Commentary

Beaconing Joins the Mobile Path to Purchase

Beacons continue to find their way into more parts of the mobile shopper journey.

While they can excel at triggering relevant information to a consumer at a specific location, beacons also can provide actionable insights well away from the little transmitting device.

One of the times information gleaned from a consumer passing by a beacon can be used is after the fact, as I wrote about here earlier this week (Post-Beaconing Begins; Location Info Captured Now, Used Later).

The key is that beaconing is rapidly expanding into different aspects of the value chain.

Several months ago, in a wide-ranging conversation about the future of beacons, Tom MacIsaac, CEO of mobile ad network Verve, suggested to me that beacons could be highly levered in the gathering of information rather than the sending of it, although no one was (at least visibly) doing that at the time.

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The idea was to use beacon-triggered information to learn the best messaging that motivates a consumer.

Since then, Verve has done a lot of in and out-of-store testing.

Yesterday I sat down in Verve’s very new headquarters in lower Manhattan with John Haake, CMO, and James Smith, CRO, to see what they’ve found out so far.

Like other major platforms that incorporate beaconing, Verve can serve an ad to a consumer in a store or simply gather the information that the consumer was near that beacon at a particular time.

“As we precisely serve ads to the audience, we may trigger an ad via the beacon in the store or we may not,” said Smith.

The interesting part, though, is connecting the beaconing dots, as it were.

“We’re able to see the out-of-store behavior connected to the in-store behavior and make determinations as to whether this person was served the right ad message.”

And this is where beaconing measurement comes it.

“Did we see that device, after we served an ad, walk by a beacon in the store?” said Smith.

A key beaconing measurement for Verve is whether seeing a mobile ad outside a store has an effect on driving that consumer to a store.

“Overall, we see a 25% to 75% lift in foot traffic over any given campaign, responding to the advertising,” said Smith. “Typically we’re serving ads to consumers based on marketers’ suggestions.”

Verve then measures attribution over an entire campaign, comparing those who were exposed to the ads to those who weren’t, over a period of time.

Beaconing then becomes part of the mobile advertising ecosystem.

As in any serious beacon implementation, all consumer activity is on an opt-in basis and totally anonymous at the individual level.

“Beacons are a media play,” said Haake. “There are reach and frequency rules and post-beaconing is essentially retargeting. “We don’t look at the beacon data in a vacuum. We look at the pre-purchase location and post purchase location.”

Even outside of a store, beaconing is becoming part of the mobile path to purchase.

1 comment about "Beaconing Joins the Mobile Path to Purchase".
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  1. Jeremy Geiger from Retailigence, November 16, 2014 at 11:26 a.m.

    Agree. And you could imagine a DMP building a Cookie, not with the online web-pages that a particular shopper has visited, but with the offline physical stores that a shopper has been to. However if I'm a CPG and show a mobile ad to someone outside the store and later see that shopper in Walmart, who knows if they are there with purchase intent for my product? Combine the above capability with SKU path-to-purchase guidance, SKU purchase intent metrics, SKU path-to-purchase action metrics and store-level SKU lift metrics and this becomes revolutionarily useful to Brand manufacturers, not just retailers. Revolutionarily.... ; )

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