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    Unlocking Geofencing: Defining Its Role in Marketing

    Unlocking Geofencing: Defining Its Role in Marketing

    When it comes to the big, wide world of digital marketing, there are all kinds of strategies and technologies that businesses can use to better reach (and interact with) their customers.

    One of the most recent among these is geofencing, which has gained a considerable amount of attention due to its ability to create hyper-specific, location-based marketing experiences.

    However, as with any emerging technology, the understanding and implementation of geofencing can be a complex hurdle for many marketers to clear. So what is geofencing exactly, and how can you leverage it most effectively? We’ll take a closer look in this post.

    What is Geofencing?

    Geofencing is a location-based service that allows you to set up virtual boundaries around specific geographic areas you want to target. When a user — typically through a smartphone — enters or exits these predefined zones, the marketer can trigger an action, such as sending a push notification, offer, or advertisement to the user’s device.

    Geofencing works through a combination of GPS, cellular data, Wi-Fi, or beacons. These virtual fences can range from a few meters to several kilometers in size, providing you with a spectrum of possibilities for localized targeting. At the core of geofencing technology is precision — defining the area where you want the technology to operate is fundamental. Marketers set fences using precise coordinates. When a consumer crosses this line, the system registers this as an event and triggers a predefined response.

    Developers often integrate these systems with software designed to manage triggers and actions, so that, in real-time, relevant messaging can be served up to the consumer.

    The Power of Proximity Marketing

    Consider this scenario: You’re walking down the high street past a café, and your phone buzzes. It’s a notification offering a 10% discount on coffee, redeemable if you walk in within the next 15 minutes. That instant, real-time nature of geofencing demonstrates the power of proximity marketing. It’s what makes geofencing so powerful — the ability to deliver a message at the exact moment when it’s most likely to influence a purchasing decision.

    Geofencing doesn’t just live within the confines of a single app, either. You can use geofencing across multiple applications. For example, a retail chain might send notifications to app users who are near any of their store locations, driving foot traffic and enhancing the likelihood of conversions.

    Top Tips for Implementing Geofencing

    Location is everything in geofencing. To start, take some time to identify areas where consumer behavior and foot traffic patterns are likely to align with your marketing goals. These could be your store fronts, competitor locations, or event venues. Fine tune your strategy by gathering data and monitoring the effectiveness of your chosen locations.

    Remember, geofencing offers a unique opportunity to send highly relevant and valuable messages, so don’t squander this potential with generic sales pitches. Add value with your notifications, whether through personalized offers, useful information, or exclusive content.

    Don’t be too persistent, either. The last thing you want is to annoy potential customers with an onslaught of notifications. Use frequency capping to control how often users are targeted. A well-timed, infrequent message that feels like a serendipitous discovery can be far more effective than overwhelming the consumer with unwanted or excessive content.

    Geofencing campaigns generate a wealth of data. Tap into analytics to measure the impact of your campaigns, and make informed decisions about how to improve your performance. This could mean adjusting the timing of your messages, refining your targeting, or iterating on the content of your notifications.

    Overcoming Challenges with Geofencing

    While geofencing can be a valuable addition to your marketing arsenal, it’s not without its challenges. Here’s how to address some common hurdles.

    Data Security and Ethics

    Be clear and upfront with users about how you’re using geofencing technology. Ensure they understand what they’re opting into when they agree to share their location. Include information about geofencing in app permissions and provide an easy way for users to manage their preferences.

    Protect any location data you collect as you would any other sensitive consumer information. Anonymize data whenever possible and avoid storing personally identifiable location data unless it’s necessary for the service you’re providing.

    Finally, stay informed about the latest regulations that pertain to geofencing, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States.

    Balancing Precision with Perimeter

    A fence that’s too small can result in missed opportunities, while one that’s too large may lead to irrelevant messaging and user opt-outs. Striking the right balance is a process of trial and error.

    Consumer Trust and Adoption

    For geofencing to work, users must opt in to location services. Building trust with your audience is key. Clearly communicate the benefits of sharing their location and ensure that your geofencing experiences deliver on the promises you make.

    The Impermanence of Mobile Consumers

    Consumers are mobile, and their location at one moment isn’t necessarily indicative of where they’ll be next.

    To account for this, build flexibility into your geofencing campaigns. Use time frames and additional targeting criteria to ensure you’re reaching consumers when they’re most likely to be engaged.


    Key Takeaways

    In an era where relevance and personalization are the currency of consumer attention, geofencing stands out as a technology that can deliver both in spades. With its unobtrusive and context-aware messaging, geofencing guarantees that marketers are speaking to their audience in the right place and at the right time.

    It’s time to unlock the potential of geofencing — and take your marketing to the next level.

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    Unlocking Geofencing…

    by Brett Smith Time to read this article: 12 min