How Geo-fencing Makes Mobile Marketing Hyper-Local

In digital and mobile marketing, precision makes all the difference. That means targeting the right consumers, at the right time, in the right space. If your brand has its own app, few tools offer greater precision than geo-fencing.

So, what is geo-fencing? Geo-fencing is the practice of mapping virtual boundaries within a mobile app, then triggering certain actions when app users enter or exit those areas. Brands can send targeted messages to users when they’re walking by a physical location, collect data on users’ mobile behavior while shopping, or find out when users are visiting competitors’ locations.

Here are some of the ways you might want to make geofencing a part of your mobile marketing strategy, along with what you need to do before you add geofencing to your brand’s app.

Ways to Use Geo-fencing in Mobile Marketing

There are a number of ways that you can use geo-fencing in mobile marketing. Geo-fencing offers a high degree of customizability, particularly in terms of the geographic areas you’re targeting. When creating geo-fencing boundaries, it’s possible to create these boundaries in any shape or size. Unlike beacon-based targeting, which targets users based on their proximity to an individual point, geo-fencing allows you to target users within a rectilinear area or another polygon-based shape.

Geo-fencing then works by collecting information about a user’s actions while they are within a geo-fenced area, or by triggering an action when a user enters or exits a geo-fenced area. This allows for a wide range of uses.

Some common and effective ways to use geofencing include:

  • Geo-fencing your store’s physical location, then sending a message via text, email, or push notification when users enter your store letting them know about current deals or specials.
  • Asking your customers to fill out a feedback survey when they exit your store in exchange for a discount on their next purchase.
  • Studying users’ mobile activity when they are in-store, then using that data to update your in-store or social media strategies.
  • Geo-fencing the area surrounding your store’s physical location, then notifying customers about special offers when they pass by to encourage a visit.
  • Examining data about when users are passing through the area surrounding your store, then adjusting your physical advertising efforts or time-sensitive specials to take advantage of this.
  • Geo-fencing a competitor’s location to collect data on how many of your users are visiting your competitor, and how often they are doing so.
  • Sending a user a targeted message or offer after they have visited a competitor’s location.

Keys to Geo-fencing & Mobile Marketing

If you’re thinking of making geo-fencing part of your brand’s mobile marketing strategy, you’ll need to be aware of key issues surrounding geo-fencing.

First is the matter of privacy. Geo-fencing necessarily collects specific location-based data about users, and it is crucial that your geo-fencing practices are explicitly included in your app’s privacy policy.

Second is the method by which geo-fencing is implemented. If implemented the wrong way, geo-fencing has the potential to eat through users’ cellular data and battery. This can create serious usability issues and might lead to users deleting your brand’s app. While most modern geo-fencing methods operate in the background to preserve data and battery power, it’s important that you ensure your app’s method does not create these issues for your users.

Third is how you interact with your customers via geo-fencing. While geo-fencing can be a highly useful tool, it can feel invasive to users when it is misused. If too many messages are sent, or if messages are sent at inappropriate times, users can feel uncomfortable. Being tactical in your use of geo-fencing and keeping customers’ feelings in mind will be a big part of making geo-fencing a part of your approach to mobile marketing.