Beaconed Once: 45% Engagement; Beaconed Twice: 313% Drop in App Usage

Nearly half of shoppers who are beaconed during a shopping trip engage with the messaging they receive but marketers who over beacon do so at their own peril.

Receiving more than one beacon-triggered message during an in-store shopping trip can cause consumers to stop using an app for a period of time and, in many cases, delete the app.

Those are among the findings in a study of 100,000 mobile shoppers, which showed beacon-triggered messaging causing an interaction rate five times higher than traditional push messages without location context.

In-store beacon engagements cause a 45% interaction rate, based on the study by InMarket, which runs a beacon platform, most recently noted for a new product launch with Hillshire agency BPN, which I wrote about here at the time (Hillshire Taps Beacons: 20X Purchase Intent Increase).



InMarket found that receiving more than one beaconed message caused a 313% drop in app usage among app users, estimating that a large percentage of those are app deletions.

The company measured app usage before and after beaconing and found that too many messages appeared to annoy shoppers.

“Today it looks like one is the optimal number,” said Todd Dipaola, CEO of inMarket. “The issue is how often does the shopper want the app to buzz in their pocket.”

The study comprised shoppers at various categories of stores, including grocery, mass merchant, department stores and malls, though most heavily involving consumer packaged goods, according to Dipaola.

The final verdict on the optimum number of beaconed messages on the impact in different environments is still out.

Over the weekend, I visited a Timberland and Alex and Ani store in Boston, both of which have had Swirl beacons installed for some time, and received one message at each location, basically a welcoming message along with a discount offer.

This seems to make sense, since both locations are relatively small.

Then there are massive, multi-floor department stores, such as Lord & Taylor, which has several beacons in various locations with messaging targeted to the particular department or product area.

There also are multiple location situations, such as the 100 or so stores on Regent Street in London, where messaging from the Autograph beacon platform aims to reach each passing shopper based on their interests (The Great iBeacon Rollout: 100 Stores on One Street).

And there are beacons targeting the common areas of malls, such as those being installed at Simon Malls by Mobiquity Networks (Mobile Shoppers & the Act of Beaconing).

Depending on the beacon platform, a mobile shopper has to have a designated app on their phone to be able to receive a beacon-triggered message. They also have to have Bluetooth turned on, of course.

An interesting aspect of the InMarket platform is that consumers use their chosen shopping app so that a beacon causes a different app to open, based on the individual, since a number of apps are used with that beacon platform.

“We’re not hitting them with a pop up,” said Dipaola. “Their favorite app opens.”

As a result, the beaconed messaging is highly targeted and comes via an already used app. InMarket typically has one beacon per location.

Another interesting finding from the study is that beaconing was effective with both Apple and Android phones, with iOS devices slightly ahead of Android.

With new beacon implementations being announced on a regular basis, especially heading to the holiday shopping season, we can expect more consumer reaction to roll in.

This could become a shopping season of very high, beacon-triggered engagements.

Or a season of app deletions.


Want to know more about beacons? MediaPost has created a conference on beacons, for Nov. 3 in New York (IoT: Beacons), which I’m currently programming.




2 comments about "Beaconed Once: 45% Engagement; Beaconed Twice: 313% Drop in App Usage".
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  1. Mark Evans from Addion, September 22, 2014 at 1:25 p.m.

    "313% drop in app usage" - wow, not only does the user drop from 100% usage to 0%, but keeps going...perhaps by actively re-installing and re-deleting the app, or by grabbing other users' handsets and deleting their apps?!?

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, September 22, 2014 at 1:39 p.m.

    Good one, Mark.

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