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What Is Geofencing? Your Virtual – Well, Fence

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What Is Geofencing? Your Virtual – Well, Fence

What Is Geofencing? Your Virtual – Well, Fence

Mobile is king, and marketers are working harder than ever to use it to their advantage in every way possible. Geofencing is one of the many ways marketers can reach people by taking advantage of location-based technology. While geofencing is nothing new, its capabilities have grown to where it has become a hugely successful tool for location-based businesses. Short of walking outside and shouting to everyone around you, it’s the most effective way to get people’s attention these days. Keep reading to learn more about what geofencing is, its benefits, and ways you can start using it to get more people engaged with your business.

Geofencing: How It Works

Man standing in the city with a virtual map next to him.The concept of geofencing is pretty simple – set up a virtual perimeter, and an action is triggered via GPS, WiFi, or data when someone enters that perimeter. The action that is triggered is where the marketing comes in — text messages, notifications, ads, and much more can be served to the individuals within the geofenced area, depending on the desired action you want them to take.

According to TechTarget, the official, technical definition is, “A geofence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. A geo-fence could be dynamically generated—as in a radius around a point location, or a geo-fence can be a predefined set of boundaries (such as school zones or neighborhood boundaries).”

Geofencing can be used in many different ways to track many different things. This can include parents getting a notification if their child has left an area, such as school, employer monitoring of employees who work in field areas, vehicle tracking, and — of course — marketing efforts.

Geofencing Quick Stats

  • Mobile ads with geofencing have double the click-through rate. This is because ads served through geofencing capabilities are more relevant to the user’s experience since it is something close to them that they will likely visit or purchase from. 
  • Geofencing is compatible with 92% of smartphones. With such an overwhelming audience at your disposal, why not use geofencing? Think about it – 92% of people with smartphones, which is just about everybody. 
  • 53% of shoppers visited a retailer after receiving a location-based message. How are people going to come to visit you if they don’t know you’re there? Once they know you’re there and are making an offer, 53% of people will come to see you. 
  • 71% of consumers prefer a personalized ad experience. These days, brand loyalty is built by creating a relationship with the user, and the best way to do this is by finding the best way to reach your target audience with a personalized ad. 
  • 3 out of 4 consumers complete an action after receiving a message when approaching a specific location. Whether the action is to click through somewhere, make a purchase, or visit the location, the results of geofencing are overwhelming. 

Benefits of Geofencing

If you’re a location-based business, geofencing is one of the best ways to get customers to see you. It’s more successful than print advertisements, running a radio ad, and many more conventional advertising methods. Geofencing allows you to grab the low-hanging fruit, grow your brand’s awareness, save money on marketing, collect precious data about your target market, and give you a great competitive edge.

Grabbing the Low-Hanging Fruit

When someone enters your geofenced area and you’re able to remind them you’re there, it’s the best thing short of having someone waving around a sign on the sidewalk. Finding new customers to come to see you through various advertising and social media efforts do work, but why not grab as much low-hanging fruit as you can — AKA the people right outside your door.

Everyone has a smartphone either in their hand or on their person these days, and with geofencing being compatible with 92% of them, it’s your best bet. While you’ll be able to reach them, the trick is having them complete the desired action. This is where great marketing comes into play. If you’re ready to get geofencing up and running for your business, let us know. We’re experts in this sort of thing!

Grow Your Brand’s Awareness

graphic of the word "brand" and various icons surrounding itGeofencing allows businesses the opportunity to grow their brand’s awareness. While someone may not take an action on your geofencing ads this time, at least they now know you’re there and have a high likelihood of coming to see you the next time they’re in the area. This is especially helpful for newly-opened businesses to let everyone know you’re around. Gentle reminders whenever they enter your area will do nothing but good for your brand’s awareness!

These days, there are so many choices for everything we do. This is especially true in highly-competitive, densely populated areas. Building your brand’s awareness is the most important thing you can do. The days of simply “build it and they will come” are gone. You need to keep giving your target audience reasons and reminders that they should choose you, and building a relationship and loyalty are the best way of doing so.

