By Andrew Dubatowka – Director, Innovation & Product Strategy
For advertisers who are past the “fascination” phase and are interested to know what it takes to successfully execute a beacon-fueled campaign, here is the process, boiled down to 7 steps.
Identify all places of interest (POIs) and map them to the customer journey
If you were simply interested in triggering messaging when a customer enters a relevant POI, then you would just define those POIs and the associated messaging. But it is important to understand how that behavior relates to the overall customer journey. For example, an obvious step would be to place a beacon in the front of your store to trigger a message about a current sale. But, putting beacons at the center of the store to identify users who are browsers and a beacon at the registerto identify users who are buyers is more important and far more insightful.
2. Define audience segments and the rules tied to those POIs
Develop a list of your audiences, with specific attention placed on location. If you are looking to target consumers who are not yet customers, define that audienceas people who have never visited your brick-and-mortar locations. If you are looking to target loyalists, that could be people who have been to your location at least once per month, or maybe once per week. Focus your audience rules on the POIs people hit, how often they hit them and when. Be creative and meticulous; this is a key step for driving success down the road.
3. Choose a platform and deploy beacons
This step is the most straightforward, but it may require the most effort. First, you need to employ a beacon technology platform that will provide the beacon hardware and software, as well as important services like data crunching and consulting. I recommend the partners in our newly launched Strategic Beacon Alliance as they are already set up to deliver against these paid media use cases. From there, you will install beacons across all POIs. I recommend focusing on one crucial DMA as a test market. After you get in the groove and feel more confident, roll out more beacons, and eventually deploy across all your locations.
4. Collect the data via native mobile app
A native mobile app is integral to all types of beacon marketing. An app is the vessel that allows brands to trigger messages, and, perhaps more importantly, collect beacon data to feed user insights. If your brand has an app with an active user base, you simply need to work with your beacon platform partner to install their software in your app and watch the messages and data flow.
For the brands out there without an app or with a small user base, things get a bit complex, as you ultimately need a high-penetration app to collect beacon data at scale. Fortunately, there are budding solutions in the market to help. Some partners are looking into passive beacon data collection via 3rd-party apps. If you don’t have a solid app to shoulder the data collection, make sure to make that a key point to discuss upfront. Also, if you aren’t working with a partner in our alliance (proceed with caution!), be sure to discuss appending all beacon data to the native advertising IDs (IDFAs & AAIDs).
5. Crunch the data and develop audience pools
Once the data is flowing, your platform partner should be able to do most of the heavy lifting in regards to making sense of the data. Those audience definitions that you developed will come in handy and will ultimately guide your beacon platform in bucketing all users into meaningful audience pools. Those audience pools can then be packaged up and ported over to Opera Mediaworks for mobile media targeting.
6. Deploy paid mobile media
Opera Mediaworks will take it from here. We take all of those audience pools and ingest them into our Audience Management Platform to inform audience segmentation and targeting of video, standard and/or rich media ads. Additional targeting, like dayparting, location targeting, content targeting, etc. can then be layered on.
7. Measurement & ROI analysis
After the media campaign is complete, we can reverse the data flow to send the exposed audience pools back to the beacon platform to analyze the post-campaign location patterns of those exposed users. Let’s say your campaign was focused on driving loyal customers to a weekend sale. In that case, we’d work with the beacon platform to measure how many of the exposed users actually visited the store during that weekend, or even measure how many of them purchased by counting the users who hit the beacon right at the register. We’d then compare that information to the patterns of users who were not exposed to the campaign to understand the lift in foot traffic and/or sales and the true ROI of the campaign.
Although it may seem a bit complex, beacon mobile marketing has already been proven to unlock strong results for many marketers, so the juice is definitely worth the squeeze. If your brand is sold or serviced at brick-and-mortar locations, beacon marketing should be a top priority for your marketing team.
Beacons are amazing, just like bacon is amazing. And that’s why they are only different by two letters.
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