Please Note: Android users will stop receiving Nearby Notifications on December 6th, 2018 Read more
Notification not showing up? Here’s a step-by-step guide explaining what to do!
The support team at Beeem – after a few hundred customer support cases – has compiled the ultimate guide to troubleshoot your Nearby Notifications. As Google keeps the filtering algorithms a secret, the novice beacon user- especially the proximity marketing professional just starting out – may come across a myriad of issues during initial setup from hardware, to the phone settings, to content issues. Let’s do this!
I. Phone settings
The biggest chunk of the issues stems from simple things that anyone can check on their phones. Most of our support experience tells us, this is the place to start!
1. Does the phone have access to the Internet?
Please check if the phone has mobile data ON or is connected to a Wi-Fi Network. If you have a poor data connection (Edge or 2G) it might not enable Google Nearby to receive the data back from Google servers in time so notifications may not always appear.
2. Does the phone have Bluetooth on?
Most people have Bluetooth turned on most or all of the time and Bluetooth penetration is continually growing like Wi-Fi did 5-6 years ago. Please re-check your phone settings. Note: There is nothing else required in Bluetooth realm to get Notifications: there is no pairing or anything similar!
3. Does the phone have Location (sometimes called GPS) on?
As Google deems Nearby Notifications to be using location information of the device, so a setting called Location (called GPS on some Android ROMs) has to be on even though Notifications don’t use the phone’s GPS directly.
4. Has the beacon been in the range of the phone for enough time?
In some cases, we experience that the phone has to be in the range of the beacon for quite some time before a notification shows. The most we’ve experienced is about 1 hour, but an 5-8 minute wait is the norm. Also please note that you can trigger a manual scan for beacons by turning the phone screen off and then back on! Please note that beacon scanning can take a few seconds as well so please wait a few seconds on the notification list too.
5. Have you tapped on a notification, exited Nearby and don’t get it anyomre?
Google Nearby deems a notification “used” if you tapped on it and the page is still running inside the Nearby App. If you want the notification to appear again, close the Nearby App, turn your phone screen off and back on to trigger beacon scanning and get to your notification list!
II. Beacon settings
Time and time again we see the most trivial solutions to a beacon “not working”. Let’s go through them all!
1. Is it turned On? Is the Battery on?
If your beacon has an indicator light make sure it’s on. If you have no such options, make sure the beacon is on by checking the battery or going directly into the beacon’s own configuration app. If you don’t know what app to look for you can use the NRF connect app for iOS and Android to do a hardware-level scan for your beacons.
2. Is the beacon configured to be broadcasting an Eddystone URL?
In some cases, the beacons are left in iBeacon mode and are not broadcasting the URL but iBeacon IDs. You can check this by going directly into the beacon’s own configuration app. If you don’t know what app to look for you can use the NRF connect app for iOS and Android to do a hardware-level scan for your beacons!
III. Beacon page content issues
This is the most overlooked part of Nearby Notifications. Everyone expects to blast a badly written website running on a poorly performing server and is let down by the results. But if you look at it from the perspective of Google: do I really want to flood the notification list with items that provide a poor UX to my phone users? The answer is clearly no and you can’t blame them for doing it. So if you’re looking to blast irrelevant messages at crowded locations you’re most likely to see poor results especially compared to your expectations. Here’s all you need to know
1. Is the URL valid (Skip if you use Beeem!)
There is only one resource that the Physical Web team at Google provides to check your beacon URLs. The Physical Web validator will test your URL shorteners and destination URLs for technical issues that prevents Google servers from successfully crawling your URLs and displaying Nearby Notifications. NOTE: this test is only for the URL itself and not the content on the URL!!
2. Is the end URL exclusively HTTPS(Skip if you use Beeem!)?
This part is covered in the last test but there is so much confusion out there that I’d like to clarify this. The technical specification for Nearby Notifications requires exclusively HTTPS content on the final URL (including any image on the page for example). So if you have any mixed content warnings for your destination URLs you’ll be filtered out, no questions asked. Please also note that even though the destination URLs have to be HTTPS exclusively, any forwarder in use can be HTTP!
3. Do you have any page content that cannot be promoted with Nearby Notifications?
Did you know that there are a ton of requirements to meet with your content? These are the most basic types of content filtered out:
– Adult Content
– Content that exploits children
– Dangerous and Widely Illegal Content
– Content that is not clear, unprofessional in appearance and that is not useful for recipients
– Harassing, bullying, or threatening behavior, and do not incite others to engage in these activities
– Hate Speech
– Malicious Content Distribution
– Mature Text / Profanity
– Personally Identifiable Information
– Regulated Goods & Services
– Terrorist Content
– Violence & Shocking Content
As you can see Google filters you out in pretty much the same cases as they do with Google search. Even if you’re not intending to publish any such content it is good to know that the filtering algorithms are in place.
We highly encourage the use of dedicated platforms for Nearby Notifications like Beeem as the short history of Nearby shows that Google does a lot of under-the-hood changes that can have a significant impact on your Nearby Notification performance.
In case your notifications still do not appear, please make a page that contains no such text content (like a template page in Beeem for example) that you can be 100% sure it’s complying.