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What is Geo-fencing, and is it right for your marketing strategy?

illustration of a building with a geo-fence around it and a map point icon above it

If you’re not sure what Geo-fencing is, you’re not alone. In a short time, it has revolutionized digital display advertising—and even digital video ads—allowing top-of-funnel and brand awareness marketing to get more geographically granular. Is it a tactic you should add to your integrated marketing strategy? Let’s demystify what Geo-fencing is and how it works, so you can make an informed decision.

Location, location, location

Through Geo-fencing, the old “location” adage still applies. But it’s now digitized, data-driven, and scalable. From a single building address to an entire city, or multiple locations like hospitals, college campuses, sports facilities, conventions, and trade shows, if you know where your prospects congregate, you can Geo-fence them to receive your ad.

If you remember just one thing from this blog post, here it is: Geo-fencing allows you to reach niche audiences based on a variety of location-specific options.

How it works

Illustrated mobile phone with a map point icon popping off the screen with working gears in the backgroundGeo-fencing puts a virtual boundary on areas identified by the GPS technology present in smartphones and other mobile devices. When a prospect enters the boundary created, your ad is triggered.

You don’t need to have a physical presence at a location or event to reach people there. Since most people have their device set to “location enabled,” Geo-fencing lets you serve up digital display ads or videos as people browse online in the defined area. And best of all, the ability to stay top-of-mind with those you’ve “captured” is enhanced through serving retargeting ads after they leave your Geo-fence zone.

The power of retargeting

Illustration shows man firing an arrow at multiple targets

Statistics indicate that retargeting increases the CTR (click-through rate) of digital display, and so the same applies to your Geo-fencing display ads. Because user matching through geo-fencing is more behaviorally and intent targeted, retargeting to captured prospects is statistically more well-received and less spam-like. According to CMO by Adobe, the average CTRs for display ads hover around 0.07%, while the average for retargeting ads is around 0.7%. This means that retargeting adds punch to your campaign, boosting performance up to 10 times better than display campaigns without retargeting. Obviously, the likelihood of website-based conversions increases significantly.

Added Benefits

Better still for B-to-C advertisers with physical locations where prospect visits are desired, placing a Geo-fence around your location also registers when a geo-captured prospect visits, whether they clicked your ad or not. This enables you to gauge another level of tracking activity to demonstrate the impact of your campaign. If visiting your physical location is not required – especially for B-to-B marketing (i.e. online registrations, inquiries, whitepaper downloads, sales lead generation), web landing page traffic, contact form conversions, downloads, and similar metrics will be your focus.

Worth testing

male and female co-workers put together two halves of a bullseye target

By now, the proverbial wheels might be turning in your head. How, where, and when does Geo-fencing fit into your integrated marketing strategy? These are all valid questions that testing the tactic can answer. Here is a short list of the more tangible things to consider prior to testing:

  • Know and document your ideal client profile or target audience member.
  • Identify a list of behavioral key words. You can get these from Google Analytics, many third-party search engine optimization applications, or Google Ads (formerly Adwords) if you've run these types of ads in the past.
  • Create a list of locations where your desired audience segment might be found. You can start with mailing addresses or GPS coordinates gathered from mapping tools.
  • Develop your landing page, content, call to action, and ad assets.
  • Select a date range for the campaign, typically 30 to 45 days, to allow for ad impressions, click-throughs, retargeting, and campaign monitoring. If the campaign revolves around an event, build a timeline leading up to and extending briefly after the event.

A lot of the research and decision-making data you need to inform your Geo-fencing approach has probably already been assembled by your marketing team from other efforts. If needed, SAI Digital can combine its expertise in web development, writing, and design to provide landing pages, display ads, and an entire end-to-end campaign as an extension to your marketing team.

Want to know more about Geo-fencing, or are you ready to get started with a campaign? I’m ready to hear from you. Email me and let’s get the discussion going.

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