What is Google Beacon?
In 2018, Google’s new pilot project that had been bubbling up over the past few years was finally put into action. As part of the beta test, Google randomly sent a small ‘beacon’ to various businesses with a physical location that have a Google Business and/or Google Ads account.
The Google Beacon itself is a small rock-shaped powered device that uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to send signals within a vicinity of a small area, signals that are normally used to give an accurate location of where the beacon is located. This then connects up to devices that are able to read and pick-up on these signals, such as mobile devices, tablets and more.
How does this benefit you?
According to Google, this can be very beneficial. It can allow your company to showcase more accurate popular times, wait times and visit duration on Google Maps and Google Search to help customers decide when the best time would be to visit.
It can also enable you to connect with your customers, gathering check-ins and allow you to show up on your customers personal Google Maps with a pinpoint that marks your business as one they have visited before. A beacon can also send a special offer to a customers mobile device when the beacon is approached within a venue or send a push notification to leave a review after they have vacated your premises.
Having a beacon or a few within your business could also help record conversions. If a user sees an ad for your business on their phone or whilst logged into their Google account and two days later decides to make a visit to your premises, the beacon will pick up a signal from the mobile device within the vicinity and would then be able to mark such visit as a conversion in the businesses ad account.
So to put it simply: Google Beacon uses your phone as a check-in device to your business, albeit – the consumers just don’t necessarily always know it.
What reactions is it getting?
Some say that it will allow Google to sell ads to your customers with little to any benefit for your business. As to whether Google will decide to go down this route is unknown, but what we do know already is that the Beacon will allow the search engine to have more solid and defined information on individuals that frequent around it. This includes data on the time of which you visited this particular premises and how long you spent there, thus if you end up receiving tailored ads to ‘Shop A’ whilst you’re on your way to ‘Shop B’, you’ll start to put together that something isn’t quite right.
Others say that tracking their clients just isn’t right, even if it is a simple ping for information – especially as the consumer in mention won’t even know that they’ve been signed up to be tracked, they’re just another piece of information in a plethora of data. Granted, that Google already tracks you via your mobile phone and the devices of others, this simply will allow such tracking to be more refined and concise.
Whatever your thoughts may be with Google Beacon, it is inevitable that beacon-type devices like this, as well as other technological devices that will see beacon-type technology embedded within, will only increase and become the future of our interconnected world. As time goes on, such devices will be able to pick up every inch of data that they potentially can on us as individuals and as a consumer, it’ll then be up to us as a society to decide how we use this then easily-obtainable data.
Explore more over on the Google Beacons Platform.