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Geofencing Guide: What Is It and How to Use It

Nov 22, 2022 | Blog

How to Leverage Geofencing in Your Business

What is geofencing?  

Geofencing is a location-based digital marketing practice that sets virtual boundaries around a custom, geographic region. A few city blocks, a whole county, or even a specific building can be segmented using GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi, or cellular data. 

RFID: a radio frequency identification system that uses electromagnetic fields to tag and track objects.  

As a concept, geofencing has been around since the 1990’s, but its application in digital advertising skyrocketed with the proliferation of cell phones. With the average American checking their phone 344 times per day as of 2022, it’s no wonder! 

Reaching potential shoppers where they are — on their phone, and their physical location — is pivotal to hitting conversion rate goals and investing your marketing budget effectively. 

Keep reading to learn how geofencing works in practice, how companies like Uber and Taco Bell are utilizing geofencing advertising, and how you can adapt Fortune 500 strategies to fit the needs of your business. 

How does geofencing work? 

By predefining a geographical boundary, geofenced ads are served only to devices and the people holding them within the designated location. When individuals enter the geofenced region, they are added to an audience list that can begin to gather behavioral and demographic data for high traffic or nearby areas. 

A simple but mighty tool, geofencing offers a range of practical applications for small businesses — digital advertising being the most accessible option. 

For a brick and mortar store, a geofenced mobile ad could manifest as a push notification that pops up on the cell phones of shoppers exploring your area. This simple alert drives high quality foot traffic to your business, but walk-ins aren’t the only potential customers nearby. 

Taco Bell’s geofenced ads, for example, send mobile notifications when burrito lovers drive past, prompting them to grab a bite to eat on their way home. 

How are other big businesses using geofencing? 

Uber, a popular rideshare app, is built from the ground up using location services. By incorporating precise geofencing data into their asset management, Uber streamlines fleet monitoring, keeps riders safer, and makes drives smoother. 

The company’s location-specific integration doesn’t stop there, though. With geofences placed around common travel areas like airports and train stations, Uber is able to serve ads directly to individuals who just stepped off the plane and need a ride.

For the individuals who just stepped into a new climate, too: North Face offers weather-based geofenced ads that alert customers of temperature changes with a link to the newest in cozy outerwear included.

Frequent subway riders in Boston can get the most up-to-date information on departures and delays with the ProximiT transit mobile app. Once an individual reaches their stop, they’ll receive a push notification with relevant information and ETAs. 

How can small businesses use geofencing? 

When properly executed by an experienced marketing team or specialist, geofence strategies can be one of the timeliest digital advertising options available. Due in part to the fact that 70% of Americans check their phones within 5 minutes of receiving a notification — geofencing capitalizes on this near-ubiquitous behavior. 

It’s not just brick and mortar stores that can take advantage of geofencing marketing, either. 

Businesses with fleets or field agents can use it to prevent theft with asset monitoring and add a layer of security for workers. Food trucks, mobile dog groomers, traveling blood donation clinics can all use geofencing to notify customers, share their location, and offer real-time tracking information. 

Have an event or expo coming up in 2023? Vendors, small businesses, and artisans can also maximize their exposure at craft shows and exhibitions with geofencing strategies. 

Though some events can draw in hundreds of shoppers under one roof, no single company can connect with every attendee in a day. The contemporary marketing specialists here at Sinuate Media incorporate geofencing for retargeting participants later, after the event has ended. Businesses can then reconnect with consumers, introduce themselves to the shoppers that got away, and extend the reach of their event marketing efforts. 

For those who have gone totally digital, like ecommerce businesses or online stores, an advanced form of geofencing known as geoconquesting exists. Digital companies can use geoconquesting to target shoppers of brick and mortar stores with similar product lines. When it comes to geofencing, the benefits and applications are nearly limitless. 

Advanced Geofencing Marketing Strategies

Geoconquesting: a geofencing strategy that places geographic boundaries around competitor’s stores and markets to reach their shoppers. 

As geofencing technology has improved and become more precise, so too has the tracking metrics available for location-based advertising campaigns. Now, marketing specialists can both serve ads to potential shoppers within a set boundary and monitor their dwell time, too. 

Dwell time: the amount of time an individual spends within a geofenced area. 

How does monitoring dwell time improve the performance of geofence ads? It eliminates waste, serves your ads intelligently, and attracts high quality customers. 

For example, by not serving ads to an individual with a split-second dwell time, you can ensure your marketing budget isn’t wasted on passersby. Instead, you’ll attract the customers that linger and shop leisurely. When they do, eventually, leave your geofenced area, a retargeting campaign can remind them of your product offerings and draw them right back in. 

By now, it should be clear that you don’t have to run an Uber-sized company to connect with local shoppers, encourage returning customers, or geoconquest your competitor’s store. Businesses in all stages of development can benefit from location-based marketing practices, with a little help if necessary. 

Jumpstart your marketing goals with a free consultation with the digital advertising experts at Sinuate Media, and read on about the importance of mobile-responsive design to stay competitive online. 

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