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You may have heard of Wi-Fi advertising, Wi-Fi analytics or Wi-Fi marketing, but you may not really know what these things are or the differences among them. So, while you know you need to take advantage of these new technologies to revitalize your revenue, you may not be sure how to proceed.

Confusion in the market about Wi-Fi advertising vs. Wi-Fi marketing stems from their similarities.  So, the first step is to spend some time outlining how they are similar, how they differ, and how marketers should go about choosing between or among them.  Then, you can better understand Wi-Fi analytics, and how it converges with advertising and marketing to help you understand consumer behavior and increase revenue.

Wi-Fi Advertising & Wi-Fi Marketing

What do we mean by Wi-Fi advertising versus Wi-Fi marketing? By some definitions, Wi-Fi advertising can mean the same as Wi-Fi marketing.  But a distinction can be drawn to help you keep them distinct: Wi-Fi advertising is advertising products or services via your Wi-Fi hotspot.  In other terms, this is hotspot advertising.

Wi-Fi advertising allows you to incorporate specific ads for your own company, products and services on and through your Wi-Fi hotspot, or to sell advertising opportunities on your hotspot to other businesses.  The ads will show up when someone goes to log into your Wi-Fi, typically after they’ve opted to agree to terms and conditions, and have connected.  In general, if someone is connecting to your hotspot, you can target them with advertisements.  And, just like you can sell advertising space on your website, you can also sell ad space to other companies, such as on the landing page where customers connect to your hotspot.  

Wi-Fi marketing, on the other hand, uses your Wi-Fi connection as a more comprehensive marketing channel for your business.  Wi-Fi marketing at your location allows you to provide consumer incentives and engage your customers with customized messaging.  When the customer connects to the Wi-Fi, they are automatically integrated with marketing campaigns, encouraged to join your loyalty program, and more.  Also, Wi-Fi marketing may encompass tools such as geo-fencing, which allows your discounts, deals and specials to pop up on your customer’s mobile device once they are in the proximity of your business, helping to grab their attention and drive traffic in the door.  

Plus, you can monitor and evaluate consumer behavior while your customers use the Wi-Fi, which allows your company to select relevant ads and display them at the right time, based on customer’s geography and context.  This type of behavioral tracking via Wi-Fi generated data allows for marketing beyond your proximity market, as well.  

Ultimately, Wi-Fi advertising and Wi-Fi marketing are similar in their aims.  Both Wi-Fi advertising and Wi-Fi marketing target customers in the proximity of your brick and mortar location and help you to increase your revenue from those customers.  And, for some marketers, Wi-Fi advertising might be a perfect component of their overall Wi-Fi marketing strategy.  

Wi-Fi Analytics

Wi-Fi analytics is a system or tool for tracking the data that is being generated through your Wi-Fi.  Wi-Fi analytics allows you to understand your customer’s behavior (such as return rate and churn rate), customer loyalty, and other data in real, understandable terms.  

So, while you might have hundreds of customers interacting with your Wi-Fi on a daily basis, without a Wi-Fi analytics platform, the information coming from those interactions is cryptic.  Think of Wi-Fi analytics as your tool to decipher that information.  

The Convergence of Analytics, Marketing & Advertising

So, where and how do Wi-Fi analytics, marketing and advertising converge?  I like to think of it like this: the data underlying Wi-Fi analytics is both the brainchild and muse of Wi-Fi advertising and Wi-Fi marketing.  

Brainchild?  Every time your customer interacts with your Wi-Fi advertisement or responds to your Wi-Fi marketing, they are providing data for your Wi-Fi analytics software.  That data from your Wi-Fi marketing and advertising efforts is being sourced in real time, with real customer behavior.  From this data, you can derive invaluable consumer analytics.  

And, muse? By evaluating those analytics, you can then, in turn, make adjustments and improvements to your Wi-Fi marketing and advertising.  The accuracy and quality of the data goes hand-in-hand with the quality of your advertising and marketing decision-making.  The better the data and analytics, the better your next campaign will be.

Hence, how analytics are born from the marketing efforts conducted via your Wi-Fi and how analytics can infuse creativity into your next marketing efforts.  It’s one beautiful, symbiotic cycle.

Benefits for Brick & Mortar Business

Wi-Fi advertising, marketing and analytics have endless benefits for brick and mortar businesses.   In fact, they may be crucial to the success of such stores as new generations become new customers.  In a recent study by IBM and the National Retail Federation, it was reported that 98% of Generation Z (those born after mid-1990’s through early 2000s) shop in brick & mortar stores - either “sometimes” or “most of the time”.  Yet, Generation Z is not particularly brand loyal and, as the first “digitally native” generation (I.E., not knowing a world before cell phones), they undoubtedly expect technology to be “intuitive, relevant and engaging”.

Putting this together, it is abundantly clear that companies need efficient and effective strategies to appeal to their cellphone-in-hand customers.  And although you have access to great new tools such as Wi-Fi advertising, marketing and analytics, it is necessary to assess the specific goals you have for your business and identify which of these strategies might be best for you.  

Perhaps you’re looking for an additional revenue stream to help you pay for offering Wi-Fi to your guests.  By finding compatible partner companies to advertise on your Wi-Fi connection landing page, you can do exactly that.  In this case, Wi-Fi advertising is a great tool for you.  

If you’re looking to better understand what your clients are doing as they connect to Wi-Fi, such as if they are price shopping while in-store, then Wi-Fi analytics paired with Wi-Fi marketing might be best for you.  That way, you can analyze the customer’s browsing behavior, and ultimately consider offering price-matching for your products.

If you like the idea of being able to offer discounts and alert customers to your specials when they are in or near your store, Wi-Fi marketing is the way to go.  If you want to allow certain manufacturers to offer discounts on specific items you sell when the customer is near your store, then you’re talking about hotspot marketing and advertising, combined.  

Ultimately, the key to succeeding with any of these strategies is to have a tool which allows you to both collect actionable data on your customers and provide a way to message these customers through the Wi-Fi connection.

Learn How To Turn Wi-Fi Into A Competitive Advantage:  Download 5 Steps To High-Performing Customer Wi-Fi


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