It’s Cost-Effective

graphic of people shaking hands on a computer screen.Finding new customers is more expensive than remarketing to existing customers. Creating ads and sophisticated marketing campaigns to new customers can be costly. So is having an impressive storefront that commands attention to people walking by. The reality is that not many businesses are in areas with high foot traffic, making digital marketing efforts extremely important in the success of the business.

Geofencing offers a lower-cost solution by comparison. By presenting yourself in front of the people who are most likely to buy from you when they need it the most — which is right then and there! — you’re taking advantage of one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing. Becoming known to everyone around is an important part of having a location-based business, and as we mentioned, chances are extremely likely that they’ll come to see you.

Data Collection

person typing on their laptops with icons related to data collection floating aroundThe more you know about your target audience, the better, which makes the data collected through geofencing efforts extremely valuable. You’ll get to know the area you’re in better, learn what their buying habits are, what types of demographics complete what types of actions through your targeting, and much more. Through all of this valuable data, you can create even better marketing throughout the rest of your channels.

Friendly Competition

If your business is in a highly competitive area, geofencing helps give you a leg up for your customers to see you and choose you. Let’s say you have a direct competitor down the street. Set up your geofenced area around them, so that whenever someone enters your competitor’s area, you can push out a great coupon for your business down the street. The chances of the individual changing their mind are decent, but the chances of them deciding on you next time now that they have a coupon are extremely high.

How to Use Geofencing

Chances are, you have fallen victim to the capabilities of geofencing and some of these methods of geofencing should sound familiar. There are many ways to get your message across by using geofencing, such as having an app, offering a service, through text notifications, via third-party apps, and, of course, through good ol’ social media.

Download An App

If your brand has an app, this is the most common way of using geofencing to your advantage. When people download your app, they are already extremely hot leads and chances are, if you have something to say, they are going to listen.

Ways to use geofencing within your app include:

  • Sending a reminder. When an individual is in your geofenced area, you can send them a reminder about your business. Send out a “Hungry? Here’s $5 off lunch today” push notification through the app at lunchtime.
  • Get to them first. Whenever you enter a new airport, Uber will send you a welcome notification and a quick tap link to open the app and hail a ride. By doing this, they are getting in front of Lyft and other rideshare apps. By getting to their customers first, people are more likely to chose Uber than others by sheer convenience.
  • Personalize the experience. You can get very personal within apps, such as sending out a happy birthday notification or customizing the experience based on previous actions. As mentioned, 71% of people prefer a personalized ad experience, making them more likely to choose you.

Offer a Service

By offering an extra service at your location, you can get people to sign up for targeted ads. This is a line item that can be included in the terms and services of whatever the extra service may be. Examples of extra services include offering free WiFi at a restaurant or hotel, offering text updates on orders, signing up for an email newsletter, and many more.

By getting people to give you their information through another means, such as offering a service, then agreeing to let you use that information, is how geofencing can thrive.

Text Notifications

Cell phone with email icon and noticationsGetting push text notifications is a popular way to take advantage of geofencing. It’s especially helpful if the individual has already signed up and given you their information as mentioned through an extra service, but you can also purchase lists with phone numbers of individuals in your area to let them know you’re there. You can give them the chance to opt-out which can weed out unlikely buyers. Those who do not opt-out are interested and are most likely to be part of your target audience.

Third-Party Apps

Another popular way to take advantage of geofencing is through third parties. An example of this can be when a restaurant offers another app, such as Groupon, a coupon for their business. Instead of you doing the work, it’s a third party, which is just another way for you to get in front of even more people.

Social Media

Computer and phone being used with notification icons popping upSocial media advertising has long held geofencing capabilities. People spend, on average, over 144 minutes a day on social media. \ This means, the chances that people will be on social media while they are in your geofenced area are very good. By serving a location-based ad while they are in your location, it is adding to the overall personalized ad experience that people love so much. And, the more that people love their ad experience, the more social media platforms will profit. It’s a win-win-win!


Armed with over 10 years of experience in digital marketing, Jaclyn Uloth started her career at a full-service digital marketing firm for five years, guiding many websites to completion as well as developing and executing sophisticated marketing strategies for countless brands. More recently, she was in charge of digital, social media, and paid advertising efforts for well-known multinational franchise operations. Currently, she is using her years of experience and writing abilities to write marketing copy and blogs to boost the online presence of the brands she works with.