Mobile is taking over the world. The consumer shift to mobile via the smart phone is unlike anything we’ve seen in history. As a result of this shift location has become a pivotal method for marketers to use data to make better informed decisions. This type of mobile technology is more important than ever, however there are many marketers who have yet to harness the power of location based data. “A personalized and contextually relevant experience is more compelling to users, and increasingly, location is a factor that enhances personalization and makes the user experience more relevant.” (1) Some marketers simply aren’t sure which location based service (LBS) to utilize to their advantage.
The three main location based services are Bluetooth/Beacons, WIFI, and GPS. Each of them have advantages and limitations.WIFI traditionally has not been a proximity marketing solution. But with companies, specifically retailers, now having WIFI hotspots in their stores allow marketers to execute location based campaigns. The advantages are that it’s widely available because all smart phones inherently are able to connect to different networks and WIFI can be used without an application. Stores or companies with WIFI already can easily use this technology to engage customers. However the big disadvantage with WIFI are the privacy issues. Users don’t have a chance to opt into receiving notifications from marketers.
GPS or geofencing is “technology to pinpoint a user’s location in proximity to a given area. Using the coordinates from a user’s device, messages and actions can be pushed to users devices when they enter a predetermined area” (1) The two major advantages of GPS is that the range is unlimited, moreover, unlike WIFI, GPS requires user consent and has to opt-in. The main disadvantage is that GPS can drain the battery of a mobile device quickly. Also, GPS is not that accurate indoors and runs the risk of being to be interfered with.
And lastly, Bluetooth has way more advantages than disadvantages. “Beacons are hardware devices that can be detected by mobile devices and allow us to calculate the exact location of that device and trigger activities on that device” (2) Bluetooth/Beacons are very similar to WIFI, except they don’t require a lot of battery power, it has opt-in user consent, and is the most accurate location based messaging proximity detection. It’s also the best option for personalized and contextual messaging. It’s biggest downfall and disadvantage is it doesn’t have a huge range and requires a mobile app. However some would say those aren’t really disadvantages because it inherently is user privacy friendly as a result of its “shortcomings”
Bluetooth/Beacons, which are the most advantageous of them all. “Beacons are also the best available technology to facilitate indoor location positioning on a more granular scale; provide hyper-relevant, personalized messaging to users; and gather more detailed user intelligence.” (1) As a result, Bluetooth seems to be the method of the future for location based marketing and targeting. I wonder if it will remain the preferred technology or will a new technology come in and disrupt it?
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