Google Beacons & Why They Are Right For Your Business


Back in 2015, Google launched its Beacon programme. This new technology was set to “change the way consumers interact with brands” but it never quite took off the way Google had initially anticipated. In fact, it’s likely that you’ve never even heard of the programme in the first place. The marketing industry is no stranger to implementing new technologies only for them to disappear a few years later and the launch of Google Beacon was certainly no exception.

The launch of the programme was perhaps a little premature with numerous reports of integration and technological issues from the get-go. But that was then and this is now, and many of those initial teething problems have been solved. So is now the right time for Google Beacon to make a comeback?


What is a Beacon?

The Beacon itself is a small device that uses a technology known as Bluetooth low energy or BLE for short. This allows the device to send out signals over a short distance, generally, a few meters in proximity, enabling the transmission of highly targeted messages or information to be sent to mobile devices within the Beacon’s proximity.

With a recent update, you’re not just limited to one Beacon. You can build up a network of Beacons throughout your shop, shopping centre or just about any retail environment. This allows the brand or shop owner to deliver highly targeted messages or promotions to customers’ mobile devices as they move through your store or around different locations.

Measuring Success

As part of the Google family, the device can be linked up to other Google services such as Google Ads, Analytics and even your Google My Business profile. Linking a Beacon to your Google Ads account will even allow you to gain valuable insights about your customers’ offline activities that would be previously unattainable. A few simple tweaks to your attribution modelling will grant you an additional understanding of how your PPC campaigns have impacted your foot traffic. Store visit conversions could be a primary goal for many businesses’ paid campaigns but Google Beacon can provide you with even more insightful data. How your campaigns, ad groups or even keywords impact store visits are all invaluable forms of data and could be used to further drive business decisions.

The Google Beacon device also partners up well with your Google My Business listing. I’m sure that you’ve stumbled across Google’s ‘popular times’ feature when searching for a new business, store, coffee shop or even gym. It’s the little graph that appears as part of the GMB listing that shows you how busy the location is during different times of the day. A Google Beacon can be used to further enhance that data and provide existing and future customers with more information, allowing them to better plan their visit. They can also be used to encourage shoppers to leave your business a review by sending a message or notification to their mobile device, helping to improve the visibility of your GMB listing.

Using Google Beacon In The Real World

Online shopping is very convenient and is often the first port of call for consumers, but bricks and mortar stores are still very popular and often preferred by some customers. While Beacons are not limited to retail environments, they have been the most common use cases so far. Below is a look at some of the key benefits and opportunities that Google Beacons have to offer:

In-Store Mapping

Have you ever stepped foot into a new shop and immediately felt lost? You know exactly what product you’re looking for but you just can’t find it. Google Beacon makes creating in-store navigation routes possible, assisting those customers that are having a hard time finding those elusive products.

Beacons also enable you to gauge a better understanding of the customer’s in-store journey. How they move through the store, interact with in-store promotions, even how long customers spend in certain sections. This can help you determine the effectiveness of your merchandising, layout and your point-of-sale promotions.

Promotional Deals & Messages

Offering real-time promotional offers to customers that enter your store or business can become a reality with Google Beacon. Perhaps informing customers about current deals that are going on at the moment or offering shoppers a unique promotional code straight to their mobile device, just for being in the store. You could even target those specific customers that leave without making a purchase in an attempt to entice them back. The opportunities really are endless!

Mobile-Based Loyalty Programmes

Customer loyalty programmes are nothing new. For some customers, collecting loyalty points can become an obsession while others despise the idea. One thing that is for sure is that mobile-based loyalty schemes are preferred to any traditional methods currently available. With the use of Beacons, automatically attributing and crediting loyalty points to users when they enter your shop becomes a possibility, something that 73% of shoppers are on-board with. Loyalty points could be collected and stored within their mobile wallet every time a customer makes an in-store purchase. The automatic attribution of loyalty points also removes the need for clunky, out-dated signup processes that often deter the customer from enrolling in the first place.

We hope that this blog has shed some light on a programme that may have been forgotten by many. While the Google Beacon programme may have had a rocky start, the recent updates and adjustments have definitely helped it get back on track. 2020 may not be the best time to place an emphasis on in-store marketing, the technology that many business owners have at their disposal can certainly be beneficial in bridging the gap between your online and offline customer experience.