I got an email the other day from one of our clients asking me what the heck a Google Beacon is and if I knew anything about why they received one on the mail randomly.

All I know is, we run Google Adwords Express Campaigns for them, also known as Smart Campaigns for Small Business under the new Google Ads Branding.

So I did what any good digital marketer does, research, followed by practice.

And here's what I learned: Google Beacons can be placed at your business location(s) to help get you more reliable data regarding "most popular times." They do this by communicating with your customer's mobile phones which have location services enabled. says that some businesses have been running Google Ads campaigns have been receiving some randomly to set-up and test the functionality and use (Beta cases). So that explains our client getting one, or your business randomly getting one.

Even though that's kind of weird, the more important question is "what the heck is a Google Beacon?"

According to Google, If your customer has enabled location services on their phone and depending on the number of customers who visit your business, the Google Beacon can send an increasing variety of types of information to your customer’s device such as:

  • Customer reviews and other content such as photos from people who’ve also visited your business.
  • Prompts for them to review your business on Google.
  • Your business’ location on Google Maps when they’re nearby.
  • Other information features as Google ads them.

Google Beacons improve the location insights Google provides your business.

In addition to sending information to your customers right to their mobile device when they’re near your business, by using a Google Beacon at your business, Google can provide you with better insights and analytics information as part of their Locations Insights pilot program. The location insights that Google can provide you with include:

  • Information on when people visit your business including when your busiest times are.
  • Information about the length of time customers spend at your business.
  • Information on the frequency of customer visits and one the percentages of multiple visits by your customers.

I'm HUGE on getting a ton of this kind of data from Google My Business, and it seems like Google Beacons are basically a way of garnering additional data as well as ensuring it's the most accurate it can possibly be.

For more on how to set up Google Beacons, I recommend visiting this link from Google's Developers Documentation.

Additionally, Beacons provide a high quality context signal that allows you to mark a particular place in the world, improving place detection. Google can use that signal to improve your business' presence on Google Maps. Click here to learn more about Google Place Visits.

With the Nearby Messages API, you can build apps that detect beacons and retrieve messages that have been associated with them. Examples include showing the bus schedule when your user is waiting at a bus stop or providing ticket availability at a theater kiosk. When using the Nearby API with beacons, the messages take the form of beacon attachments.

So this is what I love about my job. Running Google Adwords Express Campaigns might not be the most glamorous technical responsibility, but it's the gateway into conversations about some fascinating functionality and possibilities into not only the digital marketing world, but the custom software world also.
Hit me up with any questions anytime at

Thanks for reading, watching and listening, and have a great day!


Paul Hickey, Founder / CEO / Lead Strategist at Data Driven Design, LLC has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.

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