Unilever eyes iBeacons trials extension across brand portfolio

Unilever is looking to scale how it uses iBeacons to bridge offline shopper data with mobile ad retargeting following a successful trial in Sweden for its Knorr brand.

Speaking to The Drum at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Unilever's vice president of global media for Europe and Americas, Sarah Mansfield said iBeacons have become an interesting part of its marketing mix given their ability to tie together offline and online customer journeys.

"Giving intuitive customer journeys is what consumers want from brands. They want brands that understand them and know them as individuals. iBeacons allow you to target consumers around time and place, which are key lenses that allow you to deliver relevant content to users," she said.

The FMCG giant has run a beta test in Sweden for its Knorrr soup brand, which saw it deploy branded food vans from which people could sample the soups. When people were within ten metres of the vans their phone IDs were collected and the following day they were sent a tailored message about their sample test with a discount voucher for them to redeem in-store.

"As a brand we talk a lot about bridging the gap between physical and online and iBeacons are a method of doing that. We know that consumers that sample our products are more likely to purchase them so we gave them a little nudge to remind them to purchase our soups when they are next in store," she added.

The retargeting mobile message ran on a Swedish newspaper app Aftonbladet, and Unilever is now in talks with other media outlets with the view to scaling the tests beyond the pilot phase, according to Mansfield.

Although she did not reveal specifics around the results, she said they were "positive enough" for it to start considering mass rollout.

"We are talking to a number of different media partners about how we might do that at scale, and yes we will also look at how it can work in the UK. We did the beta test in Sweden but we are always looking at opportunities for how we can roll things out at scale across multiple markets and brands in our portfolio," she added.

Unilever is also in conversations with supermarkets in the UK over potential iBeacons projects, according to Mansfield.

To see more about her thoughts on the opportunities for iBeacons and to hear her thoughts on what was hot at Mobile World Congress this year watch the above video).

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