Coca-Cola And Unacast Use Beacons To Retarget Moviegoers Before And After The Credits Roll

The Scandinavian proximity marketing program drove 60 percent CTR, as ads returned consumers back to the theater for more.

Unacast's Thomas Walle
Unacast’s Thomas Walle

A beacon marketing effort arranged by proximity retargeting platform Unacast for Coca-Cola demonstrated how physical businesses can use location-based advertising beyond direct response-oriented push notifications.

The campaign involved Norwegian media conglomerate Schibsted and Nordic cinema chain operator CAPA with the purpose of promoting Coke products at the concession stand and then in the days after smartphone-toting consumers left the theater.

Cinemagoers who initially opted-in to receive a beacon-based push notification were offered a free Coke that could be redeemed while they were at the CAPA theater.

To get users to turn on their smartphone’s Bluetooth receiver, which is main way to accept a message via beacons, readers who had an app from VG, a major Norwegian newspaper owned by Schibsted, on their mobile device were given a prompt and asked if they were interested in a free Coke before the movie started.

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Almost a quarter of moviegoers with the VG app (Unacast points out that 30 percent of all Norwegians have it on their device) clicked on the offer of a free coke and half of them actually went to the concession stand and redeemed the offer. But Unacast believed the campaign could have a wider impact beyond push notifications at a multiplex. The goal of the Coke marketing effort ultimately became a test of the depth of a beacon affect and how it influenced a customer’s longer-term relationship with the brand.

Customers who redeemed the offer for a free coke were then retargeted a few days later with an offer of a free promotional movie ticket to encourage them to go back to the theater.

About 60 percent of customers clicked through that offer, a number that Unacast dubs “extraordinary” considering that VG normally achieves average click through rates of 0.18 percent on mobile ad campaigns. Of those that clicked the ad, 50 percent went back to the cinema and redeemed the offer of a free ticket.

“As we know, beacons can be used to create a great experience for people at a specific location and we see many companies doing great campaigns using push notifications,” Thomas Walle, CEO of Unacast told Geomarketing. “What we and Coca-Cola found interesting was to use the knowledge about customers entering a specific location, in this case the cinema, to retarget them online later and make the ads more relevant and less spammy.”

“From a brand perspective, we believe this is the best way to execute a beacon campaign,” said Walle. “First, do push notifications at the location and then retarget them at a later point to create a more engaging and holistic experience with the brand.”

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It’s not clear if Coke will extend its Scandinavian proximity effort to other areas, such as the US. The soft drink brand is likely to do some more pilot programs like this one to ensure the efficacy of beacons and their ability as a retargeting tool.

Clearly, Knut Anders Thorset, senior manager of Digital Sales & Marketing, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Norway, is enthused by the initial results of the campaign, which ran in May and June.

“As one of the world’s biggest brands, we are always looking for new opportunities to engage consumers,” said Thorset in a statement. “This trial proves that beacons enable brands like Coke to use existing media channels in new ways. The hyper-relevance beacons provide ensures that we can amplify our role and deliver something of real value to both retailers and consumers.  Unacast has harnessed the power of proximity marketing, making it a genuinely viable, scalable channel. We look forward to the results from the further roll out.”

Unacast is among a number of global companies that have been laying the groundwork for the mainstream use of beacons and other proximity marketing tools.

Last month, Unacast, in conjunction with the backing of the global-focused Location Based Marketing Association, created an open database of tech providers called Proxbook. A free service for both providers and viewers, Proxbook provides a clear listing of the various players in the space. Over 140 “proximity solution providers” from 32 countries with 880,000 sensors are already included, representing an estimated 50 percent of the market.

Unacast estimates that “by the end of next year, the industry will consist of over 500 proximity companies globally with over 10 million proximity sensors deployed, further validating the need for a unified backend of proximity, like Unacast,” the company said.

Source: BEEKn

With the evidence from Coke’s Scandinavian campaign and the creation of Proxbook, Unacast believes it can prove the effectiveness of proximity marketing technology.

“With this trial, both the in-store value of proximity sensors like beacons and the value of using the data to retarget customers online is becoming clearer,” said Walle. “It proves what Unacast has believed from the outset, that proximity marketing is the next big advertising opportunity. As the backend of all proximity data, aggregating and standardizing millions of data sources globally, Unacast is in the unique position to now deliver that potential to all parties in the ecosystem, from consumers to advertisers, media owners to ad platforms, retailers to venues.“

Gareth Williams, CAPA’s commercial director, appears convinced.

“The results of this trial are incredibly exciting and point to a bright future for cinema within the field of proximity marketing,” Williams said in a statement. “Not only can we drive footfall for our cinemas through online retargeting, more importantly, it allows us to offer advertisers greater reach and more added value than ever before. This trial has worked well for us and as a result we are looking at ways to roll out across the rest of our network later this year and ultimately provide more commercial opportunities such as in-app pre rolls for a truly integrated media offering… at the cinema.”

About The Author
Daniel Parisi Daniel Parisi @daniel_parisi_

Daniel Parisi is a New York City-based writer and recent graduate of the University of Maryland. Daniel specializes in coverage of mobile payments, loyalty programs, and the Internet of Things.