 update, it’s evident that iBeacon is the only BLE service that stays active when a phone is locked.
Running proximity marketing campaigns on iOS devices without an app
With Apple’s decision to support QR codes natively with the iOS 11 update, it is possible to run proximity marketing campaigns using QR codes on iPhones. No additional app is required to scan the QR codes.
QR codes can be used to implement scan and go, offer deals, discounts, product information, make the product more interactive and allow users to instantly rate products and leave reviews online.
Another way you can run proximity marketing campaigns without an app is through NFC tags. Earlier iPhones only supported NFC payment through Apple pay but now the latest versions – iPhone XS, XS max and XR support reading NFC tags without an app. The NFC market is predicted to explode in the next 5 years thanks to this latest development. By 2025, it will be worth $50 billion, according to the NFC forum.
Before getting started on actually building an app or using a third party for iOS devices, you need to carefully consider analysis your customer segment – how many of your users use iOS devices? If the customer segment is huge, go ahead and build an app for your brand and integrate the NearBee SDK into the Beaconstac beacons, or use our NearBee app.
UPDATE: We have also launched NearBee on Android to provide a seamless experience to Android users that offers a rich, non-passive and non-generic notification to the end-user. Read more about it in our latest blog!
I am fascinated by tech-driven marketing. Love to read & write about entrepreneurship and tech-driven business strategies for B2B and B2C companies. Have b(e)acon and eggs for breakfast and always up for doughnuts!
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