Beacons and push notifications. Like peanut butter and jelly, the two have gone hand-in-hand since we started marketing on mobile.

And as good of a fit the two might make, beacons have always held the promise of something more – however elusively.

A beacon is a signal. It transmits data and corresponds with connected devices that it has permission to “see.” A beacon can report on when a device arrived at a location, where it went during its stay, when it left and how long it stayed.

For something so small, it’s really quite powerful.

When Gimbal and The Mobile Majority came together late last year, we saw an incredible opportunity to reimagine how we can use proximity hardware (like beacons) for the purpose of advertising. Our first idea was to use beacons (and geofences) to track in-store foot traffic after mobile ad exposure. This led us to develop Arrival: Dwell-Based Attribution

Today, I’m very pleased to introduce the second product of our combined offering: Beacon-Powered Mobile Ad Campaigns.

Innovating Out-of-Home Advertising

Beacon-powered advertising functions as a unique form of out-of-home retargeting.

Here’s how it works…

You deploy beacons at your OOH location like a billboard or bus stop, transforming your physical asset into a digital one capable of collecting valuable data. By computing the exact proximity of nearby users to the OOH asset, you can know with near-certainty whether or not that person was exposed to the OOH ad.

By collecting more data points on nearby users over time, you end up with a custom audience built by real-world data that only you can access. The mobile devices of people exposed to the OOH ad can now be sighted through Gimbal’s mobile SDK and made available immediately for retargeting purposes and audience extension campaigns.

Within moments after seeing a billboard, an exposed consumer can be served a corresponding mobile ad programmatically.

It’s a great way to continually reinforce a physical message with digital media.

Traditional mediums like radio and billboards are effective for top-of-funnel marketing objectives like awareness but are notoriously difficult to measure. Beacon-powered campaigns now provide an extra layer of interaction to consumers who can choose to engage with a mobile ad later in the day when they are no longer in transit.

Audience Insights? Yes, Please

Interaction and advertising aside, beacon-powered campaigns also provide you and your customers with valuable insights about your audiences – even before running a mobile campaign.

You can gather intel on the types of people that frequent your OOH locations and how often they come, and importantly where else they go. All of this loops back to inform and better your OOH strategy.

You can also gather insights on the types of people that responded to the mobile ad after your campaign, including whether or not they visited a location (through visitation attribution).

How to Get Started

If you’re an out-of-home agency looking to extend your campaigns with beacon-powered mobile advertising, employ visitation attribution, or simply understand more about the people that view your ads, we’d love to hear what you’re working on.