Beacon Proximity & Android or iPhone Device Market Share

99.6 percent of new smartphones run Android or iOS

When considering the bluetooth beacon marketing utilizing the physical web for your next mobile campaign with beacon proximity marketing our customers are very concerned about the number of iPhone devices vs Android devices that will receive the proximity notifications. This article is all about the numbers, that is the real number of devices out in the marketplace and and how to get your campaigns setup and launched.

The Real Numbers

You may be surprised that when you compare the two giants as to which has the larger market share of users. Here are the real numbers!

In the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Google's Android extended its lead by capturing 82 percent of the total market in the fourth quarter of 2016 (see Table 3). 

Android is the clear market choice of users

82% - Android Users

18% - Iphone iOS Users

Of the 432 million smartphones sold in the last quarter of 2016, 352 million ran Android (82 percent) and 77 million ran iOS (18 percent). But what happened to the other players? Well, in the same quarter, Windows Phone managed to round up 0.3 percent of the market, while BlackBerry was reduced to nothing. The once-great firm sold just over 200,000 units, amounting to 0.0 percent market share.

Worldwide smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2016. (Thousands of units.)
Image: Gartner

According to a recent survey by Statcounter in December 2017, 19.91% of the mobile market is occupied by iOS devices. For the last few years, sending proximity marketing campaigns to iOS was a breeze – Chrome browser scanned for beacon signals and displayed the notification on the device as soon as it detected a beacon signal. But Googles Chrome browser discontinued support for Physical Web notifications in October 2017.

With Chrome’s decision of not supporting Physical Web, a lot of business owners and marketers thought that their proximity marketing campaigns for the iOS users bit the dust. That’s not true.

The Physical web and Google’s Eddystone beacon format will solve almost all of the challenges facing the Retail and Event marketing segments allowing for mass acceptance of proximity-based information and interaction on a large scale. This article will discuss how to create and implement powerful beacon campaigns for both Android and iOS devices using Eddystone URL's. We will also talk about best practices and more.

What is iBeacon? How does it work?

iBeacon was the first beacon-based proximity solution that was introduced by Apple in 2013. iBeacon technology leverages beacons to send contextual, personalized and location-specific content to customers/users, however, only through a native beacon-enabled app.

FAQs about iBeacon

Under the iBeacon protocol, beacons simply send a unique identifier (UUID) to a beacon-enabled app, to inform the app that it is entering beacon range. This signal makes the app aware that it’s time to send the user a notification and triggers a message or performs an action.

What is Eddystone? How does it work?

Eddystone is a beacon format that was introduced by Google in July 2015. It leverages the fundamental ability of beacons (broadcasting content to smartphone users in a specific area) to offer a wider range of solutions from what was previously possible through Apple’s iBeacon format.

Planning a proximity marketing campaign for iOS devices

Beacon campaigns for the iOS device needs apps. This app doesn’t necessarily have to be your own app. It could be one of the third party apps that scan for beacon signals and display the notification linked to this signal.

If you have your own iOS app

(Don’t have an ios app? Skip to the next section)

If the motive of the campaign is to enhance the engagement and upsell products, having a brand app definitely helps. Most proximity campaigns that leveraged their own apps have witnessed impressive click-through rates. This is because –

  • The campaign talks to consumers who have already had multiple touchpoints with the brand
  • It is highly personalized (for eg, name of the consumer, gender, age etc)
  • Product recommendations offers based on previous purchases

Many companies also collaborated with high install base apps to run their proximity campaigns.

Companies that have seen massive results with proximity marketing campaigns on apps

1. Heineken

Heineken beacon campaign

Campaign – Heineken entered into a collaboration with mobile shopping app Ibotta. Heineken’s beacon project aimed to drive purchase intent, in-store sales, and brand awareness in conjunction with the release of the 2015 James Bond movie Spectre. The brand leveraged multiple collaborations with mobile leaders and roped in beacons to ensure that its products were top-of-mind for grocery shoppers. Heineken drew in-store supermarket shoppers to an interactive display via beacons.

Results – Heineken had an estimated revenue of $320,000 from the campaign with 200,000 in-store and points-of-sale engagements. The purchase intent of customers increased by 7 times, with an increment in revenue on investment by 6.2 times. The alcohol marketer received nearly one million shopper impressions as a result of the beacon implementation.


2. Coca-cola

(Image source –

Campaign – Coca-Cola leveraged beacon technology in movie theatres in Norway to both target and then retarget smartphone-equipped consumers. One of the goals of the campaign was to collect data on moviegoers so Coca-Cola could then retarget them a week later with an offer for a free ticket to return the movie theatre.

Results – Coca-Cola saw some exceptional conversions from this campaign. 60 percent of the consumers who received the notifications clicked on it and 20 percent redeemed the offer.


3. Screenvision

Campaign – Screenvision, which runs advertising at roughly 2,300 movie theatres, worked with a range of tech companies to experiment with proximity marketing. They launched Project Lynx which debuted at Screenvision’s 2015 Upfront. They used two apps for the campaign – Movietickets and Dealflicks. The project allowed retail marketers and agencies to connect with their consumers via geo-targeted, beacon ads at and near movie theatres. The aim of the project was to drive in-store purchases.

Results – Screenvision Media’s use of geofencing and beacons has driven an average 15 percent increase in store visitation rates for its retail partners. In Screenvision’s VP Christine Martino’s  words, “When you place an ad in cinema, we can then connect how many of those people who saw the ad went to a retailer. And over the last four months of testing, we saw a 15 percent increase in the amount of foot traffic involving people who went to the movies and then went to a retailer within the next seven days.”

If you do not have your own iOS app

High-performing, innovative third-party apps provide proximity marketing that retailers can easily implement while avoiding many logistical concerns. Reputable partner apps have strong systems in place to prevent data breaches and have the experience to know how to interact with consumers without being intrusive. Some view this need for action as a potential hurdle. However, with an estimated 90% of smartphone users having at least one subscription to a rewards program, it may not be as significant as many people think.

Third-party apps strike the right balance between respecting a consumer’s privacy while providing timely marketing. They turn applied beacon technology into an interactive, fun experience that consumers want to engage with. They also manage and consolidate the user agreements necessary to collect consumer data. With the right third-party app as your partner for a tech-forward proximity marketing campaign, you can gain access to a user base that is already active and engaged.

These third-party apps continuously scan for Eddystone URLs and display the notifications as soon as they detect an Eddystone URL.

Some of the other well performing third-party apps are –

  1. PHY app
  2. Physical Web
  3. Webkon
  4. Browse
  5. Bleesk


Myths about running campaigns on iOS devices

1. Have to have an app

That’s not necessary. You could either collaborate with other apps in your domain who have a good install base.

2. Locked phones have no effect on notification experience

After the iOS 7.1 update, it’s evident that iBeacon is the only BLE service that stays active when a phone is locked.



Before getting started on your beacon proximity marketing campaign using bluetooth notifications, you need to carefully consider your customer segment:

  • How many of your users use Android devices?
  • How many of your users use iOS devices?

It’s best to run proximity campaigns with Eddystone URL campaigns.

The rapid growth proximity marketing e-commerce is mostly attributed to optimizing the sales funnel. Incorporating the same principles for brick & mortar will enable retailers and brands to have the same efficiency in optimizing their sales funnels and to link e-commerce activities to enable true omnichannel commerce no matter what type of mobile device your end users may have.

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