Bluetooth Marketing

What is Bluetooth Marketing, how does it work and how can businesses use it.

Bluetooth beacons

Proximity marketing

Eddystone and iBeacon

iBeacon basics

Bluetooth Marketing

What is Bluetooth marketing (or, Bluetooth advertising)?

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.

How does Bluetooth marketing work?

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 -

  1. Markdown cards: These are easy-to-create campaign card creatives which behave just like web pages. Markdown cards can be designed to have text, headings, images, videos, and call-to-action buttons. This is especially helpful for small businesses that do not have a website or do not want to spend hours building web pages for multiple marketing campaigns. This is also helpful when you want your users to call you back, send an SMS to you or send an email. (SEE MARKDOWN CARD EXAMPLE)
  2. Forms: To simplify the feedback process, Beaconstac has a seamless integration with forms. Adding questions and analysing the response to the survey is simple and intuitive.
  3. Custom URL: Businesses that have an online presence - website, social media page or an app, usually want to drive traffic directly to their websites. With this in mind, Beaconstac also allows you to insert a custom URL (any https URL) on your campaigns.

What does Bluetooth marketing look like? An example.

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.

how does Bluetooth Marketing work

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.

What are the core Bluetooth marketing use cases?

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 -

  1. Proximity Marketing: Proximity marketing is about reaching to the right people at the right time - which means contextual marketing. Several technologies like WiFi, NFC, QR Codes and Bluetooth beacon enable proximity marketing. However, the most efficient and popular way to implement proximity marketing is with beacon-based infrastructure.

    Industries such as retail, real estate, hospitality, healthcare and educational institutes are extensively using beacons to attract, engage and retarget customers.


  2. Indoor Navigation: GPS works well for outdoors, however, it goes for a toss when you enter a building or a busy area. Locating a new cafe inside a bustling shopping area, or finding an office is a huge building can often become daunting with GPS. This is where beacons come handy. (iBeacon is required for indoor navigation)

    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.

  3. Asset Tracking and Item Finding: Asset tracking uses Bluetooth beacons set up around buildings and facilities to locate assets and even track them in real time. This is especially useful for large-scale healthcare facilities and transportation industries. Hospitals have a lot of expensive equipment which often misplaced. This obviously leads to an increase in the expense of buying equipment.

    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.

Asset Tracking Bluetooth vs other technology comparison

Why is Bluetooth marketing so effective in 2018?

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.

bluetooth marketing statistics

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.

What are the limitations of Bluetooth advertising?

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).

How is Bluetooth advertising different from traditional advertising?

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
Bluetooth marketing $64

The growth of Bluetooth Market

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.

iBeacon proximity marketing with app