In order to reap all the benefits iBeacon technology offers, it is important for museum and art gallery curators to learn about the four critical factors of effective beacons deployments:
- Beacon placement and signal strength;
- Marketing campaign design;
- Beacon interaction with an associated software application;
- Useful iBeacon marketing campaign refinements.
iBeacon Devices: Beacon Placement and Signal Strength
Beacon devices serve as workhorses for the iBeacon system. They operate around-the-clock within a designated area of the facility. These small, battery-powered appliances broadcast their signals at ranges of up to 230 feet. Any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone within that distance can pick up beacon signal and deliver predefined marketing content through the associated software application.
For an effective beacons deployment, it is necessary to consider two important factors: signal emission and signal range. Beacon signals are radio waves, they can be absorbed by walls, metal surfaces, vitrines and even visitors. For this reason, it remains vital to place them in locations where unnecessary signal interference will be avoided, for example: above entrance doors, above interior doorways, on ceilings, at elevated points along walls or above individual exhibits or displays.
Besides delivering informative and marketing content, another important feature of iBeacon technology is monitoring a smartphone’s location as its owner browses among various displays. As a general rule, working with lower signal ranges yields better results in terms of precision. Where it is necessary, museums and galleries can cluster beacons in a way that will allow them to track signal very precisely.
Regardless of where they are placed, beacons can mesh seamlessly into the environment. They come in different colors that complement interior spaces, architecture and decorative motifs.
Marketing Campaign Design: the iBeacon Management Platform
iBeacon management platform assists museum and gallery marketing teams in designing, managing and optimizing iBeacon marketing campaigns with ease. Campaigns can take the form of on-screen notifications, text, video, audio, interactive widgets and more.
The flexibility of this process allows institutions to choose which groups of visitors to target with particular information. This is achieved by setting so called triggers, or variables for content delivery. For example, triggers could be: visitors’ real time location within the facility, their age, expressed interests, number of previous visits, time spent exploring different collections, and so forth.
Beacon Interaction with an Associated Software Application: the Mobile App
Whenever a visitor with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone walks within the radius of a broadcasting beacon, the app installed on the phone recognizes the beacon’s identifying signal. It then begins to pull beacons assigned to the store from the secure Internet site. When the beacon ID matches an action assigned to the beacon, the app launches and delivers content.
The assignment or promotion can be changed anytime, and the changes will reflect on shoppers’ smartphones in real-time. The content that is being delivered can be anything from detailed descriptions of individual pieces within a collection, supplementary audio and video segments, notifications about gift shop offers to interactive maps for navigation through the facility.
Useful iBeacon Marketing Campaign Refinements: Better Understanding
iBeacon system assists museum and gallery marketing managers in gaining a better understanding of the promotional campaigns and their visitors’ navigation through the facility. This helps to refine successive marketing efforts by tailoring communication to meet the needs of individual visitors.
The process of tracking visitor activity reveals behavioral patterns and sheds light on the performance of particular exhibits. This information proves very useful in answering the following questions:
- How did foot traffic flow through the facility?
- How much time did typical visitors spend on the premises?
- How many people visited a particular display?
- Which gallery locations attracted the most interest?
- Did visitors prefer certain collections over others?
- How does relocation impact an individual work’s popularity?
- Which items were purchased in the gift shop?
This data can be used to improve exhibit display layouts and enhance overall visitor satisfaction.