Allrecipes.com is throwing beacons into its mobile marketing mix.

The recipe-finding site worked with Ohio grocery store chain Marc Glassman Inc. to deploy beacons at all 58 of the retailer’s stores in mid-May. Beacons are small wireless transmitters that can sense a smartphone’s location and deliver promotions to shoppers.

Consumers who have the Allrecipes’ app that walk into a Marc’s grocery store will receive a smartphone alert with a recipe suggestion. The messages change each day depending on what the weather is like in that region, which recipes are the most popular at that time in that area of Ohio and the type of protein on sale that day at Marc’s, says Corbin de Rubertis, Allrecipes’ head of shopper marketing.

For example, if the weather is above 70 degrees and ground beef is on sale, the smartphone message reads, “Hey! It’s a nice day outside for grilling. How about a juicy burger? Ground beef is on sale for $2.99 per pound.” If a consumer taps on that message, the Allrecipes app opens to the most popular burger recipe in that region of Ohio.

These detailed messages are more effective than alerts that only notify a consumer what is on sale or alerts that don’t contain a recipe suggestion, says de Rubertis, citing a six-week shopper trial. So far, consumers tap on the push notifications about 6% of the time. De Rubertis is pleased with this click-through rate, as it is significantly higher than Allrecipes’ mobile search ads on Google, which have between a 2% and 3% click-through rate, he says.

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Since the messages are packed with information, the click-through rate may not be the best measure of the advertisement’s success, as a consumer may read the message and purchase the ground beef, without needing to tap on the alert and pull up the recipe. Soon, Allrecipes will hire market research firm The Nielsen Co. to conduct studies to see if the messages lead to more purchases of featured products, de Rubertis says. “Attribution is key,” he says.

A push notification generally contains 140 characters so Allrecipes has to put a lot of information in a short amount of space. To help save space, and to make it more fun, Allrecipes uses food emojis in the messages, de Rubertis says. For example, Allrecipes uses the drumstick emoji when chicken is on sale.

The Allrecipes iOS and Android app has amassed 17.5 million U.S. downloads, says de Rubertis. So far, thousands of shoppers have received these beacon-triggered messages, he says.

Right now, consumers receive one message per shopping trip. Eventually, Allrecipes would like to have beacons in the store aisles and send a similar message tied to a specific brand. The aim of this is to generate more revenue for Allrecipes, as it makes its money through advertising, de Rubertis says.

In the few weeks since the store implemented the program, Allrecipe’s in-store app use has increased 50% for Ohio consumers, he says. In the U.S., consumers view between 26 million and 35.9 million recipes in the app or on mobile web each month, de Rubertis says.

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Marc’s is excited to bring a digital element into grocery shopping, says Day Armelli, marketing director for Marc’s.

“We anticipate this will open up additional doors that allow us to deliver greater value to our customers by helping them make the most out of their in-store shopping experience,” Armelli says.

Allrecipes began working with Marc’s grocery stores in January and it took about four months of work before the program went live in April. After a six-week testing period, the program officially launched on May 16. Marc’s has in-store signage about the Allrecipe’s app to let consumers know about the program.

About 12 Allrecipes.com employees worked on this project. De Rubertis would not disclose a cost for the project.

Both companies work with point-of-sale card-reader provider Verifone, which connected the retailer and the recipe aggregator after it heard both were interested in using beacon technology. The companies used beacon provider Footmarks Inc. for the hardware.

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