Have you ever been checking the weather on your phone and an ad for a nearby restaurant pops up?
Or, perhaps you are in the market for a new vehicle and after visiting a dealer, you start seeing ads for new cars?
While this may sound like something out of a science-fiction movie, it is really just another way for marketers to target qualified leads using geofencing advertising.
As the president and CMO of Plum Grove, a Chicago area print marketing agency, I’ve seen firsthand how geofencing boosts business revenues.
Location-specific geofencing marketing is getting results. By targeting ads to your audience based on real-world behavior and reaching prospects where they spend the most time – on their smartphones – businesses are opening up new ways to market to their customers.
What is Geofencing?
Geofencing promotes brand awareness using direct-to-mobile phone, location-based advertising. It allows companies to target their audience based on the places people have visited.
Other forms of geo-targeted advertising use zip codes, a radius, or blanket entire cities. Geofencing uses GPS, Wi-Fi and cellular triangulation to reach people that have walked inside specific buildings, event locations, convention centers, conferences, and physical competitor locations.
Geofencing’s virtual boundaries can be set up around businesses, parking lots, parks, events, public spaces or nearly anywhere. Users do not need to be looking at a mobile app in order for a geofence to capture their smartphone. They just need to have the phone and GPS location services turned on.
After a prospect enters the geofence and the device is captured, marketing messages will be displayed when the user interacts with phone apps and mobile web browsers. Using cross-device matching, ads can even be shown on the user’s tablet, laptop, and Internet TV!
Geofencing offers a way for brands to reach more qualified prospects and limit the waste they would typically experience with other forms of brand awareness advertising, like billboards, radio and TV.
The technology allows businesses to reach highly localized customers with personalized messages and offers across more than 600,000 apps and on mobile web browsers.
Ads Served On Location
With geofencing, businesses can target users while they are at the target location. Prospects can be on their smartphone or tablet/laptop playing on apps or browsing websites and see relevant ads.
This allows the business to craft personalized ads for the end-user. In fact, according to research, 71% of all consumers prefer a personalized ad experience (marketingdive.com).
Ads Served After Customers Leave
That’s right! With geofencing, customers and prospects will see ads on apps and browsers after they leave the physical location of the geofence. Once the customer clicks on the ad and visits the company website, they can be retargeted for even longer periods of time. This allows for greater brand awareness and recognition.
Geofencing provides you with analytics for monitoring campaign performance. You start collecting data the same day the campaign is implemented.
Tracking data allows you to make quick decisions and pivot based on what is/is not working in your advertising. Additionally, businesses can track online advertising to offline foot traffic with geofencing conversion zone tracking.
More Reach & Efficiency in Ad Spend
Geofencing increases ad spend efficiency by up to 97% over other methods, such as zip code targeting. This hyper-targeted approach allows for a more personalized message for the end-user. According to Salesforce, 53% of customers visited a retailer after receiving a location-based alert (salesforce.com).
Brands that Use Geofencing
Some of the largest companies in the world use geofencing as an effective marketing tool. With brands like The North Face, BMW, Whole Foods, Burger King and Taco Bell using geofencing, it’s easy to see why this technology is growing so quickly.
A Market Research Future report predicts the global geofencing market to grow to $2.2 billion by 2023. However, geofencing is not just for the big boys.
By setting and adjusting ad budgets and scaling from hundreds of targeted customers to millions of customers, geofencing is the perfect opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to personalize marketing to hyper-targeted audiences.
Geofencing Best Practices
Limit Your Scope
The general rule with geofencing is to stay hyper-targeted. The typical geofence will be within a 5-minute travel radius (walking or driving) for retail and within a few hundred feet of a location for events. Customers will not travel great distances to shop at another store, even with big incentives. The same goes for events and conferences.
Know Your Audience & Their Behaviors
As with any successful marketing campaign, it is essential to understand your audience and their behaviors. Beyond knowing demographic information, businesses should understand where their core customers hang out offline.
A great example is in marketing for personal injury attorneys. Anyone can be a client for a personal injury attorney, but where do most accident victims go after an accident? Normally, they go to hospitals, ER facilities, car repair centers and auto dealerships – locations where geofences would be placed.
It’s important to give prospects a reason to interact with an ad or learn more about a business. Make sure there is a targeted message with a clear call-to-action. The call to action could be a promotional offer, discount, or benefits of visiting the company’s website or physical location.
Geofencing can be used in many creative ways to serve different purposes. For example, businesses can geofence nearby competitor locations to advertise a new position and recruit experienced talent. Or, businesses can geofence their own locations so that they can run customer loyalty discounts and promote reward programs.
Is Geofencing Right for Your Business?
Geofencing is a powerful marketing tool for businesses of all sizes and types. Businesses can:
- Engage customers
- Attract new customers
- Gain key insights into market behavior and buying patterns
Geofencing is a highly effective tactic for increasing brand awareness with a very specific audience.
As with any tactic, businesses experience the best results when using geofencing as one part of a multi-pronged campaign that reaches prospects at all stages of the marketing funnel.
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