Blog : Mobile Advertising

Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons Are Making Mobile Apps Smarter

Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons Are Making Mobile Apps Smarter

Advertisements today can be overwhelming to consumers. Especially in the last decade as advertising has come to focus upon online consumerism, customers are constantly bombarded with popups for the latest and greatest products. The negative response to this shift in marketing has led to a need for innovative and unique technologies that avoid overwhelming consumers while still reaching an audience. Indoor location technologies, such as Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons, is one of these innovative designs.

What are BLE Beacons?

Bluetooth Beacons are wireless devices that draw attention to a specific location, within a finite space. A clear example of a beacon is a lighthouse: its light draws attention from offshore ships, letting the ships know their distance from the lighthouse and the shore. Bluetooth Beacons do the same thing in a virtual environment, allowing brick-and-mortar businesses to send out signals to mobile devices in the immediate area.

Bluetooth Low-Energy Beacons, also known as Bluetooth 4.0, are just as their name suggests. They do the same thing in practice while maintaining low energy consumption.

How do BLE Beacons work?

The wireless device draws attention to its location by periodically putting out a radio signal. This radio signal consists of a small packet of data, usually advertisements. A beacon at a sports store, for example, might periodically send signals for current deals on hiking boots. Compatible mobile devices within close proximity to the beacon (usually about 100 meters) would then receive those advertisements, triggering applications to prompt responses like push messages or actions.

Why use a BLE Beacon?

Bluetooth Beacons, in general, allow businesses to deliver highly contextualized and personalized advertisements to their customers. Unlike other indoor location technologies such as GPS and NFC, Beacons are hyper-localized and specified for indoor environments. This means that the customer isn’t going to get advertisements for every store in the mall, but they also don’t need to be standing directly next to a product to receive an advertisement.

BLE Beacons also cost 60-80% cheaper than classic Bluetooth Beacons (although classic Bluetooth is recommended for more complex applications). Their low-energy consumption allows them to last much longer than the classic Bluetooth Beacon. The BLE Beacon stays in sleep mode unless it is actively configuring a connection, so it can last up to 3 years on one coin-cell sized battery.

Who benefits from using BLE Beacons?

Both Classic Bluetooth and BLE Beacons can be beneficial to a company. Classic Bluetooth can handle larger amounts of data, but BLE Beacons are ideal for transmitting advertisements to applications that periodically use small amounts of data. This, in addition to their low-energy consumption and cheaper cost, means that small businesses may benefit from using a BLE model over classic Bluetooth location technology.

The value of in-store retail sales influenced by beacon technology increased by $40 million between 2015 and 2016. The benefit of being able to personalize advertisements to customers continues to appeal to businesses, and it’s expected that 4.5 million beacons will be active by 2018.

Programmatic Native Advertising

Programmatic Native Advertising

We’ve all had the experience of mobile pages loading almost instantly, littered with gaping holes in the text. After a few seconds, we see those holes filled by an advertisement that finally drops into place. A significant reason for this lag-time is the different file types used to create those mobile pages. Often times, when that ad finally appears, it may not quite “fit” the page.

By its very nature, mobile content has to be powerful. It needs to be nimble on delivery. To meet the needs of the mobile user experience (UX), Google created the open-source format, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). Their end-purpose is to load mobile data quickly regardless of the mobile platform.

Users expect close to an immediate load, but studies show that “an alarming 77% of (mobile) publisher’s today, their web pages take more than 10 seconds to load…and the average is actually 19 seconds.” The same studies show that publisher’s “who can deliver this content in five seconds or less earn twice as much (search volume) as those at the average point.”
Paul Muret VP, Display, Video & Analytics, Google

Google announced the AMP format in December 2015; soon mobile screens were rapidly filled with new content. This covered the main content of the mobile pages. Unfortunately, the advertisements were still left dragging with a format that took longer to load, thus creating the gaping holes.

The solution was Google’s release this month of AMP for Ads. This format allows for advertising content to load at the same rate as the page content. Google also announced AMP for landing pages. This way, all mobile content is delivered seamlessly without the time gaps.

What about the mobile UX?

This technology translates to a cleaner transmission of page elements. But how do you tackle the issue of merging content, context, and UX? The answer is the Programmatic Native Advertisement in their DBM (DoubleClick Bid Manager). In short, Google has created an environment where advertisements are built from scratch to maximize each individual page load.

Before now, the artwork for a mobile ad was selected from amongst three or four established graphics previously built by a graphic artist. As an ad was called up, the best fitting graphic was chosen for that request/platform. Now, when an advertisement is requested to fill a unique audience/seller/publisher combination, the ad is crafted from scratch to fill that request. Each of the elements of those artworks is individually uploaded. The computer decides the best selection, configuration, and layout of those separate elements, relative to the audience. This programmatic approach allows for a fluid display of content across all campaigns and platforms.

Think of it this way – currently, a graphic artist may use a graphic design program to craft a polished graphic. That artwork may consist of 30 or 40 layers of visual elements. When they’re finished, a couple of polished elements are presented as options dependent upon the needs of the ad. Now imagine taking a collection of those graphic elements and tossing them all into a bowl. Programmatic Native Advertisement will select a specific cluster of those elements to create a new graphic, for each page load. The ad will be built to fill the screen, platform, size, device, all built in context to the user.

The beauty in this development is not so much the uniform data transfer rates, as it is the context in which the advertisements are experienced. The ad’s form and function will be subordinate to the mobile user experience (UX). This technology adds a unique flexibility to advertisements in the mobile universe. Gone are the days of guessing how to best craft your mobile message. If you have questions about addressing your audience, contact Colure’s development team.