In 2013 Apple launched its iBeacons feature which enables mobile apps to understand their users’ location at a micro-local scale and deliver hyper relevant content based on their real time position. iBeacons can also make note of when devices enter, linger in, and exit a given area and approximate the distance between an iBeacon and target device categorising it into three distinct ranges: immediate (within a few centimetres); near (within a couple of meters) and far (greater than 10 meters away). This functionality obviously afford marketers a massive opportunity when it comes to personalised right place, right channel, right time marketing.
Fast forward six years and today there are an estimated 4,000,000 active iBeacons – up from 500,000 in 2015; an almost 900 per cent increase. And this influx does not look set to slow. In fact a new study by Persistence Market Research reveals that the iBeacon market is projected to grow at an enormous rate to reflect a CAGR of 91.4 per cent to reach an estimation of more than $37 billion by the end of 2025 from a valuation of about $200 million in 2017.
Over the years there have been many iBeacon success stories. Unsurprisingly, for instance, Apple switched on the technology across its portfolio of stores to notify customers when their when orders were ready for collection, as well as pushing prompts such as phone upgrades to customers when walking through the relevant part of the shop. Another is for McDonalds. When it tested the technology it saw a significant change in consumer behaviour. The restaurant used iBeacons to push special deals for McChicken Sandwiches across 26 of its restaurants and realised an eight per cent uplift in sales over a four week period. That equates to around an additional 100 chicken burgers per day per store. And even towns are utilising the technology. For instance Holywell in Wales installed 10 beacons at local attractions so that information on each could be picked up by mobile phones and served directly to tourists.
The benefit of iBeacon technology is that it enables greater locational accuracy than either Wi-Fi or GPS. This means that the information being gathered is more reliable. However, in order for iBeacons to realise their potential there needs to be an underlying foundation in data management. More accurate data means nothing if it isn’t compliant or being stored and analysed correctly. Then and only then can the customer journey be refined and the technology used to serve hyper-personalised, location driven communications that bolster the bottom line.
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