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Recently Google has been sending out ‘beacons’ to businesses across the East Neuk of Fife, for free. The devices come with minimal information other than instructions on how to activate the devices and a quick overview of the alleged benefits for your business if you utilise the device.
Google make the following claims for their device:
- Project Beacon will help new customers discover your business by gathering reviews from Google Local Guides
- The device will help customers plan visits to your premises by showing more accurate popular times, wait times and visit durations in Google Maps & Google Search
- The device will gather customer check-ins and show up on customers’ personal Google Maps with a pin that marks your business as one they have visited before
- The device will encourage customers to take and share images of your premises on Google Maps and other Google products.
The beacon itself is a Bluetooth Low Energy device (BLE) which emits a signal to nearby bluetooth enabled devices such as smartphones and tablets. The signals emitted from the beacon give an accurate location of where the beacon is located. This is really handy for businesses located in a rural environment as customers can get more accurate directions to their premises. Additionally, when a device is within proximity of the beacon it can receive information about your business such as displaying special offers.
Unfortunately the devices Google is currently sending out do not allow you to program your own business message. Any data transmitted by the device is fully controlled by Google. Information about your business is gathered via any Google Ads account you may be running for your business and your Google My Business account.
Essentially the free beacon that Google has provided is for the purpose of collecting data such as how many people are visiting your business and the duration of their visits. This may be helpful from an SEO stance, if you have a busy store and utilising one of the free beacons, it is likely that Google will list your business higher on Google Search and Google Maps listings. If you deploy the beacon it will allow store conversion to become enabled in your Google Ads account which will help your business to attribute actual store visits from your Google Ads.
For our own business, the main advantage for us is the possibility of improved map accuracy as we are located in a very rural area. We are on the outskirts of the small East Neuk village; Arncroach Yet our address is bizarrely listed as Anstruther (a couple of miles away) which has created a few confused and lost clients but has helped us improve our search & rescue efforts!
Beyond our own benefits, the free Google Beacons could be very beneficial for businesses with a lot of footfall traffic at their premises. To get the most out of Google Beacon for your business we recommend you to review their help pages.
If you are looking for a Google Beacon that you can modify to deliver your own custom messages (web or app content) you can view the Google Beacon Platform with Eddystone to find a manufacturer.
If you have recently received a Google Beacon why not leave us a comment below with your feedback and opinions on the device, and if you have seen any positive benefit from using the beacon.