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Coca-Cola pops open beacons? potential for more precise retargeting

Coca-Cola leveraged beacon technology in movie theaters in Norway to both target and then retarget smartphone-equipped consumers, with 24 percent clicking to collect a free soda while at the theater. 

One of the goals of the campaign was to collect data on moviegoers so Coca-Cola could then retarget them a week later with an offer for a free ticket to return the movie theater, with 60 percent clicking on this ad and 20 percent redeeming the offer. Coca-Cola is now in conversations with Unacast to extend the program throughout Scandinavia and into Europe. 

?It was a pilot at one cinema in the Nordic,? said Thomas Walle Jensen, co-founder and CEO of Unacast. ?It was enough customers for Coke to prove that this works, that they were able to engage with customers to bring them back to the cinema. 

?Instead of buying huge audiences, this enables them to advertiser with a very high precision, so the ROI is much higher,? he said. 

Online retargeting
Coca-Cola worked with CAPA cinemas, Unacast and VG, Norway?s largest newspaper on the effort. 

The campaign ran for close to eight weeks at one of CAPA?s largest movie theaters in Norway during May and June, with consumers who opened the theater?s mobile application once inside receiving a beacon-enabled notification with an offer for a free Coke that could be redeemed at the counter. 

Unacast collected data about these users so that, a week later, when any of them opened the VG news app on their phones, they would receive a Coca-Cola ad offering them a free ticket that could be redeemed at the movie theater. 


While a number of major retailers, such as Target, Macy?s and Kohl?s, are leveraging beacons to enhance the in-store experience, what is unique about the Coca-Cola program is the focus on leveraging the data that beacons can provide about users to deliver online retargeting ads. 

The 60 percent click-through rate for the retargeting ad stands in stark contrast to the 0.18 percent click-through on online ads that VG normally sees and points to the potential of beacons and proximity to drive results for marketers by increasingly the relevancy of their ads. 

Marketing efficiency
Harnessing proximity data to connect consumers to their digital selves is what Unacast specializes in, giving marketers a way to target and retarget on mobile based on granular physical behavior and intent. 

The results show that beacons can be used to reach consumers at a physical location and trigger product sampling, to retarget users online at a later date and to drive consumers back to a physical location. 


As proximity campaigns become more common, marketers may find it challenging to repeat such strong results, but the effort points to how marketers can improve their customer relevance and control marketing spend by leveraging proximity for more precise targeting and retargeting. 

?We believe most of the value is in how the data is collected and used later in online advertising,? Mr. Jensen said. 

?In a years time, it is not necessarily push notifications that will be the main goal, but to collect data for later use,? he said. 

?There has to be a certain technology involved that enables this and that is the core technology of Unacasat - we are able to collect beacon proximity data and link it up to online advertising.? 

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