Five Common Misconceptions About Beacons and Proximity Marketing
2016 has started with exciting news in the beacon world, but there are still some misconceptions.
2016 has started with a lot of exciting news from the beacon world. Rite Aid deploys inMarket beacons to over 4,500 locations, Verifone begins to use Footmarks beacons in their PoS and Mobiquity further expands their beacon network by deploying beacons to 300 cinemas.
It is the year of the Beacon.
Nevertheless, there are some very common misconceptions, often distributed by the media about the use of beacons and proximity marketing.
Here are the top 5 misconceptions:
#1 Beacons are creepy; they track me everywhere I go
It is probably the most common of them all. First of all, beacons cannot track you; they only broadcast a signal that is picked up by an app or they broadcast a URL directly to your phone. The interaction between the beacon and your device takes place at the app level, where you have to opt-in to allow beacon interactions. If you decide not to opt-in, there is no interaction and no tracking. When you choose to trust the app vendor and allow beacon interactions for a returned value, only then it is possible to locate your device’s location. Keep in mind that in order to receive contextual messages, use navigation services or any other beacon feature it is important to know the device’s location. When it comes to beacons that broadcast URL’s directly to your phone, there will be no traces of the interaction between the beacon and your device.
In short, you are in charge whether you decide to interact with beacons or not.
#2 Beacons are only used for intrusive push notifications
Unfortunately, this is not entirely wrong. It is true that when iBeacon was released in 2013, some companies started to use beacons just to overload customers with push notifications, which resulted in a bad customer experience. Fortunately, the proximity industry has already passed that phase; a lot more proximity/beacon companies are increasingly data-driven, and there are several application areas where beacons can be used other than push notifications.
#3 You need an app to use beacons
As mentioned earlier, there are two types of beacons and to bypass the app, you can use the Eddystone-URL, also known as the Physical Web beacon protocol. We have argued that greeting your customers with URL beacons currently is not the most optimal way.
But that might change soon, and here is why. The support for URL beacons from browsers is currently at a basic level and not supported on Android yet, hence the not so frictionless experience. But there are rumours that URL beacon support will be released in Chrome for Android in Q2 2016. Secondly, when Google develops native URL beacon support into Android OS, it has the potential to make the user experience a lot more frictionless.
Imagine that you could use all the iBeacon features, but don’t need an app at all.
#4 iBeacon works only on iOS and Eddystone only on Android
Wrong! iBeacons do work on Android, but with a slight difference. iBeacons can wake up apps on an iOS device even if the app is not running. On Android, on the other hand, you need to either have the app open or it needs to be running in the background. So you can use iBeacons on Android, they just work differently when compared to iOS.
As iBeacon, Eddystone is compatible with both platforms, but with an added advantage that could cost iBeacon the title of the industry standard.
Eddystone can wake up apps on both Android and iOS. How? Eddystone can also use the iBeacon frame, which means it can leverage the ability to wake up apps on iOS just like the iBeacon. We are yet to see if Eddystone will become the industry standard, but it is worth mentioning that the support of iBeacon is decreasing, while the support of Eddystone is increasing at a rapid rate among global beacon companies. But no matter who is crowned the winner, both Android and iOS is supported.
#5 Bluetooth drains battery
Let’s break down the biggest myth about beacons – phone battery drainage. Beacons broadcast a Bluetooth Low Energy signal, also known as Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth 4.0. Compared to the old Bluetooth, the Bluetooth Smart is meant to reduce power consumption significantly. It is supported on smartphones on iOS from the iPhone 4s and on Android natively from the 4.3 Jelly Bean release in 2013. goTenna ran an experiment on Oct 2015, where they were determined on finding out battery usage of different variables in an iPhone. The difference between Bluetooth on and off was so little that they couldn’t even read it on their instruments.
So Bluetooth 4.0 aka Bluetooth Smart aka Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) does not have a significant effect on battery drainage.
What are the common misconceptions about beacons or proximity marketing you have come across? Leave some thoughts in the comments section.
Our opinion series features posts written by outside contributors from all parts of the GeoMarketing community who want to share their views of the trends, issues, problems, and solutions changing the online-to-offline advertising and marketing landscape. To become a contributor, contact us at email@example.com.