Did anyone else get accepted in to Google’s Completely Free Project beacon today?
I’ve just received an email from Google informing me that my client a 4 practice dental group has been accepted for Google’s Project beacon and they will be delivered in the next two weeks. How exciting?
Google Trends is showing that search volume has exploded today which tells me there’s a lot of new businesses getting a shiny new beacon any day soon.
From my research it’s a device that is installed at your business address increases your venues potential to be visible on Google when a user is nearby using there mobile/smart phone.
I’ve witnessed this on my mobile device in the Aldi car park the other day. I stepped out of my motor and immediately my phone pinged with a special Festive offer on mince pies. Clever stuff. Shame I don’t like mince pies.
How Does Project Google Beacon Work?
So these Google Beacons ping out a signal to nearby mobile users that have location services on (which most of us do, unless we are down to 1% battery). When they are near your beacon and search for certain things that are related to your business, the chances of you appearing in the results is increased if they are near you.
It does not store customer information, it only sends out a location based signal.
WHY IS GOOGLE BETTING ON BEACONS?
Apple has been conspicuously quiet about iBeacons which it brought to market well over 3 years ago and there is talk that Beacons are just a solution looking for a problem.
So why is Google developing a Beacon ecosystem with so much passion? Well, there are several challenges that it could solve if this bet pays off.
Google claims that 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day. AdWords already enables marketers to do location-based targeting and promote local search ads on Google Maps, but the tricky challenge of tracking visits reliably still remains.
Currently, these visits are guestimated through GPS, and/or Wi-Fi, but with beacons in the mix such estimates will become more accurate.
Today, the main pricing model is Cost Per Click, in future, Google could introduce a Cost Per Visit model by identifying and attributing visitor walkthroughs inside stores to campaigns that store owners run. Imagine a pricing model based on how many customer walk through your front door? Exciting stuff.
For example – if Denise was to search for “restaurants near me” and was within the range of your beacon, the chances of your Restaurant showing up in the search results MAY be a lot higher than before.
You’re likely already familiar with “near me” searches, where you open your phone and conduct a search such as “restaurants near me.”
If you were a restaurant owner, here’s what you could do utilise Google beacons:
- Broadcast the daily specials to all receptive smart devices in the area.
- Share how freshly brewed the coffee is.
- Offer turn-by-turn directions to people walking on the street.
- Let your customer pay without ever taking out their wallet or cell phone.
- Send updates about upcoming events.
I say MAY as whilst there are several benefits supposedly available it depends on a few factors as to whether your business will be eligible. For example the amount of footfall your business gets is one of the criteria.
However, I’m all for embracing new mobile tech developments and it seems this technology will enable my clients to tap in to existing and new location-related features across Google.
On top of this Google will be unveiling new features so I’m thinking it’s a clever idea for most businesses to trial it out and not get left behind.
Payment without pain
One final area in which beacons stand to refine the customer experience yet further is payment. Now, I’ll be honest, with the advent of contactless it seemed to me that the process of paying for the things I want is already about as frictionless as I need it to be. The fact I can pay with my phone just means I get to wave it rather than my card in the direction of the store’s NFC terminal.
But beacons could help take even that minor inconvenience out of the equation by giving Android Pay the opportunity to operate in a similar fashion to PayPal’s Beacon system. Once the notifications have sent you an offer you can’t refuse, you can accept the offer with a tap, wander into store to pick up your goods and leave again without taking your phone out of your pocket. If it works like the PayPal system, your image will appear on the retailer’s screen, they’ll acknowledge it’s you, and the transaction will be completed without you having to raise a finger.
That may sound like a refinement too far, but when you consider the current trials of checkout-free stores, its capabilities like this that will enable them
Here’s a brief summary of possible benefits:-
· Google Beacons help provide more accurate insights on how people interact with your business.
· Higher visibility on personal Google maps – only when people opt-in for location history (I wouldn’t bother checking… you probably are),
· Allowing user-generated content (like photos and reviews) to be gathered from visitors to your venue,
· Increase the accuracy of ‘popular times’ and visit duration’s to your venue – hopefully soon it will give you a live update of current visitors and
Safe to say, that is some great features packed into a compact device. I really think this beacon is going to useful for both the venue and its customers, considering how people mobile usage is at an all-time high.
If you want to get your hands on a free beacon, shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively contact us on and I’ll send you a link and best practices on how to set it up.
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