In 2022, monthly mobile data traffic per active smartphone in North America will reach 25 GB - a 10x increase in traffic up from 2016 - according to The Ericsson Mobility Report.
Just to put this in perspective 1GB (or 1024MB) of data lets you send or receive about 1,000 emails and browse the Internet for about 20 hours every month.
This rapid growth of mobile data usage makes consumers crave a faster more reliable WiFi connection - as opposed to cellular data.
That's where WiFi Marketing comes in. Consumers are naturally logging into networks anywhere that they can - coffee shops, restaurants, movie theaters, malls, stadiums, and arenas. So, why not capitalize on this? The overlap between consumers’ need for WiFi access and businesses need for consumer attention has created a multi-billion dollar industry that has still not been fully realized.
Let’s take a look at some industry statistics on WiFi
- 64% of consumers make a restaurant choice based on the availability of WiFi services (Source: Accenture)
- 62% of local business customers spend more time in store if WiFi is available (Source: iGR)
- Businesses who offer free WiFi to boost sales numbers have a success rate of 72% (Source: iGR)
- 75% of businesses say they consider free wireless access to be either “important” or “very important” to their business now. (Source: iGR)
- 79% of even the least WiFi Interested shoppers, age 45+ are positively influenced by in-store WiFi availability (Source: Accenture)
- 56% of social network users have stated they would use their social profiles to login in return for a customized experience with a brand. (Source: CMO Council)
- 74% of people would be happy for a retailer to send a text or email with promotions while they’re using in-store WiFi (Source: OnDeviceResearch)
- 64% of hotels now offer free WiFi. (Source: Hotel Chatter)
- 50% of consumers feel comfortable making a large purchase in-store if Wi-Fi access is available. (Source: Accenture)
Now that we’ve established the growth of the market and consumers’ ever-increasing reliance on WiFi, we can get into how it relates to marketing.
Public venues and spaces are already offering guest WiFi - places like malls, sports venues, retail stores, theaters, museums, you name a public space, they’re offering WiFi, if for no other reason than they have to - because consumers are expecting it. So, in light of the fact that it’s already being offered, the question now is, what are businesses getting from it? Are those venues just offering this service without reaping the benefits?
Joe walks into his favorite store. He takes out his phone and selects the store’s WiFi network. To access the network he’s asked to sign-in using his name and email address or Facebook account. Unbeknownst to Joe - the software powering the WiFi marketing he’s about to sign-in to is authenticating his information - ensuring he’s a real person, that his email is real, and he isn’t supplying false information to the store. Joe frequently visits here and wants to engage with the brand, so he supplies real information, and is successfully granted access to the network.
Let’s pause for a second. The store just captured his contact information, authenticated it and got permission to contact him for future marketing purposes. Is there a better source of first-party data than the actual consumer, at the moment of engagement? Probably not.
Now back to the process.
After he’s granted access to the network, Joe sees a branded screen with the logo, look and feel of the store. On the splash page there are a few content cards, one is a coupon for a jeans brand that Joe follows on Facebook and is sold at the store, one is a form asking him to sign up for a mailing list, another is a store flyer with a sales promotion, and a final is an ad for an upcoming event
Let’s take another pause and remember that stat from above: 74 percent of retail shoppers would be happy to receive real-time promotions and offers in-store.
Within the first few moments of entering the store, Joe is supplying them with some targeted information. When given the option, Joe opted to sign in with his Facebook account, as opposed to his email, connecting the store’s CRM to his likes and dislikes, as well as his hometown, zip code, etc. Now the store has credible marketing intelligence about the products he likes - he’s interacted with the brand - and authenticated his identity - resulting in highly credible first-party data the store can use to market to Joe for long after his visit today.
This is just one example of how WiFi Marketing works, but if you start extending this experience out to other verticals, you can see the value in a variety of markets and businesses.
For example, start thinking about all the ways that you buy tickets - some straight from the venue, others from StubHub, SeatGeek, your friends through Venmo - the list goes on and on. Now start thinking about the ticketed venue. How does that team, venue, or entertainment center have any idea who the audience is outside of who bought a ticket? The answer: guest WiFi. Authenticating each user - eliminating “ghost” fans - and allowing the business to collect first-party data at the time of engagement, connecting attendees to the event, venue, etc., igniting engagement at the time of the event, and allowing follow-up marketing and higher interaction with the brands across all ticket holders as opposed to the one person who bought the tickets.
Now - start extending that same process to industries like healthcare and hospitality, in addition to retail and entertainment. In healthcare, collecting first-party data could enable better follow-up like check-up reminders, etc. whereas in hospitality - that data could be used to achieve better on-site engagement, encouraging rewards programs or coupons. There are so many possibilities with good data.
To put this technology into perspective; back in 2012, Cisco predicted that providing WiFi to store customers will be "the cost of doing business."
They were right.
At SocialSign.in we’re passionate about WiFi Marketing, the capabilities of the software and what it can do for businesses. If you’re interested and want to learn more - you can contact us @ firstname.lastname@example.org.