Have you ever entered a store, opened up your phone to a site like Facebook, and seen ads that are surprisingly relevant to the store you’re in? It could be something like entering a Rite Aid and seeing an ad for their new brand of shampoo or walking into an Apple store and seeing ads for their competitor, Samsung.
like this happen thousands of times a day, every day, nearly
everywhere on the planet. These are examples of what’s called
location-based targeting, known more commonly as geofencing and
the process of targeting
in a specific physical location. You can picture it like this: open
up a map and outline a circle around a certain area, perhaps around
your house or where you work. When this area is geofenced, everyone
inside the circle during a specified date and time will get a
predetermined ad on their mobile device.
has endless applications. It can be applied permanently or
temporarily, for brick and mortar businesses, or for events.
Location-based advertising techniques like geofencing give marketers the ability to target potential customers based on incredibly specific geographic data. Geofencing is an effective method of ad targeting for several reasons. First, it’s an accurate way of delivering topical and timely information to a captive audience. In other words, people across the street from Rite Aid are going to be very open to an ad featuring Rite Aid’s products. Second, geo-targeted ads communicate to potential customers that the marketer is serious about them and their needs, how else would they have such accurate and helpful information about them? Third, geofencing is a great way for small, localized companies to compete against bigger brands.
is an invaluable service for marketers
who want to target mobile devices based on their location. This
allows marketers to produce brand new sales, encourage repeat
customers, and cultivate both new and existing customer
relationships. Geofencing is also an excellent way
reach consumers for businesses who don’t already possess their
According to Techopedia, geofencing is as follows: “A technology that defines a virtual boundary around a real-world geographical area.” Wikipedia defines it as a: “Virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area.” Wikipedia’s definition of “virtual perimeter” is a great way to visualize what’s happening with a geofence. Once inside the virtual perimeter, the ads the person sees on their mobile device are controlled by the marketer who owns the geo-location.
to what many people might think, geofencing is not an especially
complicated process of programming. It’s just about as simple as
the process that we all use on a regular basis for using GPS
functions of Apple Maps or Google Maps. Geofencing serves smartphone
users with ads that are the most relevant to them. That’s the
To put it another way, geofencing is a way for businesses to optimize their marketing strategy. This is especially relevant now since everyone has a smartphone and many people are constantly traveling between home, work, school, and many other destinations. This is a way for marketers to capture this behavior in a way that makes the most of every dollar they spend.
this begs the question: how exactly does geofencing work? Well,
marketers have the ability to establish a “fence”
around an address or destination, or a drawn frame) around a specific
location. Again, think of it as opening up Google Maps and drawing a
circle around your house. From there, an actionable audience can be
targeted from that location. Before any ad is served, the device
location is authenticated to ensure that it is within the proscribed
can be identified and constructed from location names, types,
postcodes, designated market areas (DMAs) and more. For example, and
marketer could use a certain area code as a geofence, and everyone
within that area code will be served with the predetermined ad. A
marketer can also use the name of a location, such as “Grand
Central Terminal” or “Miami Beach.”
The target audience for a particular geofence can also be based on a pre-known profile of each individual. For example, a marketer can choose to serve ads to frequent travelers currently in New York City or they can choose to serve ads to smokers in Boston.
profiles like this that are based on location footprints are built
over a period of time. Many
targeting options are available: Ad
Size (Banner, Full-page, Video), Device Type (Smartphone, Tablet),
(Android, iOS), Age,
What is Geoframing and how does it work?
is a concept very similar to geofencing. Geoframing is an incredibly
targeted tactic that enables the creation of a customized audience
based on mobile devices collected within the parameters of location
and time. The creation of a geoframe allows marketers to continue to
target those collected users even after the users have left the
geolocation. Think of it like giving individuals their own name tag
when they enter a certain geographic location that they will maintain
even after they leave that location. The name tag then allows
marketers to target this individual for ads afterward for an extended
period of time. Common scenarios for using geoframes includes
attempting to attract repeat customers to a company, trying to
attract foot traffic from a competitive business, or trying to upsell
an existing customer.
Geoframing marketers use mobile service carrier and device ID information to create sets of users for custom audience targeting and Device ID Retargeting. After providing the required addresses, geoframes can be built by drawing a perimeter around specified locations. Finally, once the frame is created, mobile IDs of potential targets will be aggregated for specific locations and timeframes.
Benefits of using Geofencing and Geoframing!
The benefits of geofencing and geoframing to both marketers and consumers are obvious, and though it’s still a new practice, the rate of success achieved with it is immeasurable.
First, consumers benefit from receiving ads and offers that are relevant to their current location. For marketers, geofencing works as an ads portal. This is established when potential consumers are close to a store or any given location. This enables marketers and businesses to send relevant ads, coupons, discounts, and giveaways. This is invaluable for establishing and cultivating a brand name, and brands are the gold standard for marketing.
for businesses and marketers, geofencing links an offline business to
the matching online presence. Imagine the power of inviting a
potential customer to like or follow your business on social media as
they’re walking past your storefront! In this way, it serves as a
portal for connecting a business’ brick and mortar operation with
its online brand.
Real-Time Analytics and Automation
branding, geofencing provides real-time analytics. Analytics are also
an invaluable resource for marketers and brands. This
allows for effective A/B testing and optimized targeting in the
Another selling point of geofencing is the potential for integration with a business’ existing operations. For example, many diners at a restaurant will want to logon to free Wifi. This presents a business with the unique opportunity of serving ads and encouraging the strengthening of the customer-business relationship. This can also be encouraged by simply sending messages to people walking past via geofencing, and notifying them of the free WiFi they can enjoy while in a certain location.
massive selling point of geofencing is that it’s fully automated.
It allows a business to target customers automatically based on
predetermined criteria. This process can be repeated user after user,
day after day, for as long as a business can spend the money to serve
the ads. The business will be able to choose from a variety of
desired actions (website visits, leads, sales, conversions, etc.).
Finally, geofencing allows a marketer to see the real-time response to the ads. This is literally true. You can sit at a computer or smartphone and watch in real-time as ad results update, display conversions, views, and sales.
Value of location-based marketing
To conclude, geofencing and geoframing are incredibly valuable, scalable, and potentially profitable methods of targeting consumers and converting them into customers. Having said that, while geofencing can optimally target customers, it’s not cheap. Geofencing through an existing platform like Facebook Ads is easy to implement from scratch but can be expensive. Businesses can also develop their own platform, which can run anywhere from several thousand dollars to $50k. As we’ve discussed, however, if done properly, geofencing is the single best way to target consumers and convert them into sales and repeat customers.