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What is Geo-fencing?

By Jeremy Allen
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Geo-fencing at a high level is nothing more than its name – a virtually drawn fence around a geographic area. When marketers or businesses create a geo-fence, the end goal is to target the people that enter this area with advertisements in real time and for 30 days after. The GPS service on every phone is what allows marketers to see when someone has entered into a fenced location and serve an ad.

In most situations this data is used to trigger an in-app advertisement to the person who entered the geo-fence. Ideally, this ad will be served while the person is still inside the fence.

If this still sounds vague, here’s a few quick use cases to clear up any fog in your mind.

Example 1 – Car Dealership

A car dealership in Dallas creates 30 custom-drawn geo-fences around their nearby competing dealerships. When a customer carrying their mobile device enters the competing locations, an advertisement comes up on their phone showing them a special one-time offer on a car. This potential customer can’t find a reason to stay at the dealership they’re currently at because the offer is so good, thus, they leave and head over to the one who sent them the offer.

This may be the ideal scenario, but we’ve seen this exact situation play out time and time again.

Example 2 – Airplane Enthusiast Event

A huge event is coming up next month for airplane enthusiasts and all the attending vendors want a way to reach the attendees digitally. So, they set up a geo-fence around the event location and when their target audience steps into the fence, they can promote themselves to those people. Even better, they can target these same people for up to 30 days after the event and work on getting that sale from the right person.

Example 3 – Urgent Care Center

An urgent care center needs to promote their fast service, and cheap prices. So they geo-fence 20 of the nearest hospitals and target all who has entered those hospitals with an ad promoting their speedy service. And when someone enters one of these fenced areas, they can also push discounts based on the time of the year, such as cold and flu checkups during winter.

What you can do with Geo-fencing

Geo-fencing, or virtual fencing gives you the power to target a hyperlocal area, but this means you can use it for several different purposes. Here’s some of the different things you can do with geo-fencing.

  • Competitor Conquesting: Identifying your competitors and sketching out a location around them lets you target their customers in real-time.
  • Event or Trade Show Targeting: If an event or trade show that’s valuable to your business is happening soon, you can target everyone in that location in real-time with your message.
  • Staying top-of-mind: When a potential customer enters a location that is of significant value to you, you can stay top of mind with them with branding ads for up to 30 days.
  • Related products/services: By sketching out a fence around a building that offers a product or service that is related to your big ticket items, you can reach the right people.
  • Owned location fencing: Geo-fencing your own businesses location allows you to target people who have already bought from you on their phone, desktop, or tablet.

Another awesome thing about geo-fencing is that it doesn’t have to just be one tiny area. It could range from a whole city, all the way down to a tiny chunk of sidewalk. Anyone in a location that is considered high-value to your company can be subject to your branding, deals, or promotions.

And that’s another thing, your message doesn’t have to only say “Get 50% off over at X location!” You can play with the message to match that exact audience, at that exact time, with a custom promotion. You can even build a page custom for a geo-fencing campaign that is linked in an advertisement you created. This way, when a lead clicks through, the sales funnel is all the more effective.

What’s a real-life example of Geo-fencing?

During our work with CareNow, we provided geo-targeting solutions customized for their business. This was a piece of the overall solution we used for their business that lead to a raise of 33% in their new patient acquisition.

Check out the case study here.

Now that you know what Geo fencing all about, you might also be interested in knowing How to Make Geofencing Work for Your Business.

Did you know 71% of all online time is spent over a mobile device in the US? Geofencing targets those on their mobile phone with your ads in a specific area – such as your business location or your competitor’s business location.

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People today walk, sit, and drive with their phones in their hands, and most of these people stay within arm’s length of their phones every moment of every day.  That same device is giving businesses the opportunity to find their target audience exactly where they are. Geofencing is known as the most targeted form of advertising, especially from the geographic perspective.

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How Does Geofencing Work?

Just about every phone out there has a GPS tracking chip in it. Because of this, businesses can send their message to a person’s phone once they’ve entered a geo-fenced area. These fences can be as small as a sidewalk or as large as a state – depending on the goals of the advertising campaign.

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Here are the top ways to make geofencing work for your business

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  • Fence the customers that go into your competitors’ stores

Most businesses have returning customers who go to the same location more than once. When you draw out a fence around a competitor, you can target both new and these returning customers with your brand’s message. When they enter the invisible “fence” and see your ad that contains a special offer to drive them to your location, you can essentially take foot traffic from a competition location. This works especially well since these customers already have a real interest in purchasing the product or service you offer.  With a special promotion running, the chances are high that they will give your location a shot.

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  • Fence the customers that enter your locations and those nearby

Knowing who’s entered your own stores and being able to target them is a great way to grow repeat visits. Also, being able to find people a few miles around your store can drive new walk-ins.  Raising awareness with a special promotion for your store and sending people to your location can greatly increase the chances of success for a new product or launch.  It can be hard to let everyone out there know you exist, but when you’re able to let only those that really matter in your area know you exist, the impact of advertising is massively increased.

  • Fence events and other relevant businesses

If there are any important trade shows, events, or groups that meet in your industry you can target everyone who attends them. After drawing out the geofence you can target those who enter the fence for up to 30 days and send them your message. In addition to this, you can also geofence relevant businesses. For example, if you’re an urgent care center, you might want to target hospitals in your target area. All the business that are related to your product or service can draw in prospects that are relevant to your business who can become new customers to your business.

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We help companies conquer the world of geofencing every day. Learn more about geofencing here.

One response to “What is Geo-fencing?”

  1. Being new to the blogging world I feel like there is still so much to learn. Your tips helped to clarify a few things for me as well as giving..

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