Location Data Insights

How to Monetize Your Beacon Deployments

February 28, 2016
Romet Kallas
Account Executive

In my last blog post, I wrote about the power of beacon networks. Specifically, how more parties (brands, media publishers, venue owners and apps) can leverage the same beacon infrastructure to scale and reduce costs.

The price of getting started with location-based marketing can often be a determining factor. So instead of seeing it as a cost, is it possible to turn your proximity deployments into new revenue streams instead?

Of course it is, and here is how:

#1 Involve more parties to the project

Location-based marketing is leveraged in several industries, but locations like shopping malls, airports, stadiums, conferences and exhibitions have a unique opportunity. An opportunity to monetize their proximity sensor network by letting additional companies tap into the infrastructure. Let me give you a few examples:

  • An airport deploys beacons to enable their passengers to navigate between terminals and to receive further information about departure times, queue times, etc.
  • A stadium deploys beacons to deliver match scores, highlights or additional details about the teams to visitors smartphones
  • A conference or exhibition owner deploys beacons to enable their visitors to check in with smartphones or to view the schedule, etc

All of these use cases are realistic ones to get started with proximity, but there is more to it. Usually, these places host and cooperate with a range of brands, food chains or additional companies, inside their venue, who would all be very interested in engaging their customers in real-time. So for a certain subscription fee, the location owner can let these businesses to leverage the existing beacon network, which they would host regardless; creating a passive, but meaningful, revenue stream.

#2 Rent out your beacon network

Just as you can rent out a house, a car, you can do the same with beacons. How does it work? The sensor owner would list their beacon information and open up their network. In return app owners, publishers or even other beacon companies pay either a monthly, weekly or per interaction fee for using that network; creating a passive revenue stream for the network owner. For example:

  • An airport could rent out their beacon network to AirBnB, so that the latter could greet arriving passengers with special offers
  • Conference venue owners could rent out beacon networks for particular events
  • Out of Home Advertisers could rent out beacon networks, so that event organizers in a specific area could promote their event
  • A beacon company could rent out their network to another beacon company for a cross-country campaign

On top of new revenue, more interactions generate more location data which can be used for advanced analytics and for more personalized customer experience.

#3 Monetize location data in online advertising

Online publishers are hungry for accurate location data, but according to adexchanger, only 1% of location data, used by online advertisers, is actually accurate. Proximity marketing campaigns generate increasingly more and more precise location data, but it is usually only used for analytical purposes. Advertisers are willing to pay top dollar for that location data, but it is isolated from them. So Proximity Solution Providers possess an opportunity to monetize the interactions from proximity sensors in online advertising, but there are some challenges:

  • Tagging the data - Data from your sensors needs to be properly tagged (translated into context), processed and maintained
  • Reach - To reach audience at scale, you need to integrate with different ad exchange companies like Oracle Bluekai, Mediamath, Adform, etc.
  • Flexibility - All of the ad platforms use different data structures, so you need to be able to maintain separate datasets and customer segments, that match with the taxonomy of a specific ad exchange company
  • Scale - While there is a demand towards accurate location data, you need to be able to deliver data at scale for ad exchange companies to be interested in investing their resources
  • Extra resources - Integrating with ad exchange companies takes a considerable amount of time and resources that you need to be able to set apart from your core business

#4 Join Unacast PROX

Using proximity data in online advertising is our core business at Unacast. We provide Proximity Solution Providers (PSPs) an opportunity to monetize their beacon deployments in additional ways. In other words, sensor interactions that are usually used for analytical purposes can also be monetized in online advertising; giving the PSP an additional revenue stream. By joining Unacast PROX we solve the previously mentioned challenges:

  • Tagging the data - To make sure that the beacon is tagged with proper data we support our partners with the Sensor API; a tool that helps to translate each proximity interaction into context
  • Reach - We have already partnered with the large global media platforms to make sure we reach a big enough audience. And more media platforms are joining each month.
  • Flexibility - We have created a universal proximity data taxonomy. Which will help us to control that the data we forward matches the taxonomy with our ad exchange partners
  • Scale - Thanks to the rapidly growing PROX network of over 40 Proximity Solution Providers, we can deliver location data at scale
  • Extra resources - The Proximity Solution Provider doesn’t need to set aside a notable amount of additional resources once they have integrated with Unacast PROX and the Sensor API. The data flow is seamless, making sure that the PSP can focus on their core business

To conclude, it’s limiting to think of location-based marketing as merely a cost on the balance sheet to achieve better customer engagement or insight.

Yes, although it is true that an investment is required to get started with proximity marketing, it can and should be turned into a new and meaningful revenue stream, which easily outweighs the initial costs.