Google just killed Android Nearby Notifications. What’s next for proximity marketing using beacons?

Monika Adarsh

October 26, 2018

On October 25th, 2018, Google announced that Android will discontinue support for Nearby Notifications from December 6th, 2018, citing misuse of the service resulting in irrelevant and spammy marketing messages being delivered as notifications on Android phones.

It is unfortunate that Google chose to entirely shutter the service instead of working on improving the end-user experience and implementing mechanisms that can easily and effectively address the spam problem. Throughout the time Nearby Notifications was in existence, Google made almost no effort to improve documentation or clarify to marketers how best to make content relevant and timely.

Nevertheless, this was an important innovation in the proximity marketing space, and we thank Google for its efforts.

Google discontinues Nearby for Android. Does this mean proximity marketing is no longer viable?
Proximity marketing is more relevant than ever. Physical stores continue to exist and ad relevance is crucial especially because of how important customer delight is over mere customer satisfaction. 71% of respondents said they would prefer ads that are tailored to their personalized interests and relevant to where they are.

Google Nearby was just one of the many channels available to receive beacon notifications.

Google just killed Android Nearby Notifications. Steps Ahead

What’s next for beacons? Alternatives to Google Nearby.
Although Google Nearby Notifications will be discontinued, here are exciting alternatives that address all of the issues with Google Nearby while still delivering a great consumer experience:

Beacon integration with your brand app
NearBee app for Android (scans for Physical Web notifications)
Beacon communication on Android and iOS

Let’s evaluate each of these options for your business –

1. Have a brand app for Android and iOS users? Leverage beacons inside your app
Beacon campaigns integrated with brand apps are the best performers. This is because these campaigns are extremely relevant and contextual. Also, the user has absolute control over what notifications she receives – either turn off notifications or uninstall the app if they find it irrelevant.

Related: How to run proximity marketing campaigns with your brand app on iOS and Android devices

3. NearBee for iOS and Android users: The best alternative to Google Nearby
NearBee for beacon notification

Beaconstac’s NearBee app initially released on iOS was created to circumvent a two-fold problem. iPhone users had to download different apps for different businesses in order to receive beacon notifications and brands had to create an app that could scan for beacons and deliver notifications, a tedious task requiring significant developer effort.

NearBee was created to deliver the perfect beacon marketing experience on both Android and iOS.

Join our webinar where we discuss viable solutions for the future of proximity marketing through beacons
Why is NearBee superior to Google Nearby?
NearBee solves all the problems that Google Nearby Notifications may have posed. It is intuitive, gives the user a rich experience and is contextually relevant.

1. NearBee delivers active notifications
On Google’s Nearby service, all notifications are silent notifications delivered directly to the notification tray. That means a user can potentially miss out on a relevant opportunity because the notifications do not send them any sort of alert.

However, with NearBee, users are alerted either through a vibration or an audible alert when they receive notifications. This means they will no longer miss relevant notifications or miss out on exciting deals and offers.

2. NearBee delivers a rich user experience unlike Google Nearby Notifications
On Nearby, all a user was able to see was a title and a description which would most likely be cut off because of the character limit and not know what the notification was about until they clicked on it.

On NearBee, the user is able to see the entirety of the campaign by force-touching the notification which lets them know what is around them without having to open another tab on their smartphone

Nearbee on IOS – rich notifications

3. NearBee does not send duplicate notifications

Google Nearby notifications may have been a source of annoyance to several consumers because as long as they were in the range of a beacon, they would keep receiving the same notification over and over even if they did not find it useful or relevant.

However with NearBee, once a consumer opens a notification, they will not be bothered by that same notification again unless they re-enter the range of the beacon. For instance, if a user is in a cafe all day long, he/she will not receive the same notification once it has been viewed.

Nearbee notification on lock screen

4. NearBee delivers notifications to the lock screen

Google Nearby notifications were only available in the Nearby section of settings and did not appear on the lock screen.

But, with NearBee all notifications appear on the lock screen of Android and iOS devices.

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