So what did Energizer actually learn from this, besides the fact that the technology is still maturing? Well, for one, Apple’s developer guidelines affect the way beacons work.
In the case of the Energizer campaign, consumers within the beacon’s radius were prompted to open certain shopping apps owned by or partnering with inMarket (provided they had those apps installed on their devices). Once opened, they’d be offered a piece of content, like a coupon, accessible once they viewed a full-screen Energizer ad.
But because Apple’s developer guidelines forbid serving third-party marketing messages within push notifications, Energizer couldn’t target, say, consumers most likely to buy its batteries. The targeting parameters were much broader: people within the vicinity who had installed an app in inMarket’s network.
“At least for right now, it’s not perfect,” said Angel Grant, a partner and senior director of digital strategy at MEC, and also the digital lead on the Energizer account. “It’s a little random, but at least it’s getting us in front of someone when they’re in a store that has Energizer products.”
There are, however, workarounds. Apple’s new Wallet app in iOS 9 lets an advertiser push dynamic, geotargeted offers directly to users who have added that brand to their Passbook.
So instead of having to use its own app (a moot point, since Energizer doesn’t have one) or to rely on a third-party app network, Passbook essentially becomes the delivery point for targeted ads.
In the future, MEC might experiment with getting users to add Energizer to their Passbook first and then target them more directly using beacons through that integration, said Pasqua.
“This campaign was an important benchmark for us,” she said. “[But] we’re trying to move toward more experiential and contextual forms of media, especially when it comes to mobile.”
Everything In Moderation
The Clorox Co. is another advertiser that’s playing around with beacons, working with inMarket to promote its sub-brands Hidden Valley Ranch and Soy Vay during back-to-school season this year.
Beacons worked fairly well for Energizer because the target market was fairly general. “In terms of the audience, Energizer is for pretty much anyone,” Grant said.
But MEC also works on the Edgewell Personal Care account – formerly Energizer's personal care unit; it was spun off into a separate company in July – which includes brands like Skintimate, Playtex, Carefree, Stayfree and o.b., and where general targeting isn’t going to fly.
“They only want to target women [and], at this point, the network doesn’t have enough scale to be able to segment just female-skewing apps,” Grant said. “But once that gets solved, we’ll see more advertisers potentially leveraging those networks for targeting.”