adHOME’s Guide To Geofencing Pt. 1: Why The Fence?

Does it feel like you’re targeting too broadly? Not entirely sure how to make the most of location targeting settings, or even why you should, for your campaigns? Never fear! adHOME Creative is here to give you the 2 part rundown on Geo-fencing and Geo-Targeting.

In part 1, we will focus on what geofencing is, how it’s being used, and why you should plan for geo-fencing in your marketing strategy.

What is Geo-fencing/Geo-targeting?

Geofencing and Geo Targeting are often used in search engine advertising, online advertising, social media marketing, and other tracking and location services.

Geo-targeting is a location-based targeting method that uses global positioning (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define a geographic boundary via geo-fencing (a virtual boundary around a certain set location.) Once this “location boundary” is set, beacon, GPS or Bluetooth technology works with the location services on your smartphone and alerts apps when you approach or leave a location.

So, anyone entering or approaching this geo-fenced area with a mobile device can trigger a programmed action, such as a push notification, SMS message, alert, display targeted advertising, tracking on a fleet vehicle, enable or disable certain equipped technologies, or create and collect location-based marketing data.

How is Geofencing Being Used in Advertising?

Geo-fencing can be set up across so many different types of online advertising campaigns, including but not limited to: search engine advertising, display advertising, remarketing, online video advertising, and all social media campaigns.

When used properly, geofencing can be a very beneficial tool to help engage with your audience, giving companies the ability to advertise straight to potential customers within a certain geo radius. Outside of marketing, geofencing makes up a larger portion of our day-to-day activities than we imagined, from interactive shopping lists (and reminders to pick up milk) to home security systems, garage door openers, automatic coffee pots, and more!

For marketers, though, the focus is on push notifications and mobile advertisements that can be tied to a business location. Here are just a few examples of how you can use geo-fencing for your marketing efforts:


Event Targeting:

Geo-targeting in event targeting is usually used to gather data on an audience that was captured in a geo-fence during a specific date and time window, like at a concert, play, or festival. This data is then used to remarket adverts for upcoming events, or other relevant content, to this audience again later on.

Example: Event organizers may set up a geo-fence an event and advertise to them in the moment for merch sales, other relevant upcoming events, or fun geo/event specific filters (like on SnapChat.) Or, use the geo-fence around the venues to gather data on the people attending and then can promote upcoming shows for those who are likely to revisit this location. This same process could collect data about people within the geofenced area to understand the mindset of the attendees, which could help prepare event organizers for future events and forecasted turnouts.


Customer Loyalty:

Loyalty offers are a great way to keep a customer coming back! You can use geo-fencing to collect data from previous customers, and then retarget those who have previously been to your store with promotional and loyalty offers. Or, instantly push promotions to passersby and remarket to customers after they have made their purchase. Data from customers who have shown interest in your business by visiting a physical location are a crucial audience, housing this data can do wonders for future advertising efforts.

Example: A retail store could create a geo-fence surrounding its physical location when users pass through this geo-fence they will receive a location-based alert (sale, coupon code, app alert) which could entice them to make the purchase right then and there. Or, use this collected data to offer a deal via an app, ad, or email that may bring the customer into the physical store, rather than purchase online


Competitor Locations:

With geofencing, you can also fence your competitor’s retail locations and advertise to people who have visited them. This type of audience has already shown an interest in a similar product, with geo-fencing you capture this audience’s data and advertise to them. They’re likely in the early stages of the purchasing funnel, which can give you an opportunity to make them your customer!

Example: An auto dealer (Auto Dealer A) has set up a geofence around a competing dealership (Auto Dealer B), capturing the data people leaving/visiting Auto Dealer B. Now that Auto Dealer A has captured this customer data they can now send a direct message to the customer, offering a zero percent financing on a comparable car model.


New Customer Audience:

With geofencing, you can even target specific audiences that are within a specific geo-fenced location or have recently been in the location and are not yet a loyal customer. This is one way to successfully prospect new audiences that are relevant to your business as it allows you to only target customers that you know have been in a location that is relevant to your business.

Example: A Law office could gain new business by placing a geo-fence around specific areas related to their line of work, such as hospitals, jails, and courthouses. They can then target this audience with ads about their business, or set up geo-targeting around competitor locations. Even if a triggered event, like an offer or an advert, doesn’t cause an immediate sale or action, the good news is that the data has been collected and retained, which means you can now get a better idea of who your audience is, where they’re shopping/hanging out, and start pushing remarketing strategies/adverts to these loyal and/or potential new customers/valuable audience members.

How much does geofencing advertising cost?

Geo-fencing cost is determined by platform. With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google Ads, geo-fenced marketing does not cost anything more than the campaign does. Bid prices might be a bit higher than blanket location targeting, but that depends on the competition and targeting options near points of interest.

For platforms like Snapchat, you pay for distance and location; on Snapchat, pricing will go up depending on how close the campaign launch date it and if there are any special events happening making the area in high demand.


Now that you’re more aware of what geo-fencing is and why you should use it, go out there and start planning your next strategically placed digital campaign!

Not sure where to start or how to even go about setting up your first geo-fence? Come back next month when we release Geo-Fencing Part 2, where we talk about how geo-fencing is applied to campaigns across multiple platforms.

Ever used geo-targeting in your campaigns before? Let us know all about it in the comments section below!