Using Proximity Marketing to engage consumers via the Physical Web

It is perhaps not such a well-kept secret that many of todays leading Brands, and High Street retailers, are trialling and testing Proximity Marketing. It is reported that the majority of these early adopters of this emerging advertising technology are seeing amazingly high click-through rates too! Hard figures are not easy to come by yet but some reports have suggested CTR (Click-through Rates) of up to 50% have been recorded using this fast developing form of OOH (Out Of Home) contextual advertising.


Out of home, proximity marketing


Proximity Marketing uses Beacons to get the message across!

The technology that underlies Proximity Marketing relies on Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons, which need to be located in the vicinity of the advertisers bricks and mortar establishments. US industry tech giants Apple and Google are currently vying for pole position in this fast emerging new advertising medium. Apple have their iBeacon standard which currently requires advertisers to use Apps for message delivery whilst Google have developed their Eddystone standard. Google Eddystone simply requires Bluetooth to be enabled on consumers mobiles for them to receive contextual advertising messages.


Google reducing the need for Apps to enable the Physical Web

The fact that Google have moved to an approach that does not require an App for message delivery is very interesting and potentially game-changing for advertisers and promoters using the Physical Web for OOH advertising and messaging. We think Apple may do the same in the near future to remove the need to install any Apps so watch this space!


Enabling local message delivery to consumers Smartphones

Another point of interest is that the new Apple Iphone 7 requires the use of wireless headphones via Bluetooth as there is no longer a dedicated headphone socket on the new iPhone. This means that many of Apples users will likely opt to leave their new iPhones Bluetooth switched on permanently, facilitating beacon messaging to local consumers. This will no doubt become the norm too on Google’s Android platform. There will soon be no better way to send many types of information to geographically local recipients.


Helping advertisers to collect valuable location and demographic big data

Another great point we should make is that this locally collected consumer data will prove to be very valuable to both Brands and advertisers alike. Imagine having information such as consumers search history, websites browsed, products purchased and all this other localised data in one powerful data silo? It can then all be concatenated together into cutting edge marketing campaigns driving the improvement of future localised messaging. Big data analysts and number crunchers will simply love it! And we think that consumers will grow to love it too, as their needs are far more easily satisfied in future!


Advertising platforms building Proximity Marketing Beacon Networks

As you would expect, there are several start-up tech and Digital Marketing companies that are rapidly evolving ready to take advantage of this new local online advertising channel.

These savvy businesses worked out early on that targeting consumers in moments of high dwell, where relevant products and services are physically available nearby, would be a winning combination for marketers!


Implementing Proximity Marketing

Companies in the UK such as Google Eddystone certified Proxama PLC and, in the USA, Unacast are among the first to market with their Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacon networks. Other digital marketing agencies have more recently latched onto the bandwagon. At Make it SNAPPY we are currently running our own evaluations of BLE Beacons and will report back on our initial findings in a later blog.

For Brands looking to increase store footfall, this technology is straightforward to implement as it simply requires the installation of, or access to, existing BLE Beacon Networks.

Messaging to consumers in the proximity of beacons often consists of special discounts, offers and other incentives. Whilst it is interesting to note the arrival of Proximity Marketing on local High Streets, it is also important to mention that Beacons are popping up in places such as Airports, Train Stations, Buses, Taxis and Museums.


out of home; beacons; proximity marketing


Catching consumers in the moment

Wherever it is possible to catch a consumer in the moment, as they pass by a store, have lunch or socialise out with friends and family, beacons will likely become prevalent. If your Brand or store has a great offer on, it is now possible to shout out your message to passers-by using the Physical Web.

In the end it is perhaps a little like back in the old days where Market Traders used to shout their messages out to anyone within hearing distance! Luring consumers in with those fabulous two for one offers, offering free giveaways and extra ‘presents’ on top of whatever consumers were purchasing.


How to sell to your target market whilst they are in your proximity

Imagine the old East End Market Trader: “Roll up, roll up, today we are not asking for ten pounds, not nine or eight, no madam not seven or six pounds, today, just for you, as you stand in front of me you can have it all for a fiver – and I will even chuck in another for free!”

These old established sales techniques simply need to be honed for todays savvy smartphone users, quickly as they dash from place to place!

Get them while they are hot! Use your beacon messages as a means of enticing people into your store, remember that loss leader offers or vouchers will often prompt additional in-store purchases!


Context sensitive local marketing

Proximity Marketing is then simply another route to advertise your products and services, but on a truly local basis. It will be possible to target your offerings to specific demographics, those that have recently browsed or searched for similar items etc. The demographic and geo-location data capture possible with this technology will likely lead to other new approaches to advertising.


Reaping High Street advertising rewards!

For the likes of Google and Apple, this tech now offers them the opportunity to corner a large share of the local advertising market. This is something which even they have not been able to fully exploit before.

This will all surely drive the future social and technical development of the physical web, so watch this space!