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What are Google Beacons & Why are They Useful?

Understand what a Google Beacon is and how beacon technology is useful for your industry, whether you own a retail business or small business.

Published on

Feb 21, 2019

Written by

Mirah Lucas

2019 just started, and there’s been a lot of talk about new internet tech trends, the future of SEO and how technology will affect Search.

Much of that talk has been about artificial intelligence, or AI, especially how Voice Search through devices, like smartphones, will affect search engine optimization.

And if you’re a business owner, like we are, then you know local SEO is important to business growth and maintenance.

Lots of people understand the concept of voice search and how it affects SEO, but not many people know about – much less understand – beacon technology.

What is a Google Beacon?

Good question.

Google developers define these devices as “one-way transmitters that are used to mark important places and objects.”

Think of it as a bluetooth hardware device that broadcasts a signal and is interpreted by nearby smart devices, such as mobile phones and smartwatches.

Google’s “Project Beacon” has provided a new platform that offers “hyper-local proximity-based communications.”

Beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy, or BLE, which is different than the bluetooth devices we’re used to using.

With BLE, data is transmitted over shorter distances and uses less energy to do so.

Because of this, their batteries last longer and makes the technology much cheaper to use than “classic bluetooth.”

This means companies and individuals alike can transmit and detect digital information around them, giving brick and mortar stores a new way to connect with their customers.

Google’s project is still being developed, but shows immense promise – a promise that you should keep an eye on because being an early adopter can only be advantageous to you and your business as technology becomes more complex.

 Why is Beacon Technology Useful?

Now that we’ve defined what a beacon is, what are they good for and who would need a Google beacon?

Beacons can be used in many different settings, including business offices, brick-and-mortar stores, museums and even hospitals.

Managers at a hospital, for instance, could potentially install beacons to ensure employees clock-in as they walk in the door before their busy day starts, instead of walking to a particular location to punch in their timecard.

Many retail brick-and-mortars have been considered early adopters of beacon technology.

By doing so, they remain super connected to their customers by:

  • Triggering location-based actions like reminding the customer to “check in” on social media, maybe rewarding the customer with coupons.
  • Sending messages and notifications to customers, reminding them of sales as the customer passes by sales items, such as a close-out on jeans.
  • Tracking customers to provide more data to store owners on how long someone spends in the store and what areas they’re most interested in.
  • Mobile payments give customers more convenience when paying at “point of sale.”

Beacons are setting the foundation for the future of local SEO.

They can help you better understand your customers’ behavior, allowing you to direct your messaging in a more targeted manner.

The more a customer visits your store, the better you can build your relationship with that customer because you will have concrete data on their likes and dislikes.

As you can see, this piece of technology is immensely valuable, providing you aspects of relationship building you really can’t get anywhere else.

But this is only the beginning.

Since artificial intelligence and beacons are in their infancy, their usefulness to businesses are only going to get better.

What do you think?

Are you using a Google Beacon at your store or business?

If not, why not?

Or, when do you think you’ll start using this technology?

Reply in the comments below.

We’d love to know more about you and your business!


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