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Beacon messages cause drop in app use when overdone: report

New research being released today shows that marketers risk a 313 percent drop in application use when more than one beacon message is delivered per location. 

On the other hand, when beacons are used as a utility, this can lead to a 500 percent increase in interactions compared to standard push notifications with location relevancy, according to the report from inMarket. The research, some of the first to address best practices in the quickly growing beacon space, underscores the need for marketers to tread carefully as they roll out their beacon strategies so they do not turn off customers with too many messages.  

?Beacons are definitely a very powerful tool,? said Todd Dipaola, CEO of inMarket. ?You could even call it a power tool ? it is like a buzz saw. 

?You could use it to build a house and do something constructive or you can accidentally cut your own finger off,? he said. ?So how do you build beautiful things without cutting fingers off?

?Some of the data we found shows that when you have utility in your app and have these context aware experiences, you can really drive a lot of enhanced use, a lot of additional user delight. But if you do it the wrong way, you deliver things that aren?t relevant to people or you over message them, similarly you can drive those same users away.?

Less is more
The inMarket beacon platform, which was launched in January, enables retailers to deliver branded content to their shoppers as they use their favorite apps. 

The research shows that shoppers who receive branded messages in store are 7.5 times more likely to seek out the product off the shelf than those who do not. 

Additionally, a survey of 1,500 inMarket shoppers conducted in September found that 68 percent find in-store reminders from their shopping apps more helpful than out-of-store reminders.  

However, a small controlled test to determine how often to communicate with shoppers, reveals that over-saturation and irrelevant beacon pushes caused app usage to decline and apps to be deleted. 

Specifically, more than one beacon push per location caused a 313 percent drop in app usage among shopping app users.

?People are getting pop-ups multiple times as they walk through a store in different departments,? Mr. Dipaola said. 

?After you start talking to someone more than once while they are in store, they tend to go away and not come back,? he said. 

?So you want to make sure when you talk to someone , it is always in a helpful way. That it is not a pop-up but ultimately a utility? 

Holiday ramp up
Since launching its M2M beacon solution in January, inMarket has partnered with companies such as Hillshire Brands, Epicurious and Zatarain?s to deliver beacon messaging to app users when they are in retail locations. 

More than 50 million consumers use apps on the inMarket platform. Typically, an app will deliver a message reminding users they have a shopping list, providing recipe tips or promoting loyalty opportunities. 

?We are definitely coming into to a time where beacons are mainstream and being used,? Mr. Dipaola  said. ?So I think consumers will see them during the holidays. 

?I think if it is done the right way, they won?t see a lot of them,? he said. ?They will see the when they are helpful but they won?t see them at every single moment.?

Final Take?
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York