Bluetooth marketing is a form of proximity marketing where businesses make use of Bluetooth on smartphones as a channel to reach out to their target audience with messages and promotions.
It is one of the most contextually-relevant marketing channels that physical businesses use to embrace digital - and create an engaging experience for customers.
BLE beacons are small transmitting devices that communicate via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). These devices work like a lighthouse - one-way transmission. It transmits signals to an average range of 80 meters. Bluetooth-enabled smartphones continuously scan for BLE signals. Once detected it pulls the message linked to the signal and displays it as a notification.
This message could be a welcome greeting, a promotional message or a wayfinding link! With Beaconstac, an end-to-end beacon solution, this notification can be linked to multiple kinds of campaigns -
Here’s what Bluetooth marketing looks like - A customer walks into your store with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. The moment she enters the proximity (range) of the beacon deployed in the store, she receives a notification from the store. This notification could be a greeting, an ongoing offer, or communication about a new product or event.
When she clicks on the notification, she navigates to either a markdown card, a form or a custom URL. This notification vanishes when she walks out of the beacon range. This functionality enables the store operator to design an experience in a way that is contextually relevant and personalized.
Thinking ahead: Once the customer leaves the store, you can still recapture her attention when she goes online - Facebook and Google. Retargeting customers online gives you additional opportunities to convert them. (How retargeting works with Bluetooth beacons )
The example above is for a retail store, however, the same can be done for real estate, hotels, hospitals, bus stations and more.
Bluetooth has quickly been adopted into a lot of use cases given its rapid growth and the fact that it enables a seamless experience. By 2021, ABI predicts 48 billion internet-enabled devices will be installed, and Bluetooth—predicted to be in nearly one-third of those devices—is a cornerstone of that growth. Beacons that communicate via Bluetooth Low Energy has opened doors to multiple use cases. The core use cases of Bluetooth marketing are around -
Industries such as retail, real estate, hospitality, healthcare and educational institutes are extensively using beacons to attract, engage and retarget customers.
A smartphone app can find out the device’s location on a map via signals from one or more beacons. Based on this information, the app then can calculate a route and navigate the user to her destination. Implementing an indoor navigation based on beacons requires you to create a grid of beacons across the building/facility.
In addition to Bluetooth technology, other similar technologies that enable asset tracking are - RFID, NFC and QR codes. Here’s a comparison of their capabilities and cost involved.
100% of the smartphones, tablets and laptops shipped in 2018 will include Bluetooth. Wearables, systems in automotive, smart industries and most audio and entertainment are Bluetooth driven. With such a massive influx of Bluetooth, it is only natural to leverage the technology for marketing.
Also, Bluetooth marketing is more of an opt-in (pull) way of marketing. This means that the notifications appear on the smartphone only when the user in the range of the beacon and she has Bluetooth and location turned on. The relevancy of the notifications makes the marketing helpful rather than being pushy.
One of the limitations of Bluetooth advertising is that for consumers to receive messages their Bluetooth and Location services must be turned on. In Apple’s iOS 11 update, the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are on by default in iOS devices. Also, in North America, 40% of consumers have their Bluetooth on.
Another limitation is that there is a lack of understanding about how Bluetooth marketing exactly works. Notifications also may not show up if they are in direct violation of Google’s Nearby Notification policies (UPDATE: Nearby Notifications will no longer be supported on Android smartphones after December 6 2018. Please read this blog post to understand how you can continue running proximity marketing campaigns through beacons).
Bluetooth advertising lays emphasis on campaigns that a user will find contextual, targeted and relevant whereas traditional advertising does not usually follow such a pattern. For instance, newspaper advertisements are not tailored and cater to wide audiences who may or may not be interested in it. Similarly, flyers are pushed out without much research into whether the receiver will find it useful or interesting. Digital marketing, however, has made some progress in helping advertisements become more targeted and personalized but there are usually a lot of unethical practices associated with it. Bluetooth advertising, on the other hand, places importance on location to send out information rather than collecting personally identifiable information of consumers. Also, there are only so many newspapers that can carry an advertisement or flyers that can be printed, with Bluetooth marketing it is possible to reach all the consumers in the vicinity simultaneously.
Below is a cost comparison between Bluetooth advertising and traditional advertising
|Advertising Medium||Average Cost|
|Full page newspaper ad||$63,294|
|1000 1-sided flyers||$320|
The market for Bluetooth marketing is expected to grow at a CAGR of 29.8% and is going to be worth $52.46 billion by 2022. It is also projected that more than 5 billion Bluetooth devices will be shipped by the end of 2019. According to the ProxReport, 84% of global airports will turn to Bluetooth marketing by the end of 2019. Also, 53% of NBA venues, 93% of Major League Baseball venues and 47% of NFL venues already use Bluetooth advertising and the numbers are expected to rise.