iBeacons: smart billboards that connect to your phone

iBeacons are an Apple protocol that most of us probably haven’t heard of or aren’t familiar with it. In layman’s terms, iBeacon technology allows iPhone users to connect wirelessly to other devices and electronic setups that use ‘beacons’ to transmit information. And they’re causing a stir in the advertising world as it enables adverts to literally jump off the billboard and onto your phone.

iBeacons outdoor advertising

What are iBeacons?

The beacons themselves are small Bluetooth transmitters that send out signals to your iPhone. Apps installed on your iPhone then respond to these signals once you come within range of a beacon. They’re cheap-to-make, low-energy devices that can be embedded into different media, for example, billboards, bus stops, shop signs etc. For this reason there is great potential to use iBeacon technology as part of an effective out-of-home advertising campaign.

iBeacons and Out-of-Home advertising

iBeacons have been welcomed by the Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising industry with open arms, with several national brands already adopting iBeacon advertising campaigns. Out-of-Home includes a wide variety of advertising spaces that aim to reach people when they are on the go, out of their homes. It includes outdoor ads billboards, bus ads, and posters, as well as ads in other public spaces like malls and train stations. It’s an effective way to reach a large audience with nearly guaranteed exposure, but iBeacons technology can take an OOH campaign to a whole ‘nother level.

How can you use iBeacons in an advertising campaign?

iBeacons are exciting because they enable a whole new level of consumer interaction. Those posters and billboards you walk past every day will soon be coming to life and communicating with you on a personal level. For example, Tesco teamed up with Unilever to launch a campaign for Magnum ice creams that sent London consumers exclusive discount coupons when they walked past iBeacons located in Tesco stores across the city.

As well as offering consumers on-the-spot discounts, iBeacon technology has also been used to notify consumers if any item in their mobile shopping bag is in stock as they pass a shop, streamline click and collect services by enabling shops to keep a customer’s order ready just before they arrive, as well as to offer advertisers valuable insight into a consumer’s lifestyle.

iBeacons also have the added benefit of providing more detailed counts of foot traffic for an advertising site by measuring the number of smartphone users that pass by. That’s pretty useful information when it comes to choosing which would be the most effective locations for your advertising campaign.

Further to that, iBeacons are also compatible with iPhones, unlike NFC technology. Since nearly half of all UK smartphone users own an iPhone, its vital technology that enables you to reach your entire target audience.

Is there a downside to iBeacons?

Of course, iBeacons aren’t completely without flaws. They do require a solid 4G or 3G connection to function properly. But truth be told, if you’re in a locale that could make use of iBeacons, you’ll probably be capable of connecting to that at any time with fairly little trouble.

With advertising spaces across the UK now adopting iBeacon technology its easier than ever to actively connect with consumers as part of your outdoor advertising campaign. Get in touch to book your advertising space and we’d love to chat some more with you about how you could use iBeacon to reach your customers.

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