Analysis of Promising Beacon Technology for Consumers

By Marisa Moody
Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications
2015, Vol. 6 No. 1 | pg. 3/3 |

V. Conclusion

Beacon manufacturing and in-store mobile marketing companies continue to target brands and advertisers with their technologies, confident that the budget will soon be allotted by companies. Swirl Networks, an iBeacon marketing platform provider, published a study indicating that 79% of those consumers who received a push notification to their smart device over six months time, made at least one purchase as a result (Charness). With such indicative potential to drive purchases, the industry is confident it won’t be long before beacons are part of our mainstream American life.

Content creation and content marketing are trending among consumers and in high demand within agencies. Beacon technology presents a new channel marketing opportunity with need for great creative content. Further exploration should consider that display and video will be the fastest-growing mobile ad formats, expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 96% and 73%, respectively, between 2013 and 2018 (Hoelzel). It is yet to be discovered how beacons can support video streaming and bandwidth delivery, but given that video is where the ad spend will be, it surely won’t be long before beacon investors find a way to include location-based marketing channels where advertisement money is spent. These companies will also be able to leverage the knowledge that in-app mobile ads perform much better than mobile web ads with click through rates averaging .56% compared to .23%. Beacons present a channel to deliver video in-app, and many individuals don’t think it won’t be long at all before advertisement dollars come knocking at the door.

Once the initial investment is made, it is really up to brand communicators to determine whether shoppers will adapt to “appreciate the service or resent the intrusion” (Brown). The opportunity is there, but it is worth recognizing that the most successful applications were rewarding due to their creative, strategic, noninvasive implementation and mutually beneficial opportunities for the brand and consumer.

“‘People are already comfortable with the idea of a content strategy for social [media],’” said Chad Rodriguez of beacon manufacturer, Sonic Notify. “‘Beacons will simply require a new content strategy for your physical space.’” It’s up to marketers and advertisers to strategically and creatively determine what’s next. For those ready to build that content strategy and invest in this innovative opportunity, it is absolutely crucial to build consumer trust, ensure relevancy and effectively communicate branded utility, especially as the BLE technology and brick-and-mortar shopping experiences come together to change the way consumers navigate stores, make purchasing decisions and digitally engage with brands.


The author thanks Dr. George Padgett, associate professor of communications at Elon University, for without his support, encouragement and valuable direction, this paper would not have been published. In addition, thanks to Pete Sena, ECD and founder of Digital Surgeons for the introduction to beacons; thanks to BBDO New York—specifically Daniel Charness, digital strategist and the author’s 2014 summer internship supervisor— for providing a foundation of understanding as to the applications and opportunities; and, lastly, thanks to Asif Khan, president of the Location Based Marketing Association, for coming to BBDO New York this summer and showcasing incredible location-based marketing work being brought to life, inspiring the author’s curiosity.


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