What marketers need to know about captive portals

Captive portals are custom splash screens that physical location customers must view and interact with so that they can access the Internet via Wi-Fi.

Captive portals - what are they?

Many marketers may be unfamiliar with the term yet already know how to use a captive portal. Captive portals are custom splash screens that physical location customers must view and interact with so that they can access the Internet via Wi-Fi. Restaurants, bars, shops, transportation hubs, hotels, and other businesses that offer free Wi-Fi usually use captive portals.

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Using a captive portal

A customer's smartphone connects to a guest Wi-Fi network as soon as they enter a physical location and the captive portal gets automatically displayed by the smartphone's browser. Customers are asked to provide personal information to access the captive portal. If the network recognizes the smartphone, the captive portal may be bypassed. Instead of when the Wi-Fi first connects, the captive portal can be displayed when the customer loads any page through the Wi-Fi network first. The information collected is based on the Wi-Fi login option chosen by the customer, in compliance with local regulations, and may include traditional demographic information like name, email address, age, phone number, and gender, in addition to preferences.

As a result, captive portals turn anonymous customers into real people that companies can contact via text message or email if they collect their permission.


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Captive portal promotion

The best landing page best practice for marketers is to offer something of value in exchange for the information and consent they are asking for. If you choose to send it as a URL rather than open it in a browser, it will appear on the screen of the browser. It could be that the offer includes, for instance, a 15 percent discount on selected items or even on the entire shopping trip. Once a customer clicks on the link, he or she may receive a UPC code, perhaps personalized to their needs, that activates the discount at the time of transaction.

Similar considerations should be given to captive portals. Companies should reward users for accessing WiFi and providing the requested information. Customers are encouraged to participate in loyalty programs, receive free products, refer friends to the company, and have their likes and references requested through the Wi-Fi network in order to encourage engagement with the company.BOOK A DEMO

Captive portals are not a new concept, even if the term is new to many. Thousands of networks have utilized these landing pages over the years. For example, social login.

Captive portals are helping marketers better understand on-site customers, which is new. Captive portals are tools that marketers can use to turn anonymous customers into regulars and engaged customers, and they can offer significant benefits when used effectively.


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