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Cancer Research UK drives donations with proximity Wi-Fi network

Cancer Research UK used Devicescape’s virtual Wi-Fi network and marketing platform to engage support and drive donations on World Cancer Day

Cancer Research UK increased its donations and drove a 9% click-through rate on World Cancer Day 2017 using Engage wireless beacon network and proximity marketing technology from Devicescape.

World Cancer Day, which takes place on 4 February, is a key event in the charity’s calendar. For 2017’s event, it wanted to go the extra mile to raise awareness and support for its important work.

“World Cancer Day is about uniting every person in the nation to beat cancer sooner,” said Cancer Research UK brand activation lead Sam McAllister.

“We’re always trying to test new and innovative ways of engaging with our supporters and the Devicescape Engage Wi-Fi beacon network was a great example of this,” she added.

Recently launched in the UK, the Devicescape platform gives customers access to a proximity marketing system that serves engagement messages directly to smartphones at Wi-Fi hotspots.

Engage exploits a massive collection of Wi-Fi access points (APs) in what is known as a curated virtual network (CVN) to establish consumer presence and trigger delivery of targeted engagement messages in the form of lock-screen notifications.

Devicescape said the platform brings “immediate scale” to proximity mobile marketing by augmenting ordinary Wi-Fi hotspots with beacon-like functionality. The software-based technology needs no hardware investment or modification to Wi-Fi APs.

“Brands want to engage with consumers directly in as many popular locations as possible, but they have always been restricted by limited beacon availability,” said the firm’s CEO, Dave Fraser.

“The great benefit of Wi-Fi is that it’s everywhere. Devicescape Engage delivers the beacon experience, today, across a single footprint that would take 10 years and many millions of dollars to match with beacon deployment,” he said.

According to Fraser, commercial campaigns run at hotspots in shops and restaurants, for example, have already returned click-through rates of over 13% during testing – far higher than other proximity marketing systems.

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Additionally, he said, notifications are only sent to consumers in the exact locations where a customer has asked for engagement, meaning that they do not receive poorly targeted or irrelevant advertising. A per-user volume cap further serves to make the solution as non-intrusive as possible.

For Cancer Research’s campaign, Devicescape enabled its platform at a number of retail, hospitality, leisure and transport locations around the UK to serve messages and calls to donate throughout the day.

In this way, said McAllister, the charity was able to reach out to consumers at many locations where it would not otherwise have had a presence.

“By working with Devicescape we were able to reach thousands of people in relevant locations and saw a significant web traffic increase,” she said.

In 2015, Cancer Research trialled contactless donation technology and enlisted advertising firm Clear Channel to fit out its stores in Brighton and Guildford, and Kensington and Marylebone in London, with contactless windows and interactive screens that enabled passers-by to tap their credit cards on the glass to make a £2 donation.

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