GeoMarketing 101: Driving Better Marketing Results With Geofencing

There’s more to geofencing technology than sending coupons to every consumer in a wide radius.

We introduced the basics of geofencing in one of our earliest Geo 101 guides, but the technology continues to evolve — and there’s a lot more to it than indiscriminately messaging every consumer that passes through a geographic area. With that in mind, we’re introducing the next segment of our 101 series: a “deep dive” into the potential of geofencing marketing in 2016 and beyond.

Geofencing — With Specificity

A quick reminder: Geofencing is the practice of using global positioning (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define a geographic boundary. Then, once this “virtual barrier” is established, the administrator can set up triggers that send a text message, email alert, or app notification when a mobile device enters (or exits) the specified area. Simply, it’s intended as a way to engage consumers based on hyper-local location, and that can do a lot in terms of triggering immediate sales as well as understanding shopper mindset.

But as xAd CEO Dipanshu Sharma explained at the company’s On Location event, “if you’re targeting people near a business” — e.g. with a geofence — “that is actually [a lower performing] method. I can say that I want to target people near a BMW dealership, but a lot of them are just driving back and forth on the freeway with no intention of going in the dealership.”

Noted. Sure, a brand new yoga studio might want to offer a special coupon to every consumer who walks by in order to boost awareness and capture a few interested customer, but most businesses have more specific objectives — and they don’t want to waste money on targeting uninterested parties. So, how can marketers drive more sales with geofencing, leveraging the power of location with a bit more specificity?

Not Your Average Mobile Ad

For starters, it’s possible to run a geofenced mobile ad campaign with multiple layers.

Here’s how it worked in an example for Macy’s: Before Thanksgiving weekend, Macy’s targeted mobile users who passed near a Macy’s location, encouraging them to download the Macy’s app (meaning that the store could then send them in-app beacon-triggered messages). Then, if these customers walked into a Macy’s on Black Friday — having downloaded the app — they received an alert letting them know that they could play the “Walk in and Win” game in order to win prizes ranging from gift cards to celebrity meetings. Macy’s called the effort “highly successful.”

There are plenty of examples of geofenced ad campaigns, but this Macy’s case study makes for a particularly interesting one because it combined “nearby” proximity marketing (users passing through a geofence near a store) with the more specific example of on-premise targeting. Of course, plenty of users who shopped at or near Macy’s declined to download the game, but the repeat communication with those who did helped Macy’s to talk directly to consumers — and begin the process of building a relationship.

Additionally, in-store proximity technology like beacons allows marketers to get a little bit more specific with geofenced campaigns. For example, even if Levi’s didn’t want to show denim ads to every passerby, it could offer a coupon or targeted message to every consumer who actually came into the store and spent time looking at jeans.

Geofences For Ad Performance

Beyond these use cases, geofencing doesn’t have to be limited to making initial contact with nearby consumers: For example, Simpli.Fi’s “conversion zones” aim to measure the performance of previously targeted ads and how effectively they drive consumers to stores.

Conversion Zones are customizable geofences around a set area that count the number of consumers who have received a brand’s mobile ad and could be tracked physically to mark that they visited a location. The promise of Conversion Zones, like other forms of attribution, is meant to give advertisers a clear view of how effective their geo-targeted ads are along consumers’ path to purchase.

From adding more specific location overlays to using geofences to measure physical store visits, there’s more to the technology than may be immediately apparent. Read more about applications for geofencing below:

Elle Magazine Teams With Swirl, ShopAdvisor, And RetailMeNot On Beacon, Geo-Fencing Program Expands Self-Serve Geo-Fencing Tools For Local Buyers And Sellers

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.