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Over the last month, we’ve had several of our clients send us messages like: “We just received this “beacon” in the mail from Google….what is this thing? And what do we do with it?”

Earlier this year, Google launched a project called “Project Beacon” and started sending free beacons to a limited number of physical business locations to be a part of their pilot program.  Since it’s a new program, a lot of small businesses were confused as to why they received these devices and what they’re for. We’re here to help clarify a few things!

What is a beacon?

A beacon is a small device, powered by Bluetooth technology, that picks up data from smartphones near its location. The device collects information about visitors that enter your store and even signals users near your store when they have their location services on (which most smartphone users do).

What does the beacon do?

When a potential customer in your area searches for something related to your business, you’re more likely to show up at the top of the search results. So, you’re likely to get more store visits! It also increases the accuracy of your Google My Business data – like popular times, visit duration estimates, and direction requests. In addition, it prompts your customers to leave you reviews, post photos, and answer questions about your store after their visit.

Do I need a beacon?

If you’re a storefront business that sells physical items in your store – or has a short sales cycle for services – absolutely! You’ll get extremely accurate data about your customers, store visits, and popular foot traffic times. You’re also likely to notice an improvement in your SEO (search engine optimization) – meaning you’ll show up more often in Google search and Google Maps. And on top of all of that, you’ll find it easier to gather reviews and have customers share information about their experience with your business online. It’s an extremely valuable tool that automates and streamlines a process that was previously difficult and time-consuming.

I received one as part of the pilot program. How do I set it up?

Your beacon should come with instructions for installation, but here’s a helpful step-by-step guide from Google Ads Help.

I didn’t receive one a part of the pilot program. How do I get one?

If you didn’t receive one automatically for the Project Beacon pilot program, don’t fret! You can find a beacon for purchase here and the instructions will follow. If you need help setting your beacon up or are curious how to use the data it provides to grow your business, send us a message!