Beacon based Commerce Gets a Boost; Twitter Invests in Swirl

Twitter Ventures, the investment arm of Twitter Inc., has made a strategic investment in Swirl Networks Inc., a leading provider of proximity based indoor mobile marketing platforms. Swirl is known for leveraging Bluetooth Low Energy and Apple’s iBeacon technology. Now it seems that Twitter also wishes to leverage beacon technology and gain additional marketing tools. Twitter is looking to bolster its mobile advertising efforts since the social media giant also invested in the mobile operating system startup Cyanogen.

Beacons are finding use cases in in-store marketing. Imagine a scenario where you simply enter a store and get notifications popping up on your smartphone about offers and deals relevant to the store. Swirl Ad Exchange is the world’s first programmatic private ad exchange for beacon-powered mobile advertising, allowing brands to deliver highly targeted content to shoppers wherever their products are sold. Twitter can certainly leverage Swirl’s technology for its ad offerings.

According to BI Intelligence, beacons will be deployed by 85% of the top 100 U.S. retailers by the end of 2016, and beacon marketing will influence $44 billion in retail sales. By leveraging Bluetooth Low Energy and Apple’s iBeacon technologies, the Swirl platform helps retailers and brands deliver highly relevant digital content and offers to consumers’ smartphones while they shop in specific areas of a store. A recent consumer study by Swirl found that 73% of shoppers who received beacon-triggered content were more likely to make a purchase during their store visit. Swirl in-store mobile marketing campaigns are already generating strong results, with 60 percent of shoppers opening and engaging with beacon-triggered content and 30% redeeming relevant offers at the point of purchase.

Twitter can use the beacon influence to offer advanced m-commerce services by taking advantage of its own social media driven advertising platform. Twitter has also been on a quest to explore in the moment social media commerce opportunities. In July last year, Twitter acquired CardSpring, an application platform that enables coders to build offers linked to cards and virtual currencies. Now what if Twitter wants to drive these offers via the beacon based marketing platform? Indeed, that could be one of the possibilities.

It’s not like Twitter is the only social media giant interested in beacon technology. Earlier this year, Facebook leveraged bluetooth beacons to test a new service to send information to users based on their locations. The service was dubbed Place Tips, and is capable of sending information about shops, landmarks, etc. based on the user’s location.