Beacon Data & Use Cases in Dining, Retail, Sports & More

In late September 2016, two of the biggest names in beacon data partnered for a webinar entitled “Beacons & Bacon & Brews”. Reveal Mobile, that’s us, shared detailed data about beacon deployments in food & dining. Unacast shared uses cases for beacons beyond push notifications across dining, retail, and sports. 

Reveal Mobile sources our data from an SDK, a little bit of code that sits inside our customers’ apps. The SDK listens for Bluetooth beacon signals and lat/long from opted in location sharing users. Our tech resides in over 400 apps across the United States. As these millions of users bump into beacons through their daily journey, we’re able to build aggregate location patterns, and turn that into mobile audience data.

In the webinar, we put forth a detailed analysis of the beacons that we see across food & dining. We’re one of the only sources of nationwide beacon data from 1st party apps, and we love sharing it.

We start at the top by evaluating 7,201 beacons across 2,308 locations. The total audience we measured encompassed 3.1M devices seen at food and dining locations over a 30 day period.


What we see is not quite the 80/20 rule, but the 2 to 1 rule. The top 100 brands with the most beacons deployed accounted for 55% of all beacons deployed. 

As we drill down into specifically which brands deploy beacons, our data shows that Subway and McDonald’s have jumped in head first. Quick note – we only detect beacons that broadcast publicly available signals like Eddystone and iBeacon. Our data reflects only what we can see, not all beacons deployed.


We also believe that the number of beacons installed influences foot traffic and audience data. The more beacons a brand deploys across their national footprint of locations, the better job they’ll do at building meaningful audience data.


The reason is that beacons allow for more data collection. Generally, to place a device at a location using latitude and longitude, a user must open an app while at that location. There are exceptions to this, but that’s primarily how it works. As you can imagine, this limits the data tha brands and marketers collect. Beacons, however, don’t require the user to take action in order to place a device at a location. Beacon detection occurs silently and passively in the background, which can double and triple the amount of audience data collected.

Pulling back out to the broader category level, we investigated beacon bumps at certain subsections of food & dining. We also dug into total activity to include lat/long data. We see that fine and casual dining and quick service restaurants drive the most visits today.



With ABI Research forecasting 500,000,000 beacons deployed globally in the next five years, we’ll continue to see innovation and new use cases for beacons across every industry. Beacon powered push notifications may always be a tool in the marketer’s belt, but using beacons to measure online-to-offline attribution and to build retargeting audiences will gain additional momentum. This is bolstered by the fact that when we see advertisers using audience segments generated from beacon and lat/long data, versus lat/long alone, campaign performance increased 93%, measured via click-through rate.

We’re excited to be a part of this maturing technology.