What is Geofencing and Why Does Your Business Need It?

| October 15, 2018

For any business looking to capitalize on the surge of local search queries, geofencing is a popular and effective way to turn local search traffic into foot traffic to a storefront or other specific location.

Google’s head of ads, Sridhar Ramaswamy revealed at this year’s Google Marketing Live event, that while mobile searches for “near me” are increasing, the search terms are becoming more specific, such as “cowboy boots near me,” or “rolled ice cream near me.”

Meanwhile, there’s been a 10x increase in searches for “open near me tonight” and “things to do tonight” have more than doubled.

For any business looking to capitalize on the surge of local search queries, geofencing is a popular and effective way to turn local search traffic into foot traffic to a storefront or other specific location. In fact, according to Mobile Marketer report, campaigns that use geofencing typically exceed the industry click-through rates with a 1% average (industry average is 0.4%).

What is Geofencing?

Advertisers use GPS technology to draw virtual fences around specific areas, such as a storefront, they want to target with ads, offers, and promotions. Once a prospect enters a geofenced area, they’ll be served with mobile ads from that advertiser. Ideally, that prospect will then make their way through the funnel and eventually convert.

Location Targeting

First, you will need to select a specific location to target, which could be one or several locations. Selecting who to target will require some thought, as there are almost unlimited options. One standard target area is the business location. This allows you to target those in the area and encourage them to stop by. For example, you could serve a promotional mobile ad for 25% off as shoppers pass by, getting them in the store and shopping.

Targeting several different locations related to the business is also an option. For example:

  • – A car dealership could target a competing car dealership in the area with an ad for lower prices.
  • – A political candidate running for the school board could target a specific school district with information about certain issues on the ballot.
  • – A home repair services could target areas near water that are likely to flood in certain seasons, or a lawyer could target areas near a courthouse.

Event Targeting

Geofencing capabilities allow advertisers to target events with specific locations, times, and dates too. Whether you’re a restaurant near a baseball stadium targeting home games, or a laundromat near a mud run, a health care marketer in L.A. looking to target an industry event in New York, event targeting is a great way to serve attendees your ad to promote awareness, get engaged, and nudge them towards conversion.

Bonus Points: Once a business has been collecting geofencing data for a while, they can create Custom and Lookalike Audiences, which will target those with the same attributes as your ideal audience. 

Measuring Results with Conversion Zones

Geofencing get even better though, as advertisers can set up geofenced Conversion Zones to measure results. For example, when a person who was served a geofenced ad enters a Conversion Zone, the geofencing campaign is credited with a conversion.

For example, let’s say the auto dealership mentioned above, served ads to potential customers who recently visited a competitor’s location. Thanks to geofencing, the dealership can now attribute that foot traffic to the geofencing campaign. Reporting for these types of campaigns include impressions, total spend, clicks, views, clickthrough visits, total visit rate, cost per visit, daily and total visits, and daily conversion totals.

Down the line, being able to better communicate campaign effectiveness with help to make sure you’re investing your marketing dollars wisely.


About TEGNA Marketing Solutions

Geofencing is just one of the many features included in our Audience Marketplace solution. We make sure our clients target and connect to the audiences that matter most, delivering proven results through simplified advertising solutions. Our team of experts takes the time to understand your unique marketing needs and goals to create a customized solution based on insights and industry expertise. Learn more about Audience Marketplace with TEGNA.

1 Comment
  • Ken says:

    Thanks Meredith !!

    In my opinion, the more specific we can determine the geofence boundary and the user action, we can increase conversion chances. For example, a visitor who is just leaving a competitor’s store might be more ready for a purchase, and by sending the right message at the right time, we can increase conversion rate.

    Geofencing is especially useful for local businesses targeting local audience, where people who are visiting a certain location can be a good indicator that they are our ideal audience. In this case, geofencing is a very viable lead generation strategy.

